The Arizona – Sonora Desert Museum was the surprise hit of our trip to Tucson. We didn’t have any plans to visit it but a friend suggested it since we had some extra time. We were only there for an hour and a half but it was definitely worth it. I thought it was going to be a typical museum in a building filled with rooms of exhibits but that was not the case here! The best way I can think to describe it is a zoo in the desert.
The museum consisted of paved and dirt paths winding through the various exhibits. The landscape in general was gorgeous, every two seconds I would stop to try to take a picture!
Our first stop was at the Hummingbird Aviary. There were so many hummingbirds flying around our heads, perching on trees and eating from feeders. There were signs to help you identify the different type of humming birds and to tell you which types are more prevalent in which seasons. And if you see the scorpions don’t worry, they’re fake! They are there to scare the hummingbirds away from grates and areas that would be harmful for them to get into.
Our next stop was at the underwater viewing area for sea otters and beavers. We weren’t able to spot the beaver but the sea otter saw us through the glass and came right on over wanting to play and show off! We were able to see our furry friend again from above so he could show off some more!
An instant hit was the Cat Canyon. There was an ocelot, two bobcats and a porcupine. There were 3 different viewing areas for each exhibit. We were able to see the ocelot sunbathing from above, through a simple wire fence on ground level and a glass observation area. The bobcats were a little more active strutting around their enclosure coming right up close to the wire and glass viewing areas.
The last thing we had time for was the Cactus Garden. Who knew there were so many types of cacti?! My personal favorite was the Teddy Bear Cholla. It ranged from 3-5 ft tall and looked cute enough to cuddle! (please don’t cuddle the cactus…)
If are able to go again we will definitely give ourselves more time because we were only able to see about half of the museum! In addition to what we saw, there is a half mile long desert trail, a reptile/invertebrates/amphibians area, some dessert grassland animals to view and more. If you’re planning a visit, I’d recommend giving yourself half the day to make sure you can see everything!
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