Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

(Our southwest trip started May 1. All of my posts were written as the trip went along but were not posted live until we returned. If you want to read all the posts related to the trip, click on "southwest" in the label section below).

Very near the west part of Saguaro National Park is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. We went to the Saguaro National Park early in the day because we wanted to do some birdwatching. So we ended up at the Desert Museum mid-day. Not a smart move on our part.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is certainly not your typical old, stuffy building, full of old artifacts. It is way more than that. It is also a zoo and a botanical garden.

To fully take advantage of our visit we should have visited the web site first and learned about its daily demonstrations. For instance, at 7:30 a.m. there is a Bird Watch Tour (subject to docent availability, of course).

Most of the animal demonstrations were in the morning, the cooler part of the day. In the heat of the afternoon, when we were there, some animals could not be seen as they retreated to cool areas of their environment. And those we did see were sleeping out the heat of the day ... which if we were smart, we probably should have been doing.

However, in spite of all that, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit there. There is a lot to see and any visitor should allow several hours for a visit ... especially if it is a first visit. The trails and paths are very clearly laid out. There are signs with desert and animal facts and it is easy to do a self-guided tour throughout the grounds. There are two aviaries, one that is just hummingbirds plus several gardens throughout the museum. And, yes, there are some displays that are also inside.

With paths well laid out, with restrooms, water and shaded seating clearly marked on the self-guiding map, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is definitely worth a few hours of your time. (Can you see the bird nesting inside the saguaro?)

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