Wednesday, January 14 - Today we visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. We were here back in 2010 and consider it one of the best attractions we've enjoyed in all our years of travel. We enjoyed it very much in 2010 and were not disappointed with today's visit. We consider the Desert Museum an absolute MUST SEE for anyone passing through the Tucson area.
The Desert Museum is ranked on TripAdvisor.com as one of the Top 10 Museums in the country and the #1 Tucson attraction. Unlike most museums, about 85% of the experience is outdoors. The 98 acres includes 2 miles of walking paths, 230 animal species, 1200 types of plants - 56,000 individual specimens, and one of the world's most comprehensive mineral collections.
The Sonora Desert Museum is part zoo, aquarium, garden, museum and gallery. The focus is on seeing the Sonora Desert's plants and animals in a very natural setting. The animals are viewed in ways that make you think they are not fenced-in. The enclosures are so huge that the animals can be seen roaming around the desert without seeing the fencing.
We delayed arriving at the Desert Museum due to local fog in the Tucson area. We had planned on arriving around 9:30 am but were delayed till 11:30 am. There was just no safe way to drive there until the fog lifted. You could easily spend the entire day at the Museum. We left after 4:00 pm (The museum closes at 5:00 pm.) and didn't really see everything.
The museum is divided in sections depending on the plants and animals housed in the area. These areas include the Aquarium; Reptiles, Invertebrates, and Amphibians; Ancient Arizona (the rock & mineral collections; Mountain Woodlands (bears, lions, deer, bighorn, wolves); Desert Grasslands (parrots, prairie dogs, blue heron, owls, snakes, beaver, turtles); Cactus Garden; Hummingbird Aviary; Life Underground; Cat Canyon; Desert Loop Trail (coyote, agave field, javelina); and of course the Ironwood Terrace Restaurant.
Javelina are not pigs. They look similar, but pigs are from the "Old World" and Javelinas are "New World" animals.
The highlight of our day at the Desert Museum is the Raptor Flight. At 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, there is a Raptor Free Flight display. These amazing birds of prey whiz by flying so close you can often feel the brush of feathers and rush of air as they whiz past. The show lasts about 45 minutes and is something you just can't miss!
The Common Barn Owl was gorgeous!
The male Harris's Hawks put on an excellent show.
The Gray Hawk almost disappeared 15 years ago.
Again, we consider The Sonora Desert Museum a 5-Star/Must See attraction. You'll love it!
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!