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 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 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 own 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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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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