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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743, USA
+1 520-883-1380
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Making Eye Contact Tucson Arizona United States
Face-to-face, But Safe Tucson Arizona United States
Spring in the Sonoran Desert Tucson Arizona United States
Up Close at the Raptor-Free-Flight Tucson Arizona United States
Wildlife museum Tucson Arizona United States
Far More Than a Museum Tucson Arizona United States
Making Eye Contact Tucson Arizona United States
Face-to-face, But Safe Tucson Arizona United States
Spring in the Sonoran Desert Tucson Arizona United States
Up Close at the Raptor-Free-Flight Tucson Arizona United States
Wildlife museum Tucson Arizona United States
Far More Than a Museum Tucson Arizona United States

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Sun - Sat 8:30am - 5pm

Face-to-face, But Safe

Mountain Lion. Cougar. Puma. Panther. Any way you call it, it's majestic but fear-inspiring...

At the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, on the western edge of Tucson, you can get face-to-face with one of these massive felines; their well-designed habitat includes a high den with a thick glass window. If your timing is right, a catnap will have just ended, and you'll be studied closely.

"Desert Museum" might seem like a misnomer. Part botanical garden, part zoo, and part, yes, museum, it's been ranked one of the best in the world. The habitats are well thought-out, and you get a true feel for the flora and fauna of the lush Sonora desert, which straddles the US-Mexico border: from the Sea of Cortez to the mountains, from subtropical coast to saguaros that get the occasional dusting of snow...

More Recommendations

AFAR Local Expert
over 4 years ago

Spring in the Sonoran Desert

Southern Arizona is one of the world's birdwatching meccas, and the hummingbird aviary of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum just west of Tucson is amazing in the spring. My in-laws, my wife and I spent the better part of an afternoon marveling at the diminutive creatures. Inside this impossibly small nest we saw a couple of ten-day-old Costa hummingbirds. Then their mother came back and their eyes opened—snack time!

The museum is open at night on Saturday's during the summer, and has a number of different exhibits based on ecosystem, as well as an aquarium as of January 2013.
AFAR Local Expert
over 4 years ago

Making Eye Contact

Sightings of these big cats in the mountains around Tucson are common enough, but getting THIS close to a mountain lion is sobering...

The mountain lion habitat at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, just west of the city, includes a thick-glass window up behind one of the den areas. This cat was snoozing in the afternoon sun when suddenly she lifted and turned, looking me straight in the eye.
AFAR Local Expert
over 4 years ago

Up Close at the Raptor-Free-Flight

Untethered and in the open, soaring and diving in their natural environment, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, from mid-October through mid-April, you can get up close to desert birds of prey at the Raptor-Free-Flight. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, just west of Tucson, is home to one of the most spectacular and accessible avian demonstrations in the U.S.

The docents' instructions are specific: DO NOT raise your arms in the air suddenly as the birds swoop down, and do not let small children sit on your shoulders during the free-flight. The raptors can fly so low that you literally feel the wind from their feathers...

The photo above shows a Ferruginous Hawk. Other native birds you'll likely encounter: Peregrine Falcons, Barn Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Great Horned Owls, Prairie Falcons, Chihuahuan Ravens, and Harris's Hawks--one of only two raptor species that hunt in family groups--think of a pack of aerial wolves...

The Desert Museum, adjacent to Saguaro National Park, is one of the best zoos/botanical gardens of its kind in the world. Don't forget the sunscreen...but if you do, the restrooms are all equipped with dispensers...
over 4 years ago

Wildlife museum

What the guys at Arizona Sonora desert museum have done is amazing. You forget you are in a museum and get to experience up close coyotes, havalinas, mountain lions and a lot more among the giant Sahuaros.
about 3 years ago

Far More Than a Museum

I went to college in Tucson and visit often to see family and friends. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is one place I always try to visit when I'm in town. It is a beautiful setting and a chance to see many of these animals in as close to a natural habitat as most of us are going to get. I took this picture of a barn owl while it was sitting on the arm of keeper three feet in front of me. Never got that close to any of the cats but close enough.