Public Guided Tour
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Biosphere 2 is located north of Tucson, Arizona at the base of the stunning Santa Catalina Mountains. This one-of-a-kind facility sits on a ridge at a cool elevation of nearly 4000 feet and is surrounded by a magnificent natural desert preserve. Come experience the remarkable Biosphere 2 which Time Life Books recently named one of the 50 must see "Wonders of the World". See why visitors from around the globe journey here for this unique adventure not found anywhere else. Discover real-time research on the future of our planet as it unfolds in this specially designed mini-world.
The visitor center houses exhibits and multi-media displays along with a Bookstore and Cafe. You won't want to miss our new feature movie which describes the past, present and future of the project. Your entry into Biosphere 2 is led by an interpretive specialist who takes you inside and under-the-glass. The beautiful trail system takes you on a once in a lifetime tour that lets you smell our ocean and see a tropical Rainforest up close. In addition to escorting you through the upper Biomes, your interpretive specialist takes you through the basement “technosphere” and into the amazing lungs that helped moderate air pressure in the sealed environment in the past. Your tour will conclude in the custom-built underwater ocean viewing gallery where you can explore the million-gallon ocean and its real coral reef. Before or after your tour, take time to enjoy the many different programs or events that are offered throughout the season. The tour provides an opportunity to appreciate and discuss science in a friendly, informal setting. Your experience will be like no other!
We offer tours daily from 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. We ask that you arrive no later than 3:45 p.m. for the last tour of the day. Our tours are currently departing every 30-45 minutes. It is not necessary to book a reservation for groups with 20 people or less- upon arrival you will be assigned to the next available general tour.
The under-the-glass walking tour of Biosphere 2 consists of approximately 150 stairs (up and down) and the route is just under one mile to walk round-trip. The tour duration is 1 hour and 15 minutes with a considerable amount of standing (The tour has an additional 10 minutes of travel time to and from the Visitor Center). The tour spends time outside as well as inside the Biosphere 2 research facility itself. The weather can range from quite cold in the winter months to extremely warm during the summer months. Winter and spring weather can be unpredictable in southern Arizona so wearing layers of clothing is recommended. Comfortable, closed-toed shoes are also highly recommended for both safety and comfort. Unfortunately, due to low ceilings (in some areas) and doorways, babies and children can NOT be carried on an adult's back. Front carrying and front slings are acceptable. Tours are conducted on days with inclement weather unless the weather conditions pose a hazard to the safety of the visitors and staff. The interior of the Biosphere 2 research facility is heated and cooled based on current research protocols and as a result visitors may experience a variety of heat and humidity conditions on the under-the-glass guided tour. Bottled water is allowed on the tour and encouraged. 'Selfie sticks' are not allowed on the guided tour. Visitors who have medical considerations, special needs, are non-ambulatory or have other conditions may want to arrange for a less rigorous tour, please see ACCESSIBILITY.
The University of Arizona Biosphere 2 welcomes all visitors and strives to make its tours, exhibitions, programs, and services accessible to everyone. While much of the Biosphere 2 campus is wheelchair accessible, certain areas of the property cannot accommodate non-ambulatory guests because of the steep terrain as well as the presence of stairs on the under-the-glass guided tour. The under-the-glass guided tour of the biomes is NOT accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, or strollers. Unfortunately, due to low ceilings (in some areas) and doorways, babies and children can NOT be carried on an adult's back. Front carrying and front slings are acceptable. For non-ambulatory guests, Biosphere 2 DOES provide a modified under-the-glass tour on a case-by-case basis. This service must be requested at least 5 days prior to the visit. To request this service, inquire about scheduling and fees, or for other questions, please contact Biosphere 2’s group tour office at 520.838.6192 between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. For non-ambulatory guests unable to visit the non-accessible parts of the property, there are video clips and descriptions available in our visitor center.
For hearing impaired visitors, the University of Arizona Disability Resource Center provides sign language interpreting services for tours of Biosphere 2. This service must also be requested prior to the visit. To request this service, please contact the University of Arizona Disability Resource Center or 520.621.3268 V/TTY.
For additional information on accessibility at Biosphere 2, please call 520.838.6192.
Group and School Tours
Group and School Tours can be arranged, which normally include a historical overview of the Biosphere 2 project, a look inside under the glass at many of the biological systems within the structure, and discussion of past and current research underway.
Group Scheduling Office