Located just west of Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum consists of a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, aquarium and natural history museum, all spread out across a 90 acre plot. Considered to be one of the top ten attractions in the entire country, this museum is the perfect place to start your morning when visiting Arizona.
There is such a wide range of exhibits to be seen at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, with the Stingray Touch pool being one of the most popular. For even more marine creatures, there are two galleries to be seen at the Warden Awarium, while the Riparian Corridor features aquatic invertebrates, as well as river otters, beavers, and bighorn sheep. The Walk-In Aviary is ever-peaceful, with over 20 species of native birds flying around you, while the Reptile, Amphibian and Invertebrate Hall is a climate-controlled gallery that is dedicated to the area’s incredible bio-diversity. The Mountain Woodland exhibit is also not to be missed, as here you will see a mountain lion, Mexican gray wolves, a Black Bear, thick-billed parrots, and so much more.
Desert Museum Gardens
One of the best public gardens in the country, the Desert Museum Gardens at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum showcases the nature that can be found in the Sonoran Desert region, which is famous for being the lushest desert on earth and home to 2000 species of plants. The museum’s gardens are home to 1200 different species, of which there are 56,000 plants altogether, definitely making it an impressive collection. From the Cactus Garden to the Hohokam Agave Field to the Pollination Gardens, this is a part of the museum that guarantees to captivate any nature lover out there.
Tours and Presentations
For those who would like even more in-depth information on the nature and animals to be found at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, it would be well worth taking one of their tours. The Bird Walk is ideal for bird enthusiasts, especially when you consider the fact that over half of the bird species in North America are found in the region. If you would prefer to learn more about the Sonoran Desert region and its spectacular biological diversity, then the Desert Discovery Tour is the one for you. There are also several presentations held by trained docents throughout the grounds, covering a wide range of topics, from Brown Owls to agave to scorpions. The live animal presentations are also a must-see, with the Raptor Free Flight demonstration showcasing birds of prey, and the Keeper Encounters presentation showing you the many different tasks that the professional animal keepers at the museum do.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is open every day of the year, even on public holidays, which is extremely convenient when planning a visit. If you are hoping to catch a specific presentation or tour, then it would be worth checking the timings of these in advance online. With so much to see and do, the minimum amount of time that you should schedule for the museum is two hours, although you may easily end up spending the whole day here.