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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Vacation Travel Guide

Encounter wolves, rattlesnakes, coyotes, bighorn sheep and rare plant species at this living museum in the desert.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a zoo, botanical garden and natural history museum that showcases the flora and fauna of southern Arizona and the Sonoran Desert. More than 200 animal species and 1,200 plant types grow or live in simulations of natural habitats.

Walk along 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of pathways that meander through 21 acres (8.5 hectares) of desert landscapes. Take the Desert Loop Trail to see coyotes, javelinas and lizards in their spacious enclosures. These enclosures are surrounded by fences that are almost invisible to the naked eye, making it feel like you are in a wide, open desert space with nothing between you and the animals.

Go to Cat Canyon where bobcats, gray foxes, ocelots and porcupines live in naturalistic grotto settings. Venture sub-surface for the Life Underground exhibit to see how animals such as kangaroo rats and kit foxes survive when the desert is too hot for them. Walk into the Earth Sciences Center, an artificial cave with chambers, arches and a 75-foot (23-meter) tunnel to explore. See the permanent mineral collection and learn about cave geology and the animals that live in these cool, dark spaces.

One of the museum’s highlights is Raptor Free Flight, a daily bird-of-prey demonstration from mid-October through mid-April. Hawks, falcons, ravens and other species fly untethered in the open desert. These flight demonstrations focus on how the birds behave in the wild.

To find out more about the museum’s animals and plants join one of the interpretive tours. They are offered several times during the day and are included with the ticket price. Alternatively, ask questions of the volunteer guides as you make your way around.

The museum is open daily. Most visitors spend at least half a day here. Many of the exhibits are outside so bring sunscreen, hats and bottled water with you. Admission prices vary by the season. For up-to-date information on charges, visit the museum’s official website.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is 16 miles (26 kilometers) west of downtown Tucson. On-site parking is free. There is no public transportation access to the museum.

Top things to do in Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Top Hotels Close to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Casa Tierra Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
Casa Tierra Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
3 out of 5
11155 W Calle Pima, Tucson, AZ
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Situated in a national park, this bed & breakfast is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Tucson Mountain Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of Saguaro National Park and Arizona-Sonora ...

4.9/5Exceptional! (15 reviews)
B & B with Desert Tranquillity

"A quiet and remote B&B with just 2 other rooms for guests. A nice patio with chiminea and you can see ALL the stars at night. Like, all of them. A great lonely dirt road to walk through the desert at sunrise and sunset. Close to the national park. The innkeeper made breakfasts that were delicious. ..."…"

Reviewed on Jan. 24, 2020

Casa Tierra Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
Saguaro Desert Oasis Home Mountain Views
Saguaro Desert Oasis Home Mountain Views
Tucson, AZ
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Situated in the mountains, this romantic vacation home is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from Saguaro National Park and 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Tucson Mountain Park. Sus Picnic ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (43 reviews)

"We like pretty much everything about the property, especially the fact that it was a little bit out of town, good privacy quiet neighborhood. Well-stocked and well-maintained"…"

Reviewed on Feb. 27, 2021

Saguaro Desert Oasis Home Mountain Views
Panoramic City views that will sweep you off your feet!
Panoramic City views that will sweep you off your feet!
Tucson, AZ
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Situated on a river, this romantic vacation home is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Saguaro National Park and within 6 mi (10 km) of Sweetwater Preserve and Christopher ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (9 reviews)
Tucson Thanksgiving 2020

"We enjoyed our Thanksgiving “quarantine” in sunny Tucson and just loved being so close to the hills. It was quiet and the sunrise from the porch was stunning each morning. We took advantage of our proximity to Mt. Wassan and climbed to the summit one of our days. We had our groceries delivered and ..."…"

Reviewed on Dec. 12, 2020

Panoramic City views that will sweep you off your feet!
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Best Lodging Options Near Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Casa Tierra Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
Casa Tierra Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
3 out of 5
11155 W Calle Pima, Tucson, AZ
Casa Tierra Adobe Bed & Breakfast Inn
Saguaro Desert Oasis Home Mountain Views
Saguaro Desert Oasis Home Mountain Views
Tucson, AZ
Saguaro Desert Oasis Home Mountain Views
Panoramic City views that will sweep you off your feet!
Panoramic City views that will sweep you off your feet!
Tucson, AZ
Panoramic City views that will sweep you off your feet!
'esperanza' - Quaint Tucson Home W/hot Tub & Patio
'esperanza' - Quaint Tucson Home W/hot Tub & Patio
Tucson, AZ
'esperanza' - Quaint Tucson Home W/hot Tub & Patio
'El Diamante' Mtn-view Casita W/private Jacuzzi!
'El Diamante' Mtn-view Casita W/private Jacuzzi!
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'El Diamante' Mtn-view Casita W/private Jacuzzi!
'La Roca' - Tucson Casita w/ Mtn View on 10 Acres!
'La Roca' - Tucson Casita w/ Mtn View on 10 Acres!
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'La Roca' - Tucson Casita w/ Mtn View on 10 Acres!
Sanitized Tucson Natural Must-see 5 Br Home/ Arizona Venture
Sanitized Tucson Natural Must-see 5 Br Home/ Arizona Venture
Tucson, AZ
Sanitized Tucson Natural Must-see 5 Br Home/ Arizona Venture
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Desert Escape, Very Private And Peaceful, Spectacular Views
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Desert Escape, Very Private And Peaceful, Spectacular Views
Sahuaro Ranch Hideaway
Sahuaro Ranch Hideaway
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Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.