Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum near Tucson should be on every family’s must visit list. And it’s so much more than a typical museum! It’s part aquarium and zoo, part botanical gardens, part hiking trails, part aviary, part indoor playground – and then some!
We took a day trip with the grandparents to this museum, and were so impressed. You hear the word “museum” and “look but don’t touch” exhibits, or lots of plaques to read. This museum really should be called a hands-on experience of natural wonders! The kids were never bored, and learned so much about all things desert related. Who knew an area deprived of water could be so full of life!
There are about 20 stops along the well marked trails, each with their own theme. See reptiles of all shapes and sizes, or explore underground in a huge Kartchern Caverns look alike display. There’s an enclosed aviary, plus one for just hummingbirds; or learn about the aquatic animals of the rivers and Baja Peninsula. Take the desert trail for an easy hike with beautiful views! And don’t miss the raptor show, and amazing volunteers that often have reptiles on display, or fun ways to learn more about what you’re seeing.
When the kids need a break, there’s an EPIC indoor playground (and that’s not an exaggeration) – the kids did not want to leave this multi-level play space! There’s a cute toddler playground too. It’s really nice that while there is one main, paved path, there are side paths connecting all the areas so you can go back to a favorite, or skip around.
We 200% recommend visiting! Plan to spend the entire day, so you can take your time. Toddlers, school age kids, teens, adults, grandparents – all ages will love this place!
The museum is located at 2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743, and currently open 7 days a week, 8:30am-5pm. Admission is $30/adult, $20/child ages 3-12 (under 3 is free). Or opt for what we did, and pick up 2 free admissions at your local library, courtesy of the Culture Pass! (Ask a librarian for assistance.)
Strollers and wagons are welcome at the museum; outside food and drink is not permitted (water bottles are fine), and there are picnic ramadas located just outside of the museum. Food and drink are available for purchase at the on-site cafe or restaurant. There is free sunscreen available in the restrooms!
Remember, the majority of the desert museum is outdoors, so bring hats, sunglasses, and dress accordingly for the weather, which could be warm, or windy. Learn more on their website beside!