General Site Information

Owned by The University of Arizona, Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, is a major regional attraction and also serves as a laboratory for controlled scientific studies, an arena for scientific discovery and discussion, and a far-reaching public education center. Research at Biosphere 2 focuses on the issues of global environmental change using a multidisciplinary approach. 

Biosphere 2 is located between Tucson and Phoenix, two major metropolitan cities with the University of Arizona and Arizona State University respectively. This is an ideal location if you are looking to provide to these markets a locally produce product. Locally grown produce creates important economic opportunities, helps reduce environmental impact, and has health benefits. 

Biosphere 2 site is in southern Pinal County, approximately eight miles northeast of Catalina and five miles southwest of Oracle.  Access to the site is via Arizona State Highway 77, and travel distance from metropolitan Tucson is approximately 18 miles. The site is less that one hour from Tucson international Airport and 1.5 hours form Phoenix International Airport. 

The site is an irregularly shaped parcel comprising of approximately 1,249 acres owned by CDO Ventures LLC, situated on the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.  Adjacent lands are primarily state-owned. CDO holds the grazing leases on 2,115 acres of these state-owned lands.  Other prominent features in the immediate vicinity include the Canada del Oro Wash, Coronado National Forest, Little Hills Mine and Robson communities—SaddleBrooke and SaddelBroooke Ranch.

Current development plans in this area focus on several areas: Oracle Junction, Golder Ranch (SaddleBrooke), Oracle Road corridor between the bustling suburb of Oro Valley and the town of Oracle and two new developments in and around the town of Oracle. There are several Planned Area Developments already on file with the Department of Planning in Pinal County for the land in and around Oracle Junction and beyond.  This pattern of development is consistent with the development to the south, Robson Community developments, SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch.

On-site Facilities 

  • Research Systems include the Landscape Evolution Observatory, Tropical Rain Forest, 1-million gallon Ocean, Coastal Fog Desert, Savanna, Mangroves and Space Analog for Moon and Mars. 
  • Onsite Overnight Accommodations include meeting spaces for groups up to 100 people and 28 three to five bedroom Casitas with full kitchen and living room
  • Energy Center including generators, cooling towers, boilers, and SCADA control system
  • Radio Telescope and Space Situational Cluster utilizing Biosphere 2's dark sky location
  • Surrounding land is potentially leasable depending on scope of project

Description of Land and Zoning

CDO of Ft. Worth, Texas owns approximately 1,249 acres of which approximately 200 acres have been improved (figure 1). Of the 200 acres that are improved CDO donated 40 acres to the University of Arizona in 2011. CDO also leases another 2,115 acres, which are generally used for grazing. The grazing operation is small with between 30-60 head of cattle.  Small commercial leases are also maintained on the water well system property and the Highway 77 entry point.  Total owned and leased land equals 3,365 acres.

If you are interested in conducting research on the surrounding property, please contact John Adams at

Property Map