Thursday, January 15, 2015


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 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 setting is lovely.
Sonora Desert Museum

Beautiful trails.
Sonora desert

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.

These guys stole the show. They are called Garden Eels. They disappear straight down in the sand and then grow back up. What a hoot.
Garden eels

Male tarantula

This guy climbed high on the tree to pose for us. Notice the tongue.mountain lion

Javelina are not pigs. They look similar, but pigs are from the "Old World" and Javelinas are "New World" animals.


Mexican wolf
Mexican wolf

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!
Barn owl

 The male Harris's Hawks put on an excellent show.Harris Hawk

The female Harris Hawk is much bigger. Look closely at those huge talons.Harris Hawk

The Gray Hawk almost disappeared 15 years ago. Gray Hawk

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!


  1. We missed that on our last trip. Thanks for the summary. A definite bucket list stop.

  2. We agree with you 100% on the Desert Museum. We've been there two times and plan on going again before we hit the road again.

    You are going to have a lot of company this weekend at the Fairgrounds with La Mesa having a big RV show there. Actually, they bring out a couple hundred RVs about once a month in the winter. Go over and get your free coke and hotdog or hamburger. Be careful you don't fall in love with a new unit.

    Have you tried Sabino Canyon or driven up to Summerhaven on Mt. Lemmon? Sabino Canyon has nice walking trails and Mt. Lemmon takes you up to the tree line and through different terrain and ecological changes in short order.

  3. Love to see the places you visit, Marsha. Thanks for sharing all of your great photos.

  4. We loved the Desert Museum and have even put it back on our list of places to visit when we head to Tucson next month.

  5. We so enjoyed this place. We had a wonderful docent that lead a tour. We learned so much about the plant life. It is so nicely done and we really felt like we were in the natural surroundings. Glad you had a great time. I would recommend the museum, also.

  6. Another place to visit on our next trip through the area, thanks for the tip.

  7. yep we simply love that museum...

  8. We are thinking of Az for next winter. Certainly will be going back for a 2nd visit. Don't remember those eels.

  9. I agree, one of the best museums.

  10. Totally agree, this is a must see. We so enjoyed our visit 2 years ago. Great photos and who'd a thought 'fog in the desert'?

  11. oh wow. . .this is going on the list for sure.

    Seems a lot like a wonderful Desert Zoo we visited in New Mexico years ago. . .like 30 years ago. Thinking we would love this one equally. . .thanks!

  12. I agree that it is one of the best museums in the country. I missed going there again this October. Maybe next year.

  13. We loved it too. We went with friends the first time and got in for free. Thought about it this year but thought for a second visit the price was too high.

  14. Your right, lots to see in the area.

  15. We loved this museum and have been a few times. The raptor show was one of our favorites but I would love to see that barn owl.


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