Conferences & Education
Annual Conference for Bank Presidents, Senior Officers & Directors
March 22-26, 2014
Now available: Speaker Presentation PDFs!
JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson
3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Reservations: (800) 228-9290
Register Online: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/IndependentBankers
Just 7 miles from Central Tucson and nestled against the saguaro-covered foothills of Tucson Mountain Park, the JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson Resort & Spa seamlessly blends with its stunning mountaintop setting. The resort features ample family-friendly recreation, an incredible array of dining options, three nine-hole desert golf courses and indulgences such as the Hashani Spa. You’ll enjoy spectacular views, an array of multi-level swimming pools, waterslides, rivers and fountains.
$249/night plus room taxes
(currently 13.05% + $2 per room, per night)
Room Rate Valid: March 19-28, 2014
Tucson Activities and Dining
If you’ve never been to Tucson before, it might surprise you how many different things there are to do there. Not only is it steeped in history, but you can find amazing food, come face-to-face with unique desert animals and even go golfing with your colleagues or your family. Planning to stay a few days after the conference will not disappoint and you may find yourself wanting to extend your trip or hoping to return. Here are just a few of the major attractions you and your family can enjoy in your free time.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a favorite among children and adults alike. In fact, it’s been voted the #1 attraction by visitors on TripAdvisor. Set on 21 acres, you can view all the cool plants and animals that thrive in the hot desert sun. From Gila monsters to javelinas, there are fascinating animals at every turn. You can also wander the aviary, the cactus garden and the aquarium – yes, there is desert marine life! For those more interested in the landscape, there are exhibits on rock formations and minerals found in the region.
Step back in time and visit the Old West in Tombstone, where you can see the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Walk in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and more at this fascinating life-size diorama. See the corral as it was in the 1800s and watch a reenactment of the world-famous gunfight. You’ll hear how it all went down and then head over to the Old West’s most famous – and Arizona’s oldest – newspaper. Read the original reports of the shootout and see how the printing press worked. If you’re interested in sticking around to see more of what Tombstone has to offer, you can get your portrait done as a rootin’ tootin’ gunslinger, go on a ghost tour, shoot a real Old West rifle, ride in a stagecoach and a whole lot more.
Even after several unfortunate fires, Old Tucson Studios is still standing and taking visitors back to the Old West. Tour the studios and the streets of Tucson in the Wild West days. As a place where it seldom rains, Tucson is a fantastic region for shooting movies and it has seen the likes of stars such as John Wayne, Shelley Winters and Clint Eastwood. If you love movies, this is the place to go. Walk along the same streets that you’ve seen in The Quick and the Dead, Tombstone, The Three Amigos, Death Wish and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Only a few minutes’ drive from the city center, Old Tucson features stunt shows, gunfights, musical shows, movie history and even a few rides and games. There is truly something for everyone.
Everyone loves a trip to the zoo, and if you have little ones with you, then you must pay a visit to Reid Park Zoo. The zoo is home to hundreds of animals and is making conservation its number one priority, from using responsible breeding practices to save animals to using composting practices and solar power to save the earth. Reid Park isn’t the largest zoo you’ll ever visit – you can see it all in a few hours, but it will be an experience you’ll never forget. And if you have a membership to your local zoo, you can use that to gain free entry to Reid Park.
Perhaps you have bad memories of the Pauly Shore movie Bio-Dome, but the idea of being able to house many different landscapes under one roof is still a very important concept. Now you can visit Biosphere 2 and take a tour of the live research facility. While it is no longer self-contained, you will get to view the air pressure moderators as well as each Biome, including a savanna, rainforest and an ocean, complete with coral reef. It is remarkable to see. Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk up and down many steps on your visit.
The desert isn’t all sand and tumbleweeds, like you might expect. It actually is full of astonishing colors. Learn about all these beautiful blooms at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Master gardeners use plants of the desert to create a wonderful experience for visitors and educate them on how to use them to landscape their own gardens and their benefits and care. Tours are available year-round on certain days and don’t forget to stop by the Butterfly Magic exhibit before you leave.
Interested in a bit of the macabre? Hit all the haunted and spooky spots in Tucson, Tombstone or Bisbee on the Tucson Ghost Tours. Every historical city has a haunted past and this is the way to see Southern Arizona’s best-known ghost hangouts. You can even ride around in a hearse!
Get some golfing in at one of the many courses in Tucson. Get a discounted tee time by using GolfNow.com and hit more than one course on your trip. Three of the top-rated courses you may want to reserve tee times for are the Quarry Pines Golf Club, La Paloma Golf Course and Mountainview Country Club.
If you’re meeting your family after the conference, you can all go golfing and have some fun at Golf n’ Stuff! Choose from two miniature golf courses and then explore the rest of the attractions. You’re sure to have a great time for hours playing the latest arcade games, racing go karts, playing laser tag, practicing your baseball swing and possibly getting wet on bumper boats.
You can’t leave Tucson without getting in a bit of shopping. Drive into downtown and indulge in a spree on 4th Avenue, the city’s premier shopping and dining area. This is where you’ll find locally made items at boutique shops. This is the place to find magnificent custom clothing and silver jewelry. It’s the perfect place to pick up some gifts for yourself and others. Once you’ve shopped ‘til you’ve almost dropped, grab a bite at one of the many restaurants and bars along 4th Avenue.
Where to eat
Get a true taste of Tucson with some of these unique local favorites:
Wildflower – A seafood oasis in the desert! With a revolving seasonal menu, you won’t be disappointed by the selections to choose from. Their Southwest-inspired dishes are a great excuse to make a reservation and get dressed up.
The Gaslight Theater – If dinner and a show are appealing to you, then the Gaslight is a definite must. For the past 35 years, the theater has been entertaining audiences with shows ranging from murder mysteries to magic acts and comedies.
Eegee’s – A staple in Tucson since 1971. This slushy and sub chain started out as a food truck, selling to students. It became so popular, they now have over 20 shops with delicious sandwiches and their signature frozen drinks.
Famous Sam’s – If you crave local, live music and the best burger you’ve had in a long time, pull up a chair. You can also engage in some off-track betting and watch sports here when a band isn’t in the house.
Magpies Gourmet Pizza – With three locations around the city, this is the ultimate pizza experience. Grab a pie for take-out and you may find yourself wondering if you can get one to take home with you.
Brawley’s Retaurant – You don’t have to look any further than this little restaurant to find the best breakfast in town. The line of patrons waiting outside to get a seat is a good sign that this place is worth the wait. Not only can you get large portions of delicious breakfast dishes, but the prices are some of the most affordable you’ll find anywhere.
El Charro Café – A Tucson landmark since 1922, this café is family owned and operated, dishing out traditional – and spectacular – Mexican cuisine. Everything is made with the freshest ingredients and guaranteed to be a treat for all your senses.
Little Anthony’s Diner – This ‘50s style diner serves up your favorites at great prices in a fun atmosphere. Choose from old classics like a meatloaf sandwich to the new – the cheese fries here are so good. If you’re too stuffed to enjoy a dessert, make sure to order the World’s Smallest Sundae. It’s a perfectly sweet ending to your meal.
A trip to Tucson can be anything you want it to be. Choose an itinerary of upscale and modern activities and dining or celebrate the bygone days of the Old West by visiting historical sites and eating at traditional Mexican restaurants run by families for generations. There are enjoyable attractions for every visitor that will have you planning to come back again.
Tucson information provided by Shereen Rayle, author of budget travel blog Shereen Travels Cheap.
— Russ Colombo, President & CEO, Bank of Marin, CA – Committee Chair