We found a museum that we love so much that we’ve managed to go there twice now. It’s in Tucson, Arizona, a few thousand miles away from Wisconsin. When the months get colder here (and do they ever!!), we’ve found Arizona to be an ideal retreat from winter.
During such a cold day back home, I took some time to organize our pictures from our recent visit with kids to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.
Here it is so well described on their website:
The 98 acre Desert Museum is a fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.
And it’s almost ALL outside, giving us “snowbirds” the chance to savor the sunshine.
We started off in the aquarium area, where we learned about the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California. Surprisingly, this body of water is considered part of the Sonaran Desert Region. We enjoyed talking with docents around the touch pool, seeing and touching some echinoderms (sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins) hermit crabs, and other creatures found in the tide pool. My kids especially like the one that “pooped out” its stomach as a defense mechanism.
After that we were outside, greeted by this view:
View near the entrance of the Desert Museum
We moved along to the Earth Science exhibits, including walking through caves and learning about the history of the region. There were also great activities for the kids: they could pick their own rocks and “sweep” the sand away to reveal fossils.
Beautiful rocks and “digging” for dinosaur bones.
Next we meandered along the paths to see all of the exhibit areas that are grouped by habitat types you find in the Sonoran Desert. Here are a few of our favorite animals that we saw:
Rattlesnake, roadrunner, javelina snoozing, bobcats
After lunch in the food court (a better choice with kids instead of the sit down restaurant), we wound around the trails to see the Raptor Free Flight. We’ve seen raptor flights before, but it was so cool to see them fly directly overhead and watch how the Harris’s Hawks flew together in a team.
Harris’s Hawks and Barn Owl show their stuff at the flight demonstration.
And we sure love the desert views.
So much to photograph! From top: cactus garden, red rocks, and kids running on the groomed paths. Bottom: love the colors of this panorama
Near the end of our visit, we ventured into the Hummingbird Aviary. These birds are simply mesmerizing, zipping around so quickly and stopping to drink nectar. My point and shoot camera could barely capture the hummingbirds in flight! Luckily, I managed to get this shot:
My best picture in the hummingbird exhibit
Earlier in the morning at the Desert Museum, Daddy O. and I posed for this picture, and I think it just about sums up our reaction to spending almost the entire day here: big grins that spread ear to ear, so happy to be outside and sharing this awesome museum with family.
Daddy and Mama O in the Desert
I’d highly recommend a visit to Tucson to see the amazing Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!