Oracle State Park: Center for Environmental Education
For the Public
The park is open Saturdays and Sundays. Hours are 8 am - 5 pm. Environmental Education Field Trip Programs for school groups are scheduled weekdays by reservation.
For reservations, call the park office at (520) 896-2425.
Download Oracle SP November Events Calendar ( 130 KB PDF)
ORACLE STATE PARK named as one of 20 International Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Did you know you have one of the best places on Earth to view the stars, right in our own backyard of Oracle, AZ?
Visit the park this weekend, look up, and you may see more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the entire Earth. (Did you also know there are likely more atoms in a grain of sand, then there are stars in the entire Universe?)
Milky Way Rising Over Oracle SP
Mike Weasner of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee with another amazing time-lapse video of the Milky Way rising over Oracle SP. There is no audio track to this piece. The Oracle Dark Skies Committee (ODSC) has succeeded in getting Oracle State Park a designation as an International Dark Sky Park. Learn more
Every Saturday & Sunday: The Kannally Ranch House Tour
10a.m. and again at 2p.m.
Learn more about one of the earliest cattle ranching families to Oracle, and the architectural treasure they left behind, on a 45-minute Docent or Ranger-led tour of the Kannally family home. The Mediterranean-Revival Style ranch house built in 1929, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No reservation is needed. Free with park admission.
Saturday, November 22: Guided Hike - Manzanita to Mariposa Loop Hike
(8.5 miles, begins at 8am)
Meet at the Kannally Ranch House. Hike Nature Trail to Manzanita Trail, AZ Trail to Windmill, on 2-track AZ Trail all the way to Cherry Valley Wash, to Mariposa Trail back to ranch house. Reservation required the day prior, by calling Guide, Gaston Meloche, at (520) 638-5404. Free with park entrance fee. A minimum of four hikers is required for a hike to take place.
Saturday, December 6: Guided Hike - Windmill Loop Hike
(8 miles, begins at 8am)
Meet at the Kannally Ranch House. Hike Wildlife Corridor Trail to Windmill, do Windmill Loop, then up Kannally Wash to ranch house. Reservation required the day prior, by calling Guide, Gaston Meloche, at (520) 638-5404. Free with park entrance fee. A minimum of four hikers is required for a hike to take place.
Saturday, December 6: Geology of the Catalina Mountain Region
11a.m. with Bob Scarborough.
The program will begin in the living room of the ranch house with a talk on the geology of Oracle State Park, San Pedro River Valley, Galiuro range and local mountains. Following the presentation, Bob will lead a geology trail walk for the first 15 participants. 11am – 2pm for both the talk and guided walk. Reservation suggested, free with park admission.
Saturday, December 7: Bighorn Basics
Join Arizona State Parks volunteer, Richard Boyer, as he presents "Bighorn Basics" at the Kannally Ranch House for a 35 minute talk to learn more about bighorn sheep - including reintroduction efforts and updates on a proposed wildlife corridor to cross Highway 77 near Catalina. What are they? Where have they been? Where are they now? Many of the tools we use can be compared to the tools the Bighorn Sheep use to survive in mountainous areas of Arizona. For several years, Richard has presented this Bighorn Basics program at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado where he recently retired as a seasonal National Park Service Ranger. Free with park admission. Reservation preferred. Also – Jan 11, Feb 8, March 8, April 5
Sunday, December 14: Holiday Wreath-making Workshop
Make your own decorative wreath using plant material found at the park: juniper, manzanita, soapberry, mistletoe, buckwheat and others, while expanding your knowledge of local plants. $10 includes the park entrance fee. Space is limited; reservation required.
Saturday, December 20: Guided Hike - with Geologist
(5-6 miles, begins at 8am)
Meet at the Kannally Ranch House. With guest geologist, we hike where we will learn about all those rocks! Reservation required the day prior, by calling Guide, Gaston Meloche, at (520) 638-5404. Free with park entrance fee. A minimum of four hikers is required for a hike to take place.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR for these 2015 events!
Saturday, January 24: Winter Evening Stargazing Event. Details TBA.
Saturday, March 21: Going for the Gold Dark Sky Celebration. Oracle State Park has recently
been designated the 20th in the world “International Dark Sky Park”. More details to come on this allday-into-evening celebratory special event!
For reservations, call the park office at (520) 896-2425.
Wrap-Up Gallery: Live Music & Star Party Photo Gallery
Tour the Historic Kannally Ranch House
Each Saturday and Sunday the historic Kannally Ranch house will be open for self guided tours (or guided tours offered by reservation). The Mediterranean-Revival Style Ranch House built in 1929, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wildlife Slide Show
See what’s showing up at waterhole cameras in the park.
Cowboy Artist Lee Kannally Paintings
An exhibit of impressionist-style paintings by self-taught cowboy artist Lee Kannally is on display at the Kannally Ranch House.
Nearly 30 oils, many that haven’t been on public display for decades, are included in the exhibit, with 24 on loan from the Oracle Historical Society and the remainder owned by Friends of Oracle State Park.
Both a wildlife refuge and environmental learning center, Oracle State Park offers groups a chance to learn more about human's impact on nature.
Oracle State Park is a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains. The park offers day-use picnic areas and over 15 miles of trails for use by hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. In addition, a section of the National Scenic Arizona Trail crosses through the park.
The property once belonged to one of the earliest cattle ranching families in Oracle, and includes a unique Mediterranean and Moorish style ranch house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kannally Ranch House may be reserved for group use or weddings. Constructed between 1929-33, the adobe house is four levels built up the hillside. Self-guided tours are available with guided tours on select dates. From the patios enjoy sweeping views of granite boulder outcrops and the San Pedro River Valley and Galiuro Mountain range in the distance.
Oracle SP also serves as a Center for Environmental Education and provides programming for all ages. Interactive programs for school groups are offered by reservation. These programs are conducted along trails, so students learn about habitat and the interrelationships between plants, animals, and people. Additional public programs, workshops, tours and concerts are offered throughout the year.
Tour the historic Kannally Ranch House at 10 am and 2 pm, on Saturdays, until April 28.
Although the land has been a park for just a short while, the area has been visited and used by man since prehistoric times. This interaction between man and the park environment has played an important role in shaping the landscape we see today.
Clovis Man occupied areas along the San Pedro River 10,000 to 11,000 years ago and quite possibly visited the current park site during these early times. It is also believed that the Hohokam resided in the relatively flat, grassy areas of the park and used the adjacent woodlands for hunting and food gathering some 600-800 years ago.
In the middle 1880s the Apache Wars had ceased in central and southern Arizona. This opened up large areas to mining, ranching, farming and the settlement of small towns.
In 1902 Neil Kannally arrived in Oracle from Illinois. After moving to the area, he homesteaded the land that would later become the park. Later, other members of the Kannally family joined him. The ranch grew substantially over the next several years and eventually 1100 Hereford cattle grazed the land.
In 1976, Lucile Kannally, the last surviving family member, donated the land to Defenders of Wildlife who later transferred the property to the State Parks Board
The Oracle Adventure: An Environmental Education Program for Grades 1-3
The Oracle Adventure offers an environmental awareness program specifically designed for sensory learning. This participatory and interactive field trip focuses on developing an awareness of nature through the senses. Appreciation of the natural world and our relationship to it is emphasized during a series of hands-on activities along a trail in the 4000 acre park. Park rangers and trained docents will guide the students during the 90 minute program, as they explore the oak-grassland and learn to use all of their senses in this exploration. Teachers receive a packet with pre-visit and post-visit classroom activity suggestions to further enhance the on-site experience.
The Catalina Adventure Program, based on the Oracle Adventure, is also offered seasonally at Catalina State Park. Call (520) 628-5798.
The Oracle Odyssey: An Environmental Education Program for Grades 4-6
The Odyssey sparks curiosity, challenges students to think about the environment in new ways, and encourages students to consider simple positive actions that contribute to healthy environment. The Oracle Odyssey focuses on habitat and interrelationships and includes the study of humans as an integral part of the natural community.
Teachers receive a packet with complete pre-visit and post-visit lesson plans. The materials contain specific key concepts, teacher background information, and student activity sheets. During their field studies, students are guided by park rangers in a series of activities along a trail in the 4,000 acre park. This 2 1/2 hour program of hands-on activities brings ecological concepts learned in the classroom into a real world context.
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge