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All you need to Know to Visit the Sonora Desert Museum

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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.

Visiting the Sonoran Desert Museum is a perfect way to gain the educational experience of a museum while staying outside!

Video: Visiting the Sonoran Desert Museum

An Overview of the Sonoran Desert Museum and the Desert Loop Trail

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 woman inside the caves at the Sonoran Desert Museum
Viewing a cave at the Sonoran Desert Museum

A nature hike along the Sonoran Desert 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. 

Quick Facts About the Sonoran Desert Museum & the Desert Loop Trail:

Address of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum:

The Desert Museum is located: at 2021 North Kinney Road in Tucson inside the Saguaro National Park 

The Time it Takes to Visit the Sonoran Desert Museum:

Two hours for the loop. Three hours if you plan to watch the Raptor Free Flight exhibition. Check the Desert Museum website for the schedule. Winter shows are twice a day and spring shows are once a day.

Tips for Visiting the Sonoran Desert Museum:

Wear your walking shoes! This is an outdoor experience that could even be called a “hike”.

Get a map and chat with the friendly rangers at the entrance. They can direct you to exactly what you want to see.

Bring water.

Fun Fact about the Sonoran Desert Museum:

Eighty-five percent of the Tucson Desert Museum is outside

Price for the Sonoran Desert Museum:

General admission is $21.95

Essential Hiking Survival Kit Sign-In

Bonus Places to See When Visiting the Sonoran Desert Museum:

Located in the Saguaro National Park, you can visit the museum and then get your National Parks Passport stamp just down the street!

About the Author

Hi! I’m Jen!

I’m a freelance writer and travel blogger who quit my nine-to-five after my fiancé, Jeff, died of cancer at the age of 40. When he died, I realized that life is just too short to delay our dreams. Since my dream was to travel and write, I now travel and write full-time. Today I wear hiking boots instead of heels and collect experiences instead of things.

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