History of the Presidio

Presidio San Agustín del Tucson was founded in 1775 by the Spanish military. The fort was located along the banks of the Santa Cruz River across from the Native American village of “Chuk-shon.”   It covered 11 acres, surrounded by a thick adobe wall. The museum is now located on the site of the northeast corner of the original Presidio, where it has been reconstructed to provide a glimpse of Tucson’s origins.

Groups of 10 or more are welcome at the Presidio Museum and receive a discounted rate for tours. We require that groups reserve their tour in advance by calling 520-622-0594.

Group Tours of the Presidio (approximately 45 minutes) – $4 group rate: 

Group Tours include:
* An explanation of the history of the Presidio
* A tour of the changing exhibits in the Jacome-Siquieros home that also houses the Museum  
  Shop (if requested)
* A glimpse into a Presidio-era home and barracks
* An opportunity to see an exact replica of an 18thcentury cannon
* An explanation of a 2,000 year old Native American pit house and what it represented
* A view of a store-room used for food and supplies

Optional Activities – Additional $3/person charge for each optional activity below

Tour planners may choose from the following options to enhance their group’s tour experience. These options can be incorporated into time available or added on to extend the tour. 

  • Soldier Demonstration ($3/person charge is for each soldier reserved) – Presentation includes an explanation of the uniform, equipment and training and includes the firing of a musket
  • Old and New World Food Display – This display presents foods brought from the Old World as well as native foods found locally that were staples for Native Americans and settlers alike.
  • Cochineal Demonstration – This demonstration shows how the cochineal bugs are scraped off the pads of prickly pears, ground up using a metate, and made into red dye. Participants will then be able to decorate a bookmarker with the cochineal dye.
  • History of medicine – Presentation includes discussion on early surgical practices, pain remedies and medicinal plants used in Colonial times, as well as a display of medicinal tools of the period.
  • Cotton/Wool Carding, Spinning, and Weavingon a Loom – Señoritas of the Presidio era demonstrate an important skill of the period including carding cotton bolls that have come directly from the plant, spinning the fibers into yarn on a drop spindle and weaving on a loom.  
  • Off-Site Walking Tour of Turquoise Trail (Additional price per person depends on how much of the 2.5-mile Turquoise Trail the group covers)The Turquoise Trail includes many of the historic buildings in Downtown Tucson.  Guides will also share some interesting stories of Tucson’s history.

All group tours must be booked at least one week in advance.  The number of people attending must be guaranteed two days before the event by 3 pm.  This guarantee number is the minimum amount you will be charged when your group arrives. Full payment is due the day of the tour.

Groups that enter with an outside tour company or walking tour guide must pay the $4 admission per person.  Guides and tour companies must pre-schedule a tour with a docent unless previously arranged otherwise. The Presidio Museum will not guarantee a docent tour unless groups are scheduled in advance.

Meal Options are available at nearby restaurants! Please ask our group tour contact (see contact information below) about these options if you are interested.

Group Tour Contact:
April Bourie
Sales and Marketing Director
Phone: 520-444-3687
Email: AprilB@TucsonPresidio.com

Motorcoach parking is available on Telles St.