Yuma, Arizona, is situated along the Colorado River at the mouth of the Gila River and just north of the border with Mexico. The Colorado River runs along the north and west side of town, dividing Arizona and California. The fertile land and proximity to water has drawn settlers to the area for thousands of years. Yuma serves as the county seat of Yuma County and has a population of more than 87,000.
The average temperature in Yuma is 75 degrees. Temperatures range from highs near 105 degrees in August to lows of 36 degrees in January. One of the hottest cities in the United States during the summer, Yuma was named the sunniest place on Earth by the Guinness Book of World Records.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Like other parts of Arizona, tourism plays an important part in the local economy. In addition, the warm dry climate and the fertile land makes this Arizona's most productive growing region resulting in a $700-billion agriculture business and yielding crops of lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, cantaloupe, watermelon, wheat and Sudan grass. Citrus (principally lemons), cotton and alfalfa are also planted in the area.
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma is one of the nation's top training and testing facilities. Its location offers year-round conditions for training and acres of open land for testing. Hence, the base is the busiest in the Marine Corps. The Yuma Proving Ground north of the city is used by all branches of the military and draws military personnel and foreign visitors into the area for various periods of time.
- Arizona Western College is a public community college offering two-year degree programs.
- Northern Arizona University-Yuma provides students with four-year programs in conjunction with Arizona Western College.
- University of Phoenix, best known for its online programs, has a satellite campus in Yuma.
Like much of Arizona, Yuma enjoys warm winter temperatures and low humidity. Spending time outdoors enjoying the moderate climate is a popular pastime for residents and visitors.
Yuma has 13 challenging golf courses. Recreational boating is available on the Colorado River and on many of the smaller lakes in the area. An abundance of fish makes the Colorado River attractive for the novice and avid fisherman alike.
The Painted Desert Trail takes about an hour to walk at a leisurely pace.
Algodones Dunes is the largest sand dune ecosystem in the United States. The area is very popular with off-road vehicle owners.
Wildlife attractions around Yuma include:
- Saihati Camel Farm has one of the largest camel herds in North America. The farm also has sand cats, fennec foxes, ostriches, emus, miniature donkeys, and other unusual animals on display.
- Cibola National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1964 to restore and protect migratory birds' habitat. Limited hunting and fishing opportunities are available.
- A walk along an interpretative trail at Betty's Kitchen Wildlife and Interpretative Area is a great way to learn more about the waterfowl and other birds.
- The Yuma Territorial Prison State Park housed Arizona's most dangerous and notorious criminals between 1876 and 1909. It is now the most visited State Historic Park.
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park has restored the U.S. Army Quartermaster Depot. The park also includes a transportation museum and a picnic area.
- Cocopah Indian Museum displays historical exhibits of tribal dolls, beadwork, and other arts and crafts.
- Father Garces founded the St. Thomas Mission in 1780. The current structure was built in 1922, after the original mission was destroyed during an Indian uprising.
- Yuma Valley Railway provides a ride through historic Yuma Valley on a 1922 Pullman Coach.
- Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens transport visitors back to the territorial days of Arizona.
- Yuma Proving Grounds Heritage Center depicts the military history of the Yuma Proving Ground from 1942 to the present. Among the collections are prize-winning models of military vehicles.
- Castle Dome Mines Museum is a restored ghost town.
- Armed Forces Memorial Park is an outdoor dedication to honor the sacrifices of veterans.
- Yuma celebrates the Lettuce Days Festival in January, honoring lettuce and all the winter vegetables grown in the area. More than 90 percent of the winter vegetable crops consumed in the United States are grown near Yuma.
- Since 1951 Yuma has hosted the Square and Round Dance Festival, held in February at the Yuma Convention Center.
- In April the Yuma Birding and Nature Festival provides educational seminars and field trips.
The Desert Sun Stadium is home to the minor league baseball team Yuma Scorpions and hosts Arizona Winter League games from January through March. It is also home to two teams in the Arizona Winter League.
- The Yuma Sun is the area's daily online newspaper.
- National Public Radio is broadcast through KAWC 1320AM at Arizona Western College.