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Zoo and botanical garden combo
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was founded in 1952 to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert. * The museum is a mix of zoo and botanical garden over 21 acres including 230 animal species and 1200 types of plants. You will find an impressive regional mineral collection including 14,000 specimens and 2000 fossils. More recently a small aquarium was added along with an art gallery exhibit.
The Museum’s double name refers to the Mexican state of Sonora immediately south of Arizona and the relationship to share and exchange research and education programs with our neighbor. There are dozens of ways for children to interact with the museum, and you can achieve the status of “Honorary ASDM Animal Tracker” if you locate and stamp all 15 animal tracks at the stations across the Museum. The shaded Fossil Dig exhibit is particularly fun for kids to find dinosaur eggs, claw, footprint, and nose horn.
There are two miles of interlocking trails that weave through a natural desert environment and animals are kept as close to visitors as safely possible. Don’t miss the Hummingbird Aviary with eight species of hummingbirds and nectar plants that feed them. Of note the Museum does not sell water bottles,. However, they have a free cold water fountain at the entrance for refilling your water bottle.
Exhibit areas (from museum brochure):
Ironwood Terraces: food court, children’s menu
Ocotillo Café: fine dining, accepts reservations
Phoebe’s Coffee bar: snacks, coffee, ice cream
Cottonwood snack shop: soft service ice cream, hand scoop ice cream
* Reference: Official website www.desertmuseum.org
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