Head to Tucson this weekend and you’ll be able to experience a fantasy that’s been 80 years in the making.
Valley of the Moon, Tucson’s beloved outdoor whimsical garden of hillsides, miniature towns, grottoes and more, will celebrate its 80th anniversary with a free open house 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
The phenomenon was imagined, designed and built by George Phar Legler in 1923. Legler wanted to create a fantasy land for children to learn "kindness to all" and a place for adults to find mental and spiritual relaxation.
From a vacant desert lot, Legler single-handedly created an enchanted landscape filled with secret passageways, castlelike structures, hillsides, gardens and glens. He blended it all with tropical and desert flora to create what he liked to call the "Fantasy Touch of Three" great imaginations — Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson.
More than 50 years ago, a writer for Tucson Magazine may have described Valley of the Moon best when he wrote, "Should Disneyland cover the 25 miles Tucson entire state of California, not one corner would speak to childhood as does this imperfect, perfect little theatre."
To celebrate Valley of the Moon’s 80 years, the fairies and gnomes will be out to welcome those who have been coming for years and those who have just discovered this "kingdom in the desert," said honorary chairwoman Molly McKasson.
Musical guests include The Spirit Tones, Illusion, flutist Linda Winkleman, Sol Gypsies, the String Sexytet and Zuzi! Dance Company.
Take Interstate 10 east for 105 miles to Exit 254. Turn left onto West Prince Road, left onto North Tucson Boulevard and right onto East Allen Road. Valley of the Moon is at 2544 E. Allen Road. (520) 323-1331.