Last week, we found ourselves at Dirtbag's Bar on East Speedway, right next to the University of Arizona campus. Mike and I had taken our sons there to play the arcade game Golden Tee Golf.

We were also there for dinner, and while it was close to the boys' bedtime, you could count the rest of the people in the bar on one hand. Mike and I looked at the many license plates hung up around the bar pledging allegiance to the UA in seven characters or less.

We peeled our flip-flops off the floor, sticky from spilled beer. We noticed the Mind Eraser and Alabama Slammer listed on the drink menu.

Obviously, Dirtbag's would be a different place a few hours later when our kids (and we) were long asleep.

Dirtbag's seems great, and it reminds us of the dives we went to when we were in college. Those days are long gone, but we are still enjoying and taking advantage of a university and the surrounding area. The UA is a big part of our family life in Tucson, even though we are not alumni. It offers so much.

Museums: Preston and I, along with his first-grade class last year, gazed at the stars and viewed minerals at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium.

 Fine arts: UApresents offers some amazing performances. We have particularly enjoyed family-friendly events such as the Children's Festival and the musical "A Year With Frog and Toad."

The 2010-2011 schedule includes "The Blue Man Group" and "Wicked." Mike and I saw both shows when we were living in Chicago, and we think Preston might be interested in seeing them.

• Dining. We often head to Main Gate Square for the great variety of restaurants. The locally owned Frog & Firkin, Kababeque and Vila Thai are our favorites.

Sports. We have attended football and basketball games and hope to take in some other sports this year. Pep rallies have also been fun. Preston and Griffin love to spy Wilbur and Wilma, listen to the band and watch the cheerleaders.

Volunteer opportunities. I give some time to the University of Arizona chapter of my sorority as an adviser. We hope to participate in the Wildcat Walk this fall, too.

Atmosphere. There is such a great energy around the University of Arizona campus. No other part of Tucson is quite like it. Mike and I reflect on our college experiences, and we feel young and old at the same time.

The university and the surrounding area represent many good things for us, and we wish the Wildcats the best. Bear down!

E-mail Kelley Helfand at