A zoo, an aquarium, a botanical garden, an art gallery, and a natural history museum all in one?! This is educational travel destination paradise! Located on Kinney Road in Tucson, Arizona, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is the massively impressive desert region museum that provides it all for its guests, literally! There is a total of 98 natural history filled acres here, the entire establishment doing well to combine live animal exhibits with native geography and history demonstrations. This spot was first founded in 1952, today considered to be one of the top southwest region museums in the U.S. It should be known that about 85% of this museum is actually located outdoors, so you and your group will need to plan for the desert heat accordingly. Getting here in the early morning is great for both heat and animal viewings, several species being nocturnal, and the evenings are nice as well (explore ‘Cool Summer Nights’ activities).
Inside the boundaries of this massive exploratory acreage you will find more things to do than you ever imagined, so plan PLENTY of time here. Explore the Walk-In Aviary, Cactus Gardens, Cat Canyon, the desert Loop Trail, Pollination Garden, or the Riparian Corridor. There are complimentary docent-led tours given here, not to mention over two miles of trails filled with native Sonoran desert habitat, 16 different desert botanical gardens, and even a Cave Learning Center. Discover new desert knowledge in the Warden Oasis Theater, experience live animal interactions such as the Raptor Free Flight, see local cultural art pieces in the Ironwood Gallery, or even touch a stingray at the Warden Aquarium (all of these things on site). The tours will be especially handy for field trip/school groups, this establishment proudly utilizing the Museum Education Department, a resource giving core standards to PreK-12th Graders.
If you get hungry during your visit, which is highly likely with all there is to see and do here, head over to either of the two onsite restaurants, the coffee bar, or the ice cream shop. There are also two different onsite gift shops, each selling the finest native products, from home decor and jewelry to educational tools and books.