Monday, July 23, 2012

In The Belly of an Arizona Rattlesnake

     Ever want to walk in the belly of a rattlesnake?  Just one of the amazing feats you can do in Arizona– well sort of!  Tucson, Arizona has over 530 miles of urban hiking and biking routes.  In addition, it is famous for its public arts program.  One of its most unique artistic offerings is the Tucson Diamondback Rattlesnake Bridge.
    The bridge crosses busy Broadway Boulevard near the east side of downtown Tucson.  It is 280 feet long, 11 feet high and 14 feet wide. Hikers and bike riders can enter the bridge through the 28-foot head (with 11-foot fangs) or through the 20-foot high tail with its 300-pound fiberglass rattle.
    Simon Donovan is the Tucson artist who designed the rattlesnake bridge. He proudly points out the details found on his bridge.  The painted diamonds, found on the skin of the big snake, are exact replica of those found on the Sonoran Desert snake,  “Alternating from brown to beige in six repeating patterns”, Donovan excitedly proclaims!  And the snake’s underbelly, he continues, “ is divided into life-like segments every 2 1/2 feet.”
     The Tucson Snake Bridge was officially dedicated on May 23, 2002.  Representatives from the business community, baseball teams, school children and neighborhood groups were all present for the “slithering opening”.  Members of the Tohono O’odham tribe performed a traditional blessing of the bridge to signify its’ “linking of art, culture and transportation.” 
     At night the snake’s eyes light up, and interior lighting allows this snake to be seen all night long.  Day or night when someone exits through the tail, motion detectors set off a realistic “rattle” to the delight or fright of the bridge crosser.
     If you want to visit and experience the Tucson Snake Bridge, it is located in the Iron Horse Park Neighborhood. 
Entrance to the bridge is near the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Hughes Street.

     To get to the Tucson Diamondback Rattlesnake Bridge take I-10 south to Tucson.  Exit I-10 at Congress Street.  Go east of Congress Street, which quickly turns into Broadway, until you reach Euclid.  Turn left onto Euclid and look for street parking.  You will have passed under the Diamondback Rattlesnake Bridge just before you come to Euclid.

     The GPS coordinates for the Tucson Diamondback Rattlesnake Bridge is:  N 32, 13.295’ by W 110, 57.696’.  The official web site for the Tucson Visitors Center is:

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