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When is the best time to go Tucson?


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I am planning a trip to Tucson 2020. The Tucson website says the event goes from 1-16 Feb.

 

I have no experience going there so I would have to ask you experts some questions:

 

1) How many days should I spend if I am only interested in fossils?

 

2) When should I arrive at Tucson? A few days before? On the opening day of 1 Feb? Or should I go nearer to the end to get better deals?

 

3) Where's the closest place to Tucson where I can legally dig for fossils? I was considering Texas.

 

4) Any other general tip or advice?

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Hi Andy, I have heard the best time to go if shopping is at the beginning of the show before stock gets picked over. 

 

If looking to dig, check out this site: 

http://www.t-rat.com

 

This is the geology and paleontology of Arizona.  Keep in mind that it is still a 5 hour drive to the Texas border from Tucson and might take several more hours to get to your destination in Texas.  Perhaps a local like @Troodon may know more :) 

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Lots of question

First the Shows opens at different times depending on the venue best to be there when they open.  The 22nd street show opens on Jan 30,  the Tucson Hotel show also opens the 30 but the ballroom where the BHI and others are located opens on Feb 1.   The Days Inn (was Ramada) Show have dealers starting to opening on the 30th a few earlier.   Other than the 22nd Street show and Ballroom everyone has individual rooms so its their discretion when to open and close.  The Fossil Co-op (Marketplace) is always open but some rooms are set up just for the show open around  Feb  1.   Moroccan parking lot tents, open later during that first week..  So you want to be there on the 30th and how long you stay is your call but at least 5 days if you want to checkout all the fossil venues or 3 when you run out of money

..

 

 

Fossil collecting is problematic since its the middle of winter.   There is Shark Tooth Hill in California if the people that run it are not coming to the show.  

 

 

@HamptonsDoc  you've flown in and checked out all the venues how may days do you recommend

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22nd Street Show

https://www.22ndstreetshow.com/

 

Days Inn and Hotel Tucson City Center Show

https://www.mineralshowslld.com/

Site is saying ballroom opens on Thursday, I dont believe it since they also say the show opens on Saturday

 

Kino Show (includes moroccan tents)

https://xpopress.com/show/profile/41/kino-gem-mineral-show

 

All the 47 Shows..Gem, mineral, fossils,, beads and lots of  junk

https://xpopress.com/showcase/profile/1/tucson-gem-mineral-fossil-showcase

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I can guarantee Rob ( Ernst Quarry/ Shark tooth Hill ) won't be going to Tucson. 

But that is our rainy season and it is closed when it rains so it might be a gamble travel wise. 

You can get online and order a venue catalog of the shows and other offerings ( lectures and such ). I think that is the bottom link Frank posted above.

Also keep in mind that Tucson's hotels have a tendency to book up quickly so it would behoove you to get reservations months in advance.

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There are some nice places in New Mexico that are considerably closer to Tucson.

Maybe @PFOOLEY could point You to some good sites to visit.

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If you make a pit stop in ABQ, I will take you ammonite hunting in the RPV. :)

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HamptonsDoc

For a serious collector like you I would try to be in Tucson for 5 full days to spend enough time hitting all the fossil venues so you're not rushed.  It can be done in 3 but you will have to move very quickly and won't get to go back over everything a second or third time which is important because you do actually miss a lot of nice fossils from just being so overwhelmed with everything the first and second time around!  If the 'Days Inn' (Formerly Ramada) and 'Hotel Tucson City Center' (Formerly inn suites) open Jan 30th you'll want to be there at least the day before since many rooms are open and you can help vendors set up and get a good look at their stuff.  You can not get into the 22nd street show early and they are very strict with their times of 10am-6pm.

 

I stayed in the Radisson that Troodon recommended in the post above me this year and recommend it as it is directly next door to the Days Inn show which makes it nice to run through that show quickly everyday on your way in and out.  The hotel is clear and comfortable and couldn't be in a better spot.  Don't stay at any of the hotels where the shows themselves are, they seem dirty and are packed full of people.

 

At the beginning of the show you will be able to get the one of a kind fossils that disappear quickly- I think this is more of what you are interested in and collect.  I've had a few dealers contact me at the end of the show about a few pieces I was interested in after I went home that were still available that they were willing to sell for a much better price rather than shipping them back to the warehouse so I don't think you would personally benefit from going at the end.  I feel like the end of the show is best for people looking for cheap bulk fossils to resell.

 

You will need a rental car for Tucson.  If flights are cheaper to Phoenix its a very easy and nice 90 minute drive to Tucson.  Food is extremely cheap and delicious in Tucson!

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Flights are definitely cheaper to Phoenix especially since you often connect to a smaller plane in Phoenix to Tucson anyway.  The last time I went to the Tucson shows was three years ago and I did fly to Phoenix and was able to catch a ride with a friend to Tucson from there.  Some people even stay in Phoenix and do the drive every day because the Tucson hotels raise prices just for the show.  There are a few motels up Oracle going north down the road not far from the Co-op but they can be lower quality.

 

Yes, I would plan on at least three full days for the show and a travel day before and after.  I was there for two days plus travel days and I'd been going to the shows for over 25 years and I didn't feel like I saw everything.  I think for a first-timer you should try for at least five days in town.  You'd want to be there a couple of days before the shows start and that first weekend.  Fly home on Monday or Tuesday.

 

Shuttles run between shows from around 10am to 5pm but you will want your own car.

 

When you could use a break from the show, there are a few bookstores (I have always liked Bookmans, a used bookstore) and museums in the area (Pima Air Museum, Desert Museum, etc.).

 

 

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Thanks so much for the info guys!

 

On 4/9/2019 at 9:39 AM, Runner64 said:

Hi Andy, I have heard the best time to go if shopping is at the beginning of the show before stock gets picked over. 

 

If looking to dig, check out this site: 

http://www.t-rat.com

 

This is the geology and paleontology of Arizona.  Keep in mind that it is still a 5 hour drive to the Texas border from Tucson and might take several more hours to get to your destination in Texas.  Perhaps a local like @Troodon may know more :) 

 

Thanks. I know Texas has some good dino exposures so I was thinking of contacting Andre LuJan, owner of Paleotex, to take me on a paid digging tour. I likely won't get much of a chance to go to USA in the future, and I can't spend too many days there, so I want to go to a site where I would almost surely find vertebrate fossils.

 

On 4/9/2019 at 10:08 AM, Troodon said:

Lots of question

First the Shows opens at different times depending on the venue best to be there when they open.  The 22nd street show opens on Jan 30,  the Tucson Hotel show also opens the 30 but the ballroom where the BHI and others are located opens on Feb 1.   The Days Inn (was Ramada) Show have dealers starting to opening on the 30th a few earlier.   Other than the 22nd Street show and Ballroom everyone has individual rooms so its their discretion when to open and close.  The Fossil Co-op (Marketplace) is always open but some rooms are set up just for the show open around  Feb  1.   Moroccan parking lot tents, open later during that first week..  So you want to be there on the 30th and how long you stay is your call but at least 5 days if you want to checkout all the fossil venues or 3 when you run out of money

..

 

 

Fossil collecting is problematic since its the middle of winter.   There is Shark Tooth Hill in California if the people that run it are not coming to the show.  

 

 

@HamptonsDoc  you've flown in and checked out all the venues how may days do you recommend

 

Thanks for all these info, Frank. I will go through all these with several other SG collectors whom I might travel with.

 

On 4/9/2019 at 7:59 PM, caldigger said:

I can guarantee Rob ( Ernst Quarry/ Shark tooth Hill ) won't be going to Tucson. 

But that is our rainy season and it is closed when it rains so it might be a gamble travel wise. 

You can get online and order a venue catalog of the shows and other offerings ( lectures and such ). I think that is the bottom link Frank posted above.

Also keep in mind that Tucson's hotels have a tendency to book up quickly so it would behoove you to get reservations months in advance.

 

Oh yes, Shark Tooth Hill is about a 9 hours drive from Tucson isn't it? I might pay @JBMugu a visit if the site is open for digging in that period. Thanks for the tip on the hotels.

 

On 4/9/2019 at 10:23 PM, ynot said:

There are some nice places in New Mexico that are considerably closer to Tucson.

Maybe @PFOOLEY could point You to some good sites to visit.

 

Good suggestion with New Mexico.

 

On 4/9/2019 at 10:26 PM, PFOOLEY said:

If you make a pit stop in ABQ, I will take you ammonite hunting in the RPV. :)

 

Sounds good man. Will tell you if I am passing by.

 

On 4/10/2019 at 4:33 AM, HamptonsDoc said:

For a serious collector like you I would try to be in Tucson for 5 full days to spend enough time hitting all the fossil venues so you're not rushed.  It can be done in 3 but you will have to move very quickly and won't get to go back over everything a second or third time which is important because you do actually miss a lot of nice fossils from just being so overwhelmed with everything the first and second time around!  If the 'Days Inn' (Formerly Ramada) and 'Hotel Tucson City Center' (Formerly inn suites) open Jan 30th you'll want to be there at least the day before since many rooms are open and you can help vendors set up and get a good look at their stuff.  You can not get into the 22nd street show early and they are very strict with their times of 10am-6pm.

 

I stayed in the Radisson that Troodon recommended in the post above me this year and recommend it as it is directly next door to the Days Inn show which makes it nice to run through that show quickly everyday on your way in and out.  The hotel is clear and comfortable and couldn't be in a better spot.  Don't stay at any of the hotels where the shows themselves are, they seem dirty and are packed full of people.

 

At the beginning of the show you will be able to get the one of a kind fossils that disappear quickly- I think this is more of what you are interested in and collect.  I've had a few dealers contact me at the end of the show about a few pieces I was interested in after I went home that were still available that they were willing to sell for a much better price rather than shipping them back to the warehouse so I don't think you would personally benefit from going at the end.  I feel like the end of the show is best for people looking for cheap bulk fossils to resell.

 

You will need a rental car for Tucson.  If flights are cheaper to Phoenix its a very easy and nice 90 minute drive to Tucson.  Food is extremely cheap and delicious in Tucson!

 

Thanks Jason. I am thinking of 5 full days too. USA is too far for me so this might be one of the few times I get to fly down to Tucson. I might try to arrive in Tucson on 30th Jan if possible. Phoenix is a great suggestion! It's around $250 cheaper there for me.

 

On 4/10/2019 at 11:33 AM, siteseer said:

Flights are definitely cheaper to Phoenix especially since you often connect to a smaller plane in Phoenix to Tucson anyway.  The last time I went to the Tucson shows was three years ago and I did fly to Phoenix and was able to catch a ride with a friend to Tucson from there.  Some people even stay in Phoenix and do the drive every day because the Tucson hotels raise prices just for the show.  There are a few motels up Oracle going north down the road not far from the Co-op but they can be lower quality.

 

Yes, I would plan on at least three full days for the show and a travel day before and after.  I was there for two days plus travel days and I'd been going to the shows for over 25 years and I didn't feel like I saw everything.  I think for a first-timer you should try for at least five days in town.  You'd want to be there a couple of days before the shows start and that first weekend.  Fly home on Monday or Tuesday.

 

Shuttles run between shows from around 10am to 5pm but you will want your own car.

 

When you could use a break from the show, there are a few bookstores (I have always liked Bookmans, a used bookstore) and museums in the area (Pima Air Museum, Desert Museum, etc.).

 

 

 

I might stay at Phoenix then just to keep hotel prices lower. Definitely gonna get my own car if possible, and perhaps to visit a museum if I get the time.

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9 hours ago, -Andy- said:

Thanks. I know Texas has some good dino exposures so I was thinking of contacting Andre LuJan, owner of Paleotex, to take me on a paid digging tour. I

Andre has had a room at the Days inn the the past couple of years so he might be at the show.

 

9 hours ago, -Andy- said:

 

I might stay at Phoenix then just to keep hotel prices lower.

Your call but I do not recommend that just a super hassle and you really want to be close to the show.   There are lots of good hotels just outside of the show zone on interstate 10 that prices will not be inflated.   The price of the recommended one is $220 weekday.

 

 

By the way most of my friends/family who visit me fly into PHX just a lot cheaper.

 

One more item to consider is that most of the fossil dealers transactions are in cash/checks and only a few have plastic.

 

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Andy,

 

Your welcome to come dig with me when you are out here. It should be the best time of the year. There are a couple places to go dig trilobites in the CA desert if you want to do other stuff besides STH. I can pick you up/drop you off at LAX if your going back to Singapore that way. I can gaurentee that you will find some marine vertebrate fossils.

 

Jesse

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