The site of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson used to be underwater. When the water and swamps retreated, a rugged landscape was left behind. The caves filled with fossils, dinosaur bones resting in the rocks, and petrified mud still clinging to ancient hillsides make up what we call today the Sonoran Desert.
This sunswept landscape is the backdrop of the desert museum that seeks to educate visitors about the Sonoran Desert by way of an immersive desert experience. That means that most of the museum is actually in the desert, meaning an outdoor desert loop that is part zoo, part botanical garden and part educational experience.
A nature hike along the Arizona museum’s Desert Loop Trail is a hike through an outdoor educational campus. It is an opportunity to view coyotes and javelinas in their natural environment, to wander through the desert gardens and the walk-in bird aviary, and to cool off in a cave with a sloth skeleton.
Schedule a visit to the desert museum around the Raptor Free Flight, an outdoor exhibition with birds of prey who spread their wings and fly untethered.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum & the Desert Loop Trail:
Location: Located at 2021 North Kinney Road in Tucson inside the Saguaro National Park
Time: Two hours for the loop. Three hours if you plan to watch the Raptor Free Flight exhibition. Check the Desert Museum website for schedule. Winter shows are twice a day and spring shows are once a day.
Tip: Wear your walking shoes!
Fun Fact: Eighty-five percent of the Tucson Desert Museum is outside
Price: General admission is $21.95
Bonus: Located in the Saguaro National Park, you can visit the museum and then get your National Parks Passport stamp just down the street!
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