Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Exploring the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is part zoo, part history museum, and part botanical garden on 21 acres near the western section of the Saguaro National Monument showcasing flora and fauna from the Sonoran desert. We spent nearly 5 hours there today, and enjoyed every minute of it! When we first arrived we went to the Warden Oasis Theatre where we enjoyed an hour long presentation by two staff members – one with a Gila Monster and one with a Diamondback Rattle Snake (pictured above). Not only was the presentation educational and informative, but incredibly well done – probably one of the best we’ve seen – definitely make time for a presentation like this when you come to the museum.

Then we (and it seemed everyone else in the museum) went to see the Raptor Free Flight show where up to four Harris Hawks were showcased as they soared freely through the air. Again, the show was informative, interesting and enjoyed by everyone in the crowd - it was amazing to see these birds of prey balance on the tops of the prickly saguaros.

Now you know how hungry we get ~ so we ate lunch at Ironwood Terraces Restaurant – although the food was fresh and fairly good, it was quite expensive for what we got (a chicken sandwich for Brad and Caesar Wrap for Suzanne) – so we recommend you bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it outside the museum, perhaps in your car.

Stomachs full (and wallets slimmed), we spent the next couple of hours roaming the grounds and enjoying not only the botanical gardens and cacti, but also very much the variety of animals ~ including Javelina, Mexican wolves (who sadly number less than 50 in the wild), Mountain Lions, and a number of beautiful birds in two different aviaries – one for a general population of birds, the other specially designed for hummingbirds. There are some neat and different views of some animals, such as the view of the beaver den beneath the dam where we saw beavers eating, sleeping, and then eventually leaving through their “door” and out onto the pond.

The cost per person is $13, and well worth a visit. The paths are all wheelchair accessible, and there are special areas designed specifically for children.


Mike Goad said...

Thanks for such a great description of the park.

I've added a link to this post on my Arizona Resource Links page. Sometimes when I come across a good description of a park or an attraction, I save it for my future reference - and for anyone else that happens to stumble across my links.

Mike Goad (at home in Arkansas)
Haw Creek Out 'n About

Jerry and Suzy said...

You guys are great! We visited the Desert Museum years ago, and now we are sorely tempted to go again.

And thanks to Mike Goad for giving us news about his Arizona Resource Links page! That'll be another source for us. We're learning again that, because you homebase in area, you're likely to learn more about it from someone else than from your own exploration. Maybe we should homebase in Arkansas, then we'd visit more of Arizona!!!

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