Tumacácori Mission

by | Dec 2, 2010 | Arizona Missions, Arizona Trip 2010, Field Trips | 7 comments

While we were visiting my inlaws, we took our children on a number of day trips, or should I say “field trips,” to various places that Hubby remembers visiting as a child.  Our first stop was the Tumacácori Mission, Arizona’s first Spanish Mission.

Mission San José de Tumacácori was established in January of 1691 by Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino on 310 acres at the town of Tumacácori, Arizona.  Due to Apache raids and lack of funds, Tumacácori Mission was abandoned in the 1840s before the area became part of the United States.  However, it is maintained by the National Park Service and is open to the public.

A friend of mine had recently told me about the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program and so I was very excited to see that it was offered at the mission!  Hubby and I visited Tumacácori when Captain was a baby, but it really was amazing how much the Junior Ranger Program enhanced our visit! We all learned SO much and noticed many little details that would have otherwise been easily overlooked.

After arriving at the mission, each of the children were given a Booklet filled with pictures of things they needed to find around the Mission and questions that they needed to answer.

“This church, though not the first on the mission grounds, was the most elaborate.  The Franciscans began the church in 1800, long after Father Kino’s death. Built by Indian and Spanish laborers, constructing the church was a long process due to lack of funds and Mexico’s war for independence. In 1828, Mexico decreed that all Spanish born residents had to leave the country and Tumacácori lost its last resident priest…

… At this time, the church was still not complete and the bell tower was never capped with its dome. As there were few Mexican-born priests left to care for all of the missions, Tumacácori became a visita – a mission without a resident priest.”

“Unlike most mission churches, Tumacácori Mission’s church was built in the shape of a long hall rather than the typical cross shape due to a lack of funds.”

The Cemetery

The Lime Kiln

Our children LOVED looking at the wax replicas of what the church would have looked like when it was first built. 

And Captain particularly loved this replica of an Apache attack that his Grandfather told him to make sure and check out! 

The children were all excited to be sworn in as Junior Rangers, earn their badges, and receive the certificates.   I was excited that my children had such a great learning experience while traveling!! 


  1. Nadja

    I've been there, and have a tiny vial of dirt I picked up at the site. We visited when we lived in Tucson and used to take rides on the motorcycle (long before having kids!) on nice weekends. Thanks for the post!

  2. Anonymous

    did you also get to vist San Xavierde bac in Tucson? We try to get there once a year.

  3. Jessica Gordon

    We did!! We drove up right after leaving Tumacácori! I am hoping that I will have time tonight to upload a few pictures tonight to post tomorrow! 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    it would of been cool to meet IRL! Glad you had a good visit.

  5. Jessica Gordon

    It sure would have!! Do you live near Tucson? Hopefully we will visit again in the next year or two.

  6. Anonymous

    Rogue is so proud of being a Junior Ranger too! I need to get him to more places so he can get badges from lots of different parks!
    You are making me long to see the southwest!

  7. Kelly

    I need to look into this junior ranger thing more. We have so many parks here in Colorado. I think my kids are really missing out. It's going on the top of my homeschool "to do" list. Thanks for the post. 🙂


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