Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson

4.8
#1 of 201 in Museums in Arizona
A combination zoo, botanic garden, and natural history museum, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum features over 3 km (2 mi) of walking paths crisscrossing nearly 9 hectares (21 acres) of desert landscapes. Home to more than 230 animal species and 1,200 varieties of plants, the museum focuses on the interpretation and presentation of the natural history and diverse plant and animal life of the Sonoran Desert. Often called "the lushest desert on earth," this region shelters a range of habitats benefiting from the desert's bi-seasonal rainfall. The museum gardens display the varied ecosystems of cacti, agaves, grasslands, and yucca, while the zoo area features wildlife ranging from coyotes, bears, and mountain lions to hummingbirds and rattlesnakes. Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Tucson using our trip planner.
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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
7,218 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We thought that the venue was very representative of the climate, terrain and wildlife. Its hard for an Easterner to grasp the resilience of animals that survive/thrive? in this desolate, dry environm...  more »
  • A trip to the Desert Museum is a must when visiting Tucson! We were only able to spend a couple of hours, but honestly could have spent all day - there is that much to see and do. Great place for fami...  more »
  • This is a great place to view and learn about the desert. Plants, animals.. all of it. Partly a zoo, mostly educational, it is a great place to spend a day. Yes, a full day. Children too. We went in W...  more »
Google
  • It is incredibly beautiful, with amazing staff. My only caveat is that there are a couple places that aren't really safe for mobility devices, like the living underground exhibit, and they really need to leave them. My scooter died and cost a fair bit to repair after going down and trying to go back up the very steep ramps. Had I known it was steep, I would have just skipped that and saved several hundred dollars. However, the staff and volunteers were very very helpful and get both me and the dead scooter out and made sure I could get to our van and still enjoy the beautiful hummingbirds before we left. I highly recommend this place, is stunning, just be aware of the few places that aren't ADA, and don't go into any dark areas without checking for steep slopes!
  • I love visiting the museum. There is so much to see, and so much to learn. I spent a whole day walking the trails, taking pictures of the animals and the beautiful flowers. The desert museum is very popular, so anticipate crowds. It is important to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun, and they provide drinking fountains around the park to help patrons stay hydrated.
  • We made a return visit after being away for five years. It gets better every time we visit. There are volunteer guides able to answer your questions. The view is lovely, the restaurant served good food, and the staff is very helpful. There are paved paths for a part of the gardens and then gravel so handicapped folks might find it challenging. The hummingbird collection was fascinating.
  • Be sure to see the free flight raptor show. It's different every time, because the birds decide if they want to fly or not. There are metal railings that form cattle shutes. Be sure to enter the one on the far right or left and stand against the bar. The host will be on the right side, but the trainers are on both sides and the raptors will fly directly over your head. Check the website for showtime, it only happens once or twice a day depending on the time of year and you don't want to miss it because you got there late. Also do a free docent tour, they're excellent. Everywhere you go in Tuscon dedicated, passionate retirees volunteer their time to educate the visitors. It's amazing!
  • So beautiful! I went at 7:30 am just as the museum opened which I highly recommend. I walked through the park without seeing anyone else for the first hour, it was very peaceful. all the animals were active - I saw the bobcats pounce and wrestle each other (just like house cats!), the black bear roll around in his bathing pool, and the mountain lion slink around looking moody. The gardens were amazing, I never knew cactus could be so pretty. By the time I was leaving at 10:30 the entrance was very crowded with families and the whole park had a different feel than the peace and quiet from earlier in the morning.

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