UA campus activities for every student to explore

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Pascal Albright | The Daily Wildcat The UA Poetry Center located at 1508 E. Helen St.

The University of Arizona is a city within a city. For incoming students, getting to know the campus is a full-time job let alone the greater Tucson area.

But students need not venture far from home to find intrigue and entertainment. Some of the most interesting places and activities are closer than you think. 

Centennial Hall

Centennial Hall houses the ongoing performing arts series. UA Presents, which offers more than 20 unique performances every year - from world performances and dance to classical and jazz.

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This fall, students can get tickets to once-in-a-lifetime shows like the four-time Tony Award winning musical “Hello Dolly,” the Broadway musical “Anastasia,” and an interview with NPR contributor and best-selling humor author David Sedaris.

Gallagher Theater

The Gallagher Theater partners with Cats After Dark and the Residence Hall Association to welcome all students to the “most affordable movies in town.”

“We want Gallagher to be a service for our campus community and to students who need relief from their hectic class schedules,” said Loren Drake, manager of the Gallagher Theater and the Cellar Games Room.

Movies are free with CatCard, and the concessions stand will even throw in a free popcorn.

Cellar Games Room

The Games Room is unlike any other arcade experience.

The Games Room is stocked with billiards, ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, darts and an extensive collection of board games. Video games of all genres can be played on the resident PS4, Wii U, X-Box One, Nintendo Switch and on the PC.

“We are a community gaming space [and] experience, which sets us apart from students using gaming systems in their house [or] dorm,” Drake said.

Museums and Laboratories

The UA is home to world class collections of art, culture, history, poetry, science and more. Students can experience it all at the UA’s many museums, many of which have free or reduced admission with CatCard.

The Arizona State Museum is the oldest and most extensive museum of anthropological research in the Southwest U.S., with the largest collections of Southwest Native American pottery and basketry. As well as impressive photographic collections and a world-renowned conservation laboratory and preservation program.

The UA Museum of Art offers free admission to all students with CatCard who wish to see their diverse repository of over 5,000 paintings and sculptures throughout the ages. 

Next door is the Museum of Creative Photography, a “one-of-a-kind” archive of a most contemporary facet of art history photography that often shows off portfolios by our own talented university students.

“It is the world’s most important photographic collection and it is right here on campus,” said Gina Compitello, senior marketing and public relations officer.

The Flandrau Science Center brings the universe’s most unexplored territories to life with exhibits on sharks, the existence of life on Earth and the intricacies of the Solar System. For a reduced $12 with CatCard, students have access to all exhibits, the Gem and Mineral Museum and one show at the Planetarium. 

All are invited to see how medical science has grown and evolved at the History of Pharmacy Museum.

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According to museum curator Stephen Hall, the History of Pharmacy Museum has the world’s largest collection of pharmacy related artifacts. Their “crown jewel” — the Upjohn Pharmacy Collection - is a unique antique pharmacy collection from Disneyland.

“It is a branch of history that most people have never seen before,” Hall said.

The UA also has an incredible athletic history, all of which can be seen at the Jim Click Hall of Champions, which displays “more than 100 years of heritage and traditions,” showcasing rotating Olympic exhibits and celebrations of outstanding Arizona athletic performance.

The UA is unparalleled in the creation and development of powerful mirrors for optical telescopes around the world. These mirrors are works of art in and of themselves.

Students can tour the laboratory at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab for only $10 with CatCard. The James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences also opens its doors to students wishing to learn the extensive history of telescopes and cameras at the Museum of Optics.

The UA deals with trees both dead and alive at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and the UA Arboretum. 

The Tree-Ring Lab offers free docent-led tours to anyone interested in how trees reveal natural history, where they can learn the basics of dendrochronology.

The Arboretum is a museum of natural science that makes its home across the entire university campus. From the olive trees and orange groves to the desert oases on the UA Mall, the whole university is a garden that anyone is welcome to take pleasure in.

Poetry Center

The Poetry Center is a renowned archive of poetry and prose that seeks to integrate poetry and literature with the greater Tucson community.

“[Our mission] is to advance a diverse and robust literary culture that serves a local-to-global spectrum of writers, readers and new audiences for poetry and the literary arts,” said Sarah Gzemski, publicity and publications specialist for the Poetry Center.

The center has frequent free events and activities like poetry readings, book launchings and extended exhibits for the public to enjoy.

Their upcoming fall exhibit “Come to the Table” opens during the first weekend of classes and will feature poetry and free food that is representative of the exhibit. 

According to Gzemski, “It’s a great Saturday afternoon adventure on campus.”


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