Southern Arizona’s Biosphere 2 reopens for walking tours

Nov 15, 2020, 6:15 AM | Updated: 3:34 pm
In this Friday, July 31, 2015, photo, tourists walk through the enclosed coastal fog desert ecosyst...

In this Friday, July 31, 2015, photo, tourists walk through the enclosed coastal fog desert ecosystem of the Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Ariz. Biosphere 2 lives on as a successful research site 25 years after eight people emerged from the New Age-style experiment in the Arizona desert. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Southern Arizona’s Biosphere 2 reopened to the public this week for in-person tours for the first time in eight months.

The University of Arizona-owned facility had previously allowed driving tours of the facility in August but has now reopened to the public for walking tours.

The newly-reopened facility features point-by-point tours that are guided by the Biosphere 2 Experience app, according to a press release.

“We have developed a new app that will allow visitors to explore the facility at their own pace while keeping socially distant from other visitors,” Biosphere 2 oceans systems and education initiatives manager, Katie Morgan said in the release.

“We are confident this new experience will provide visitors with a fun and safe way to interact with the facility.”

The facility’s new app allows visitors to get information at each of the 16 stops that are laid out along a one-way path from the visitor’s center.

Morgan said that the new app allows visitors to gain the same insights they would have with a guide, while reducing the risk of coronavirus spread by reducing the number of people in a given space.

“We made sure we put a lot of history into this app,” Morgan said. “There are Biosphere 2 archival photos and videos available on the app that can’t be found online, making this a totally different experience than before.”

The app also gives visitors information about research projects within the facility, such as their rainforest, ocean and model city projects.

“The nice thing is you can explore at your own pace,” Biosphere 2 Deputy Director John Adams said in the release. “This new experience allows you to tailor your visit.

“We’ve layered the information so visitors, if they so choose, can dive deeper into any subjects. Over time, we will continue to add and expand content as we roll out new research and experiences.”

More than half of the center’s 16 stops are outside of the facility itself.

“We’ve got scenic overlooks along the path that offer spectacular views of the property and surrounding landscape,” Adams said. “There is also a stop to view Biosphere 2’s lungs – large air chambers designed to ensure the facility would never become over- or under-pressurized.”

Biosphere 2 is located 30 miles northeast of Tucson near Oracle. It was founded in the 1980s to explore self-sustaining space colonization technology.

The University of Arizona bought the facility in 2011 in order to support those researching the effects of climate change and the earth’s behavior as a whole.

Visitors must purchase tickets online and select a time to visit, according to the release, with face masks being required for all visitors.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, left, speaks during a news conference after the Supreme Court ...
Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court: Arizona can enforce genetic issue abortion ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday allowed enforcement of a 2021 Arizona law that lets prosecutors bring felony charges against doctors who knowingly terminate pregnancies solely because the fetuses have a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.
20 hours ago
(File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill directing $335M to build border fence

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Thursday that directs $335 million in state cash to construct virtual or physical fencing along the border with Mexico, part of a $564 million border security funding package that is the most ever spent by the state.
20 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo/Luke Forstner)...

Suspects in shooting of Phoenix officer indicted on first-degree murder charges

Two men accused of shooting a Phoenix police officer earlier this month have been indicted on three felony charges each, authorities said Thursday.
20 hours ago
Protesters shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona Capitol after the Supreme Court...
Kevin Stone

Proposed Arizona ballot initiative to ensure abortion rights running out of time

Proponents of a ballot initiative to amend Arizona’s constitution to guarantee abortion rights have a week left to gather enough signatures to put the issue before voters this year.
20 hours ago
(AP Photo/John Locher)...

Peoria joins other Valley cities in implementing first stage of drought management plan

Peoria on Wednesday became the latest Valley city to announce implementation of the first stage of its drought management plan.
20 hours ago
(Instagram Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Phoenix Mexican restaurant Ladera Taverna closing, will reopen as The Vig

Ladera Taverna y Cocina is saying adios this weekend after six years in Phoenix’s Sunnyslope neighborhood and will be converted into another location of The Vig.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Southern Arizona’s Biosphere 2 reopens for walking tours