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  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

    ASDM This world-class attraction immerses you in the diverse beauty of the Sonoran Desert, showcasing the plants, animals and geology of this fascinating region. Housing not only a museum, but also a zoo and botanical garden, it is a truly unique place to find the out of the ordinary. Meeting facilities are nestled in the beautiful desert setting with gourmet catering available.

    For more information, call (520) 883-2702,
    or go to the website at: desertmuseum.org

    Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ 85743

    The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is not an ordinary zoo. Nor is it an everyday botanical garden. And it's definitely not your run of the mill museum. So what is it?

    The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place! For a half-century the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has enchanted millions of visitors with its exhibits of live animals in astonishingly natural settings, while intriguing and instructing them with fascinating educational programs. At the same time, the Museum has gained a worldwide repute in the scientific community as an institution committed to researching and protecting the land, plants, and the animals of the Sonoran Desert region.

    The mission of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert. Exhibits re-create the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert Region so realistically you find yourself eye-to-eye with mountain lions, prairie dogs, Gila monsters, and more. Within the Museum grounds, you will see more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants. There are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert. 

    One of the museum's newest exhibits is Stingray Touch. Although the Sonoran Desert may be known for its dry climate, the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) and the stingrays that flow through it are critically important and the important and the primary reason the Sonoran Desert has been named one of the 10 most beautiful deserts in the world and the "lushest desert on earth." Visitors can interact with cow nose stingrays that are regularly debarbed, a process compared with trimming a fingernail. This provides a comfortable environment for guests to interact with these captivating creatures. 

    Located just fourteen miles west of Tucson on 21 acres of the Sonoran Desert, it is the home to over 2,700 native animals, 1,200 types of flora and fauna and 14,000 rock and mineral specimens, and is the nation's leading outdoor living museum. Enclosed behind Invisinet", a special mesh that is strong and safe, but still transparent so that photos may be taken, magnificent mountain lions, javelinas and bighorn lambs run wild in their natural habitats. In addition to the larger mammals, the scaly, six-legged, and counterpart seeking shelter from the desert sun can also be found in settings of their own in a unique cutaway exhibit, called Life Underground.

    Started in 1952, by William H. Carr and Arthur N. Pack, the Museum is also home to the Coati Exhibit which features an ensemble of creatures hunting for food in a recreation of the remarkable Sycamore Canyon located on the Arizona-Mexico border, truly earning it's place in the world's Top Ten Zoological Sites. At certain times of the year, birds of prey can be seen in the Raptor Free Flight Program, living in the wild, and birds can be seen only inches away in the Walk-in Aviary all year round. While many people think that the desert is all cacti and dirt, the Desert Museum proves them wrong with their Desert Grassland exhibit, featuring prairie dogs, and Riparian Corridor with underwater beavers and otters. In the Hummingbird Aviary, an eternal buzz and whir of activity surrounds visitors as these tiny birds busy themselves with chores.

    Much more than a museum, the Earth Sciences Center is a desert cave containing one of the largest collections of breathtaking gems and minerals to be found in a single area. Vivid pollinator gardens attract butterflies almost year round, constantly providing a feast for the eyes. All of this is set against a desert landscape backdrop littered with cacti of all shapes and sizes, including the unusual boojum.

    The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has several docents and volunteers to provide information and answer questions, so that visitors don't leave having just seen things, but having learned things too. This is truly a Museum whose name is deceiving for what it actually is: a zoo, a botanical garden and a museum rolled into one.


    The Museum offers a variety of places to eat, from merely grabbing some java, to a full meal. In addition, two gift shops offer a variety of souvenirs, natural history books and native artifacts. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a private, non-profit organization and is financed by admissions, memberships and contributions. The admission rates vary per season so please be sure to visit their website. Group rates are available. Visa, MC, Travelers Checks, personal checks with a guarantee card and cash are accepted.

    All guests, including members, must reserve tickets in advance.

    Attractions in Pima County are open with capacity limits. For the best experience call ahead before visiting and ask about current guidelines and precautions.

    Note that masks are required in Pima County public spaces.

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    Attractions and Tourism

    Diane Frisch, Director

    (520) 724-7355

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