Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is seriously one of the most amazing museums we’ve ever seen!  The layout is unique and it’s interesting to all who walk through the gates.  It was refreshing to see how much fun the kids were having while still learning.  The boys tend to get bored easily, but they were captivated the entire time by the variety of nature shown in this 98-acre museum!

This is not your typical zoo, or aquarium or botanical garden or natural history museum or art gallery… well, you get the idea. 

Exhibits range from Grasslands, caves, woodlands, rivers and water conservation, the formation of the Arizona desert, minerals, dinosaurs, and lots of animal habitats.

This place is huge!

One of our favorite things is the hummingbird aviary pavilion.

We’ve visited several times and have been impressed with how well they maintain the facilities.  There are clean restrooms, classrooms, a cafeteria, and many indoor exhibits to keep you out of the harsh Arizona sun.  Please remember to cover up and bring sunscreen.

The geological exhibit and the animals were a hit in our family!  Rebecca was so excited to bring home “a rock” and a trilobite.  Justin and Parker enjoyed looking for all of the animals discussed on the plaques.  The staff was so friendly and explained things on the kids’ level.  Plus, they were willing to answer the thousands of questions the boys asked.  They seemed to be knowledgeable and passionate about their jobs. Katie, Brian, and I found the cactus gardens interesting and enlightening.  I had no idea there were that many uses or species of cacti!  The hummingbird exhibit is super awesome too!  There are demonstrations and interactions with the animals throughout the day.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is located about thirty minutes west of Tucson.  It’s about $20 per person for ages 13-64, $8 for kids ages 3-12, and there’s discounts for seniors, military, and residents.  Their hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with slight variations on Saturdays and winter.  Summer days can be brutal so get there as early as possible.  There are two gift shops, a cafe, and food court as well as a picnic area at the main entrance.   There are restrooms and water fountains/ water refill stations placed sporadically throughout the museum.

Some paths are gravel so strollers and wheelchairs might be difficult to maneuver.  However, all exhibits are accessible. They do offer wheelchairs and strollers (first come first serve basis)  free of charge or electric scooters for a fee.   Some areas even have stairs so be mindful of those areas.  There is a good bit of walking involved but TOTALLY worth it!

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is on the Tucson Passport so check out their website at  For more information on the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum or if you are trying to plan a visit, go to their website at  

This museum is one of our all-time favorites.

More To Do in the Area

There’s so much to do in the Tuscon area.  Be sure to see our posts about other fun family-friendly stuff in the area, besides Arizona Sonora Desert Museum there’s, the Pima Air and Space Museum, Biosphere 2, Kitt Peak , Titan Missile Museum, San Xavier Mission, and nearby (kinda) Tombstone, AZ.

Map of our favorite things in the Tucson Area:

Here are more photos from our adventure: