Pima Air & Space Museum (Tucson) by John Sounders


The small town of Amado is a former destination for the stars – well, former unless you know where to look.

Right Now

Nature lovers love Amado – and birds do, too. Clear skies, warm weather, and, most importantly, the ecologically essential riparian habitat here make the area a paradise for flora and fauna.

Once the birds have landed for the night, look to the skies again. The MMT Observatory, an astronomical observatory run by the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Institution, is located in Amado. Hop on a tour to see the stars.

Stars of a different variety once flocked to Amado (rumor has it that Hollywood’s elite referred to Santa Cruz County as “Santa Booze County”). A-listers stole away to this area for anonymity, nature’s beauty, apparently a couple cocktails, and fun away from paparazzi. But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t spotted every once in a while.

A friend of Elizabeth Taylor took her to the Halfway Station, a gas station and restaurant with a name that referenced Amado’s history as a resting point for stagecoaches traveling to Tucson long before Interstate 10. Taylor liked the food so much that she once had a meal air-mailed to Europe (she also had beans cooked and sent to her often). Paul McCartney filmed his music video for “Stranglehold” at the Halfway Station, which was renamed the “Cactus Club” for the video.

Surprisingly, the Halfway Station is now closed (locals didn’t sell out the stars for recognition), but The Cow Palace remains. Perhaps because you can’t miss it – it’s the longhorn-topped building west of Interstate 10. The Cow Palace has been open since the 1920s. Pull up a seat and order a steak – you’ll see why this place is still around.

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Just The Facts

For Visitor information

Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce | 123 W. Kino Park Place | Nogales, AZ | (520) 287-3685 | www.thenogaleschamber.org/

County It all started How High? Head Count
Santa Cruz County 1920 2,885ft 295

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