Set in the arid landscape just outside Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum showcases the desert’s flora, fauna, and history through live-animal and multimedia exhibits. The museum spreads across 98 acres (39.7 hectares) of natural desert landscape and contains more than 230 species of animals and 1,200 kinds of plants.
Explore the Sonoran Desert via the museum’s walk-in aviary, hummingbird enclosure, desert botanical garden, stingray touch pool, and other wildlife-themed attractions. You can also walk through two miles (3.2 kilometers) of trails, enjoy periodic birds-of-prey demonstrations, and watch presentations about the area’s venomous creatures. The museum also houses an art gallery that showcases local and national artists, as well as a publishing company that produces books and guidebooks for adults and children.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is ideal for families and natural history fans.
- Children can explore and act like desert creatures in the Packrat Playhouse, a simulated desert environment.
- The museum has two restaurants, a coffee bar, and an ice cream shop. The garden also contains two small picnic areas for visitors who bring their own food.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, which are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis.
How to Get There
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is located on North Kinney Road in Tucson, just south of Saguaro National Park. Public transportation is limited and free parking is available on site, so it’s a good idea to arrive by car.
When to Get There
The museum and gardens are open year-round, but from April through October it’s wise to avoid hours of peak heat. From May through September, the Cool Summer Nights program offers extended hours on Saturday nights. Plan to spend at least two hours exploring the museum and surrounding gardens.
Conservation at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Sonoran Desert boasts the greatest variety of plants and animals of any desert in the world, and is also the only place where saguaro cacti are found. The Desert Museum is dedicated to the area’s conservation and works on projects to control invasive grasses and protect pollinator species, among other efforts.