#1 goes to Sabino Canyon
Winner winner chicken dinner! Sabino's ease into exercise is gentle on even the most beginner cardio-mama. Or dada. Cool and swimmable streams and waterfalls keep older kids content. How many trails have changing tables? The visitor's center here does! Along with an air-conditioned science corner for kids in case you overheat. Cons: $5 car entry. But it IS in the Foothills. ;)
#2 IS A 2-FER AT RILITO
Put Brandi Fenton Park into your GPS and gain the best access to the Rillito River Walk. Which by the way, is another easy no-hill trail in Tucson. Halfway into the trail, a horse ranch will excite the littles. As will the giant pigs! Beside the ranch is Green Things. A killer local nursery and a retailer of local honey. Stash that in your stroller! Finally, the free spalsh-pad finishes out this adventure for the whole family.
#3 SURPRISES AT SWEETWATER WETLANDS
Honestly, Sweetwater Wetlands feels like the Twilight Zone of Tuson. Pretty, very pretty. But odd. A biome so out of place in the desert. If strange and science-ridden are your passions, look no further! Hah. Every family must go once. The recycling is the truly fascinating part. Kuddos to the City of Tucson for providing this free park with 100 PERCENT reclaimed water.
#4 SEXY THIGHS FOLLOW AT TUMAMOC
Seriously! Tumamoc Hill is a fantastic and challenging workout. Call me lame, but I don't have a palate for wine. My mama-existence runs on Jesus, coffee, and ENDORPHINS. The incline here is grueling, but prepare to smile ear to ear when the wave of endophins floods over your descent. All views here are breathtaking. **With or without a stroller, please pace yourselves! It's taken a while, but I've only now worked up to half the "hill." (With breaks!) Nobody is judging you. Go easy on yourself. (Parking is on Anklam Street behind St. Mary's hospital. Zero signs, so follow the groups of athletic peeps.)
#5 THE ZOO TRAIL HAS A CAFE
5. Reid Park Zoo and Park. Exotic animals are hard to beat, but don't overlook the park surrounding the zoo. Rent a stroller in case you are visiting for the day. Then chow down on churros, or slurp up Eeegee's, beside peacocks and howling monkeys. Outside is Reid PARK. There, a sweet pond is swimming with ducks. So bring bread and get close to nature. With endless grassy fields and a walking path, pack a picnic for after. (Park is free. Zoo is free under 2 years-old. Changing-tables galore. Feed the larger-than-life giraffes for $3. 10am through May 31/9:30am thereafter.