On the 2-Hour Desert "Shelter" Tour you'll experience life as an architecture student at Taliesin West. As part of their studies, first-year architecture students generally live in simple eight-foot square shepherds' tents. Then later on during their studies they will design more elaborate "shelters" for themselves.
On these dynamic desert tours the students in the Frank Lloyn Wright School of Architecture lead the way to show guests their student shelter housing which has been called, "the coolest dorms in the world." Guests will learn about the innovative shelter program at Taliesin West, a tradition that has existed since Frank Lloyd Wright first slept under the stars in a simple canvas shelter on the ground that would become Taliesin West.
- Do I need to buy tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is highly recommended, as space is limited per tour. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can be purchased using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
- Are there any age limits? Can we bring our kids?
- Unfortunately, children under the age of 12 are not allowed on this tour. If you have young children we recommend you click on the "Calendar of Other Activities" link to the left and check out one of our other tours that might be more appropriate for kids.
- What about bad weather?
- The majority of this tour takes place outside and will run in light or moderate weather, but may be cancelled in the case of severe weather. You will be notified if the tour is cancelled and will be allowed to reschedule your tickets or receive credit for a future event.
- How much walking will we do and what is the terrain like?
- We generally walk approximately 1 to 1.25 miles along dirt paths through the desert on this tour. This can include some uneven and rocky ground with cacti along the path so appropriate footwear is required for this tour.
- Can we explore Taliesin West on our own or do we need to take a tour?
- All tours of Taliesin West are guided and guests are not allowed to explore on their own. Admission to the bookstore is free of charge but guests must have tour tickets to view the remainder of the property.
- Is Taliesin West handicap accessible?
- Taliesin West is a National Historic Landmark built between 1937 and 1959. As such, it was not designed or built to contemporary accessibility standards. This tour in particular is not handicap accessible due to the dirt paths with uneven and rocky ground that we walk on.
- Do you allow photography?
- Guests are welcome to take photos for their personal use. There are a few areas where we do not allow photography, but your tour guide will alert you to these areas during the tour. If you are looking to use photos in a professional capacity, please contact us prior to purchasing your tickets by clicking on the "Contact TaliesinWest" link to make arrangements.
- Is Taliesin West open all year round?
- Yes, we operate tours throughout the entire year. However, the Desert Shelter Tour does not run all year round and only runs from mid-November through April. Please be sure to check our "Calendar of Other Activities" for the exact tour schedule on the day you plan to visit.
- Do you have a gift shop?
- Yes, Anneliese's Bookstore is located next to the main parking lot and stocks the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Collection® products and books. Admission to the bookstore is free of charge and its regular hours of operation are 8:30am to 6:00pm.
- What should I wear? What should I bring?
- We recommend wearing comfortable clothing and we require wearing shoes appropriate for walking on desert trails. We recommend closed-toe shoes with a sturdy sole. Guests wearing flip-flops or sandals will not be allowed to participate. Since the tour does take place outside, we also recommend bringing a bottle of water and an umbrella. While we have a limited number of umbrellas available for guests, they can come in handy both on rainy and sunny days in the desert.
- Are food and drinks available for purchase?
- Yes, drinks and snacks are available for purchase in the bookstore. We do not recommend bringing outside food or drink unless you'd like to bring a bottle of water.
- Is there parking available?
- Yes, there is a free parking lot for all guests.
- Are pets allowed to come?
- No, other than certified service dogs, pets are not permitted.
- What about guests with special needs?
- Guests with special needs who are interested in visiting us but choose not to take the walking tour may request an Interpretive Guide and view a video on the history of Taliesin West while on site. Visually and hearing impaired guests who wish to bring someone to provide assistance on the tour such as a sign language interpreter may do so and the person providing assistance will not be charged admission.
- Do you offer gift certificates?
- Yes! Gift certificates are available and they make perfect gifts for holidays, birthdays or any other occasion! To purchase a gift certificate please click on the "Gift Certificates: Purchase" link in the box above.
- Do you allow private parties or events?
- Spacious Taliesin West is well suited for hosting exclusive corporate receptions and dinners. Groups ranging in size from 20 to 300 have experienced memorable evenings at Taliesin West using the many indoor and outdoor spaces. For more information about setting up a private event, please click on the "Contact TaliesinWest" link to get in touch with our staff.
- Do you offer large group tours?
- Yes, group tours are available and tours can be custom designed for prearranged groups of 15 or more. Please click on the "Contact TaliesinWest" link to discuss.
- Can we do a private tour?
- With advance notice (seven day notice preferred), individuals with very small groups may schedule a tour by an architect or personal guide. Please click on the "Contact TaliesinWest" link to discuss pricing and reservations.
- Non-refundable, can be rescheduled with 24 hours notice.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded. You may reschedule your tickets (subject to availability) only if you do so at least 24 hours in advance.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- Children under 12 are not permitted on this tour.
- Children under the age of 12 are not allowed on this tour. Please consider another tour option if you will be attending with young children.
Just minutes from downtown Scottsdale, Taliesin West is Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert masterpiece. In 1937, Wright and his apprentices built an architectural wonder out of the stone and sand that surrounded them in the Sonoran desert on the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. Many of those apprentices (“the Fellowship”) who worked and lived alongside Mr. Wright still live at Taliesin West, as do the current students and faculty of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture -- making Taliesin West an ongoing, vibrant community.
The Taliesin West experience is both immersive and powerful. Guests are fully welcomed into every room and space—nothing on the tour is behind ropes or under glass. The tours, which include such attractions as the Cabaret Theater, Music Pavilion, Garden Room, Desert Shelters, and Mr. Wright’s living quarters and private office, are filled with surprise, majestic views, and intimate interior details. Each tour inspires visitors with the innovative principles, beautiful creations, technological experiments, and unparalleled body of work of Frank Lloyd Wright. As a result, guests find the Taliesin West tour experience delightfully engaging and deeply relevant. While photos and descriptions may give you a hint of what’s in store, there is no substitute for experiencing it first-hand.
Come to Taliesin West and be inspired.