/ Modified feb 11, 2022 1:33 p.m.

Respite and reflection outdoors during the pandemic

Agua Caliente Park, described as 'desert oasis,' is rich in scenery and history.

Agua Caliente Park - Grass Pond Agua Caliente Park is a Pima County destination located east of Tucson city limits. Visitors often describe it as a "desert oasis" for the community.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

The pandemic is inspiring a growing number of people to seek refuge and relief outside, and southern Arizona provides many viable options.

Agua Caliente Park is one of them.

Agua Caliente Park - Palms Reflection Agua Caliente Park is a Pima County destination located east of Tucson city limits. Visitors often describe it as a "desert oasis" for the community.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

Named after the Spanish words for "hot water," the first European settlers were attracted to the area by a perennial hot spring that provided a dependable source of water for crops, cattle or other uses.

Tucson native and retired teacher Sandy Cohen enjoys the serenity.

"It's so quiet, it's so far away from the main hub that it's kind of a nice place to be," she says.

The Pima County park offers opportunities to pedestrians and birders as well as history buffs.

In 2009, the location was placed in the National Register of Historic Places, and there's a historic ranch house that is open to visitors on certain days.

Elizabeth Smith is a Presbyterian minister in Tucson who grew up in Kansas.

"When you pull up as you're driving close you're wondering, where is it? Where is it? And then you see the cluster of the trees, " she says.

"And it's like, 'oh yeah, it is totally an oasis in the desert.'"

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