Dec 17, 2012 9:10 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson resort gives kids a lesson in the great outdoors

TUCSON- On a sunny afternoon a group of children heads out on a hike in the Sonoran desert to find a hidden treasure.

They're not members of the Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts.

They're guests at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, taking part in the Dove Mountain Ranger Program.

It's a chance for the resort's youngest guests to ditch the parents for a day and learn all about the great outdoors from Rangers. "At first they were a little nervous about being separated from us in a place they haven't been, but they've had a blast," says Ritz-Carlton Guest Holly Koob.

Koob's two children, Kazmyn 5, and Jonah 7, participated in the Ranger Program during their stay at the Ritz. "We saw snakes, scorpions, tarantulas and some birds," Kazmyn Koob says.

Besides taking part in the outdoor electronic scavenger hunt, where kids use a GPS device to find a hidden treasure, they also got a chance to spend the day inside Ranger Headquarters. The facility houses all sorts of desert creatures.

"I would definitely say my son's favorite is touching and petting the snakes so far," Koob says. "My daughter enjoys playing and learning more about the other animals."

Koob says the program gives her and her husband a chance to spend some time away from the kids. "But at the same time, it gives the kids a chance to run around and be active," Koob says.

The program offers a variety of supervised physical and creative activities designed especially for children ages 5-12. Dove Mountain Rangers incorporates Native American games, creating ancient rock art, cowboy exploration and artisan training. Themed programs include:

Native American Artisan
Cowboy Adventure
Dove Mountain Explorer
Viva Mexico
Rangers Night out

Additional activities are offered on holiday weekends.

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