Big comes easily to Arizona. We have a canyon called Grand, the two largest manmade lakes in the country (Mead and Powell) and the longest stretch of Route 66 still intact. We even grow the biggest cactuses in America, the mighty saguaros that rise as tall as office buildings across the desert.
Yet when it comes to the little things, we do pretty well in that department, too. It’s time to focus on some of the itsy-bitsy teensy-weensy attractions around the state.
Tucson: Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
It’s not just a small world but an adorably small one at this charmingly quirky museum. Actually, it’s several worlds.
Designed as a time machine to transport visitors to various lands and eras, the modernistic building overflows with all things wee, spread throughout themed rooms. The collection includes more than 275 houses and room boxes divided into three main areas: the Enchanted Realm, History Gallery and Exploring the World. Docents lead 45-minute tours at 1 p.m. daily.
Through April 17, see “Feel Big Live Small,” a multimedia exhibit created by a dozen international artists.
Details: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sundays. 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive, Tucson. $9, $6 for ages 4-17. 520-881-0606, www.theminitimemachine.org.
Bisbee: Room 4 Bar
Belly up to the bar isn’t just a suggestion in this pocket-size waterhole, it’s a floor plan. With just three bar stools and a postage-stamp table with two chairs, a basketball team packs the place.
But don’t let limited square footage fool you. The bar carries a full selection of wines, beers and liquors. The Silver King Hotel, a former boarding house for miners, has been restored while maintaining the historical integrity of the building. Five rooms welcome guests for $71 per night. What better way to cap off a night of drinking in Arizona’s smallest bar than to sleep it off just down the hall?
The former Room 4 was converted into the wee saloon. Festivities often spill out into the lobby and onto an adjacent patio. And when bands perform they set up there, so you don’t have to worry about a bass player sitting on your lap during a set.
Closing time might be midnight, or it might be 2 a.m. Hey, this is Bisbee we’re talking about.
Details: Opens at 4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. 43 Brewery Ave., Bisbee. 520-432-3723, www.silverkinghotel-bisbee.com.
Yuma: Tiny church
A roadside chapel sits at the edge of farm fields along U.S. 95 about 14 miles north of Yuma. A sign with the words “Pause Rest Worship” beckons to weary travelers.
Loren Pratt, a farmer and Navy veteran, built the diminutive church in 1995 as a tribute to his late wife. It measures about 8 feet by 12 feet, with a pulpit, six small pews and stained-glass windows. When a microburst leveled the chapel in 2011, an army of volunteers stepped up to help Pratt and his family rebuild. Pratt passed away in 2015.
Over the years, the church has hosted numerous weddings and even a few funerals. Countless visitors have spent a few meditative moments inside the little chapel, which is usually open during daylight hours. Hundreds come annually to celebrate an Easter sunrise service officiated by Pratt’s son, pastor Cecil Pratt.
Lake Havasu City: Mini lighthouses
Here’s a piece of trivia to file away for if you’re ever on a game show with big money on the line: Lake Havasu City is home to more lighthouses than any other town in the country. Not bad for a desert state.
The small waterside structures are scaled-down replicas of some of America’s most famous lighthouses. Replicas of East Coast lighthouses line the east side of the lake and ones from the West Coast are re-created on the west side.
These stylish navigation lights were created for boater safety. Built and maintained by the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, each of the 25 small structures is about one-third the size of the originals. The first one, a replica of the lighthouse in West Quoddy, Maine, was erected in 2002. A map to all lighthouses is available at the Lake Havasu City Visitor Center.
Details: Visitor center, 422 English Village. 928-855-5655, www.golakehavasu.com.
Superior: World’s Smallest Museum
While it’s no longer the world’s smallest (an even tinier one opened in a former elevator shaft in New York City), this roadside attraction still qualifies as one shrimpy museum. And it packs an interesting oddball collection of stuff into its 134 square feet of space.
It was built in the mid-1990s to lure diners into the Buckboard Restaurant next door. Exhibits are set behind glass panels and include a hodgepodge of stuff such as vinyl records, an old typewriter, a Beatles concert poster, ore samples from nearby mines and, surprisingly for a self-proclaimed world’s smallest place, the world’s largest Apache tear (obsidian black glass).
Outside is Memory Lane/Waterfall Avenue, where wheelbarrows, tires and other equipment have been recycled into fountains and cascades.
Details: 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays-Sundays. Free. 1111 W. U.S. 60, Superior. 520-689-5800.
Sedona: Teacup Rock
The Sedona skyline is dominated by imposing formations such as Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte and Thunder Mountain. In the midst of this majestic sandstone rises dainty Teacup Rock. It’s worth the easy hike to see the cutie, plus you enjoy big panoramas along the way.
Teacup Trail ambles over rolling terrain through a forest of Arizona cypress, juniper and piñon pine. It climbs onto a sandstone shelf and skirts the base of Coffee Pot Rock. West of the Pot, a tulip-shaped spire huddles amid bulkier cliffs. This is the trail’s namesake teacup, about a mile from the trailhead.
Once past Coffee Pot, the trail switchbacks up a low ridge and intersects with Sugarloaf Loop Trail. Bear right, following Teacup till you reach a small saddle marked by a signed turnoff to the summit. Hang a left and make the quarter-mile climb up the backside of Sugarloaf. The climb to the bald crest is not too steep and you’re treated to astonishing, wraparound views of Sedona.
Details: 928-203-2900, www.fs.usda.gov/coconino.
Sierra Vista: Hummingbird banding
Sierra Vista is one of the few spots where visitors can hold the teeniest of all birds in their hands.
Up to 10 species of hummingbirds use the San Pedro River as a migratory corridor between their tropical winter digs and northern nesting grounds. Enjoy a close-up look as staff and volunteers from the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory capture, band and measure the hummers. A few lucky visitors get to serve as launching pads when the tiny birds are released to continue their long journey.
Banding takes place in March, April, May, July, August and September. The first banding session is on March 26. Check the SABO online calendar for times and dates of banding and other activities.
Details: San Pedro House visitor center, 7 miles east of Sierra Vista on State Route 90. Free; donations accepted. 520-432-1388, www.sabo.org.
Find the reporter at www.rogernaylor.com. Or follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RogerNaylorinAZ or Twitter @AZRogerNaylor.
Powered by Day Break Times