This world-famous museum is rather a zoo displaying the creatures of the surrounding desert in their natural habitats. ... More
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
This world-famous museum is rather a zoo displaying the creatures of the surrounding desert in their natural habitats. Located in the middle of the Sonoran desert about a half an hour drive from the city center, it also provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The gift shop has an excellent selection of Sonoran desert souvenirs. This is a must for any visitor staying in Tucson for more than just one day. Check website for operation hours.
My husband and I (with our 3 month old daughter) visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for the first time today and thoroughly enjoyed it! We only had about an hour and a half before closing. It's doable, but you have to move quickly, and we really wished we had planned our day better in order to give us more time.
The drive to the museum is absolutely gorgeous; you continue to view the amazing scenery throughout the entire indoor/outdoor museum. Most of the paths are outside, following the natural desert landscape however, you can stop indoors several times along the way. There is a reptiles exhibit with the various rattlesnakes found throughout Arizona, followed by an arthropods exhibit containing scorpions, spiders and beetles. Our favorite exhibit was the cave where you learned about various bats, how caves are formed, and about the formation of minerals. It's dark, quite a few degrees cooler and a lot of fun. Back along the outside path, you may see a mountain lion, bighorn sheep, a black bear, or a colony of prairie dogs. An otter and beaver in their repective exhibits gave quite the performances, each one hamming it up for the onlookers. We did not have time to take the desert loop. I was disappointed to find out we were missing the javelina and coyotes. Towards the end, you'll find a tranquil aviary and hummingbird exhibits.
It was not very busy when we visited, and we had no trouble with our daughter's stroller. I would imagine it would be hard to maneuver a stroller or wheelchair when there are a lot of guests or during a school field trip. We are planning to go back... Maybe when it cools down a bit more. Very educational. Very enjoyable. Highly recommended!
No dislikes whatsoever!!!!
Our family visits the Desert Museum every year on our annual trip to Tucson. Although you shouldn'r be fooled by "museum" in the name, (it's much more lively and fun than what you think of when you hear the word museum,) don't be foold by hearing it called a ''zoo" either. Yes, it has live animals, yes, they're in habitats to be viewed, but the animals are in their natural habitats, and the paths themselves are in a natural setting as well.
Definitely go here early in the morning, there's more animals out then, trying to avoid the sun. (take a tip from them and don't go in the middle of the day, it's very hot)
Some of my best memories of Tucson are at this museum.
I love the little "tracking books" for younger kids-
availible for $ 2 or 3-ish if i remember correctly, they're like a pamphlet, with the name of an animal at the musem and a little about the animal on each page, and as you make your way around the museum, there's a stamp outside each animals habitat with a stamp shaped like their par or footprint to stamp on the page of the tracking book.
as I said earlier, come here in the morning because you'll see more animals, and bring a hat and/or sunglasses, sturdy shoes (NOT flip flops!!!) and, if it's your first visit, plan to spend several hours here.
This place was awesome.Went twice.First time we went in the Summer(July 06),second in Mar 09.If you are going to do so as I did go early in the day.With the summer heat the animals lay low by noon because of the heat.The second time we went in the spring.There was much more of the animals out and about.This place had everything Arizona,from the Rattlesnakes to the scorpions,desert turtles.There was an exhibit where the kids can even do their own mini archeology dig and sweep for bones.Great for a last minute trip,or a day trip and you can hit Saquaro National Park,Gates Pass,or even Ol Tucson Studious if you are into that type of thing.
Educational and beautiful. The views are fantastic. I went in November, and it was still beautiful. I usually don't rave about zoos (which is what this is) but it's worth a visit.
Downside - all the strollers later in the day make the place too crowded. Definitely go early to avoid all that.
As a first time visitor to Tucson, I found this "museum" fairly easy to get to, a good value for the entry fee. You must not forget sunscreen and a hat. Much of the hike is without tree cover. The map was easy to follow. You could spend a whole day viewing each exhibit. My favorite was the cactus garden. When I return to Tucson I will make another visit to this wonderful place.
Although it's a little pricey at $13 per adult, this is a pleasant place to spend beautiful Tucson winter days. At only $50, it's worth it to get the family membership. I like the desert garden and the new rock dweller exhibit. It's a lot of fun for kids, and a beautiful drive from Tucson.
The layout was unique and beautiful. You didn't feel like you were in a zoo setting. I loved how the scorpions and spiders were in the wall, under fake rocks. This is a great place for families and adults. The docents were very polite and informative. I would love to go back!
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