Tucson Audubon's Mason Center ⋆ Tucson Audubon Skip to content

Preserving Saguaro/Ironwood Habitat

Tucson Audubon’s Mason Center is a sanctuary where youth, families, educators, and others can appreciate the beauty of our local landscape, enjoy native wildlife, and learn about sustainable living in the Sonoran Desert.

Donated to Tucson Audubon in 1998, the 20-acre Mason Center is a richly vegetated parcel of nearly pristine saguaro-ironwood habitat visited by over 80 species of birds as well as many iconic desert mammals and reptiles. Feeding and water stations, as well as pollinator and habitat gardens surrounding the facilities support seasonal and year-round populations of wildlife. Solar cells, composting toilets, and water harvesting structures model the best of Sonoran Desert sustainable living.

The Center was donated to Tucson Audubon by its former owner, Mrs. Orpha Mason, in an area of Tucson’s northwest side that is rapidly growing and in great need of outdoor education opportunities. As a protected area adjacent to additional natural desert in Arthur Pack Park, it provides habitat for the preservation and study of many desert plants and animals.

Mason Center Saturday Morning Birdwalks

After an introduction to birdwatching basics and feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Regional Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available.

Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Drinking water not available on trail. Restrooms at the Mason Center and one restroom midway.


3835 W Hardy Rd (MAP)
Weekday Hours: Gate is open 8am–5pm on weekdays only. If you do happen to be on our trail after 5pm, the gate will open by automatic sensor located along the wooden fence line.

Weekend Hours: Dawn to dusk. Please park on road and enter via small gate to the west of parking lot gate.  Note, all facilities are closed including the bathrooms. 

Call for details: 520-209-1802.

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Mason Center Mission:

Safeguard saguaro-ironwood habitat

Foster awareness, understanding and stewardship of our desert environment

Provide educational programs and research opportunities at the Center

Honor Mrs. Orpha Mason by protecting this land for future generations

Birding Trail

Half-mile loop trail invites visitors to explore a dense mix of native plants including stately saguaros and ironwood trees.


Offices, classroom, picnic tables, demonstration gardens, rainwater harvesting, composting toilets, and more.


From formal classes to weekly bird walks, educational offerings span an array of natural history topics.

Mason Center Support Fund

The Mason Center is a state of the art, demonstration retrofit net-zero-carbon/energy building. We are seeking funds to maintain and sustain the Center that are separate and above those funds that members give for our program work. Please contact Executive Director Melissa Fratello by email or by phone at 520 629-0510 to discuss how you can help. Thank you.

On-site Educational Field Trips

Educational and environmental groups may schedule a visit to this 22-acre, ironwood-saguaro habitat site for a fee of $50/hour with a minimum of 2 hours. Groups are scheduled on Fridays on a first-come, first-serve basis and must be accompanied by Mason Center staff or naturalists for the duration of the program.