Museum of the Horse Soldier is a small museum on the property of Trail Dust Town.
The museum’s mission is “to preserve the history and heritage of our United States Military’s mounted services and recognize the horses’ contributions to U.S. Military history.”
Visitors to The Museum can explore the history of U.S. horse soldiers and their roles in times of peace and conflict during the 18th – 21st centuries. The Museum of the Horse Soldier offers a unique opportunity to explore military history through informative and engaging exhibits.
Interesting tidbits from Tucson’s history – The Museum’s building was originally home to Diamond X feed store as well as the first location for Tucson’s Gaslight Theater. The building later became a studio for local artist Dan Bates, where he created many bronze sculptures. It was here that Mr. Bates housed his collection of military artifacts, historical wagons, and other antiques. His personal collection was the inspiration for the Museum of the Horse Soldier.
The Museum of the Horse Soldier continually has over 2,000 objects on display. Displays are periodically changed, allowing visitors to see different items.
Due to its small size, you would most likely want to walk through the museum in conjunction with an extended visit to Trail Dust Town (a historical outdoor shopping center and miniature Western theme park).
Originally built in 1961, Trail Dust Town has 9 shops, 2 restaurants, 1 museum, and a small attraction area (named Polly Anna Park).
Where is Museum of the Horse Soldier located?
Museum of the Horse Soldier is on the property of Trail Dust Town at 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road in East Tucson.
What are the hours?
Museum of the Horse Soldier is open 11:00am-7:00pm, Wednesday-Saturday and 11:00am-5:00pm on Sunday. The museum is open by appointment only on Monday and Tuesday.
Trail Dust Town is typically open only in the evenings (Mon-Fri, 5-10pm; Sat-Sun, 4:30-10:00pm), but some of the shops and restaurants have daytime hours.
Polly Anna Park is every night between 5:30pm-9:00pm (the ferris wheel and carousel only run on Wednesday-Sunday).
Stunt shows are 7:00pm and 8:00pm, Wednesday-Sunday.
Please note that nearly all of the shops in Trail Dust Town are open on Friday mornings from 9:00am to 1:00pm during the weekly Heirloom Farmers Market.
Why would I visit Museum of the Horse Soldier?
- To explore the history of U.S. horse soldiers
- To learn about military history through informative and engaging exhibits
- To take a tour of the museum with a knowledgable guide
How much does it cost?
Admission to the Museum of the Horse Soldier is $6 for adults and $3 for youth (ages 5-17). Children four and under are free. All proceeds are used for historical preservation efforts.
If you prefer to experience the entirety of Trail Dust Town, you may want to buy a $12 wristband.
Your wristband includes:
- unlimited rides on the carousel, ferris wheel, and train
- admission to the stunt show
- admission to the Museum of the Horse Soldier
Wristbands are available for purchase Wednesday-Sunday, 5:30pm-9:00pm.
What is the parking situation?
Visitor parking is available in front of, adjacent to, and behind the town. There are 300+ parking spaces.
What should I wear?
The museum is indoors, but you will likely decide to walk around Trail Dust Town a bit too. Dress for the weather. Layers are always a good idea.
What should I bring with me?
Water bottles, snacks, cash, and a camera.
Are bathrooms available?
Not in the museum itself, but restrooms are available inside Pinnacle Peak (a steakhouse in Trail Dust Town).
Which days are most and least crowded at Museum of the Horse Soldier?
Since Museum of the Horse Soldier is small, it doesn’t tend to be crowded – even on the weekends.
Is outside food allowed at Museum of the Horse Soldier? If so, are there picnic tables?
The museum is very small and does not have dining facilities. That being said, there are picnic tables in Pollyanna Park in Trail Dust Town. Outside food is permitted, but not encouraged during evening business hours.
Does Trail Dust Town have a restaurant?
Yes – two, in fact.
Pinnacle Peak is “Tucson’s original cowboy steakhouse.” The menu includes mesquite grilled steaks, ribs, chicken, and fish in a Western environment. Be sure to let the server know if you are celebrating a special occasion as they will be sure to embarrass – ahem, celebrate – the honoree. Note that Pinnacle Peak has a Happy Hour, known as Cowboy Hour, from 4:30-6:30pm on weekdays when drinks are $2-$4. P.S. If you wear a tie, the waiter/waitress will cut it off. The only rule of the restaurant is NO TIES ALLOWED!
Dakota Bar & Grill is open for lunch and dinner daily; breakfast on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Happy Hour is 3-6pm, Tuesday-Friday. Menu includes soup, salad, burgers, alcoholic beverages, and desserts.
What restaurants are located NEAR Trail Dust Town?
Trail Dust Town is very central so there are quite a few restaurants in the immediate area. Our top picks within a 2-mile radius are:
- Tino’s Pizza, 6610 E. Tanque Verde Rd (0.2 miles away) – pizza, wings, sandwiches, lunch specials, gluten-free crusts available
- Bistro 44, 6761 E. Tanque Verde Rd (0.7 miles away) – seafood, steaks, salads, sandwiches
- El Taco Tote, 1340 N. Wilmot Rd (0.8 miles away) – Mexican grill, salsa bar
- Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar, 6390 E. Grant Rd (1.0 miles away) – burgers, shakes, salads, wine, cocktails
- Prep & Pastry, 6450 E. Grant Rd (1.1 miles away) – breakfast, brunch, lunch, booze, pastries, locally sourced
- Sauce Pizza & Wine, 6450 E. Grant Rd (1.1 miles away) – hand-stretched pizzas, pasta, salads, paninis, vegetarian + gluten-free options, wine, pizza cookie
- Renee’s Organic Oven, 7065 E. Tanque Verde Rd (1.1 miles away) – pizza, pasta, vegetarian, gluten-free available, organic ingredients
- Zona 78, 7301 E. Tanque Verde Rd (1.3 miles away) – artisan pizza, Italian specialties, beer, wine, cocktails, happy hour
BABIES & KIDS
What ages would be best suited for a visit to Museum of the Horse Soldier?
The museum is not “hands-on” nor are the exhibits geared to young children. Recommended for ages 7+.
Should I bring a stroller?
You won’t need one in the museum, but you’re welcome to bring one in if you plan to spend some time in Trail Dust Town.
Are there changing tables in the restrooms?
Can I host a special event at Museum of the Horse Soldier?
The museum space is very small and does not include an event room. That said, you can certainly book a wedding at the Savoy Opera House in Trail Dust Town or plan a birthday party at Polly Anna Park. Lots of options!
Is Museum of the Horse Soldier active on social media?
What else do I need to know before I go to Museum of the Horse Soldier?
You can get the most out of your visit by joining a guided tour, complimentary with your admission. Daytime Guided Tours are: 11:00am — 1:00pm, Wednesday through Sunday. Evening Guided Tours are: 5:00pm — 6:30pm, Wednesday through Saturday.