The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was one of my favorite spots to visit while living in Vail, Arizona. This place combines a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden and a history museum on 21 acres of land in the Sonoran Desert. I made a point to visit once each month and was always pleased to find new blooms and active animals.
Points of Interest
Mountain Lion – while I was living in Arizona, there were two adult mountain lions at the Desert Museum. Both have since retired and a mountain lion cub that was found in San Jose, California was recently adopted. Historically, the Desert Museum adopts orphaned mountain lions that are not suitable for release into the wild.
Desert Loop Trail – this half mile trail takes you out into the desert, away from the exhibits, for a more rugged experience. The trail is a bit bumpy and uphill on the way back. That being said, this is a great trail for coming across javelina and coyotes. The trail is within the perimeter of the Desert Museum; all animals are in large enclosures.
Cactus Garden – I love visiting the cactus garden when the large, vibrant flowers are blooming. My favorite months for this garden are April, May and June.
Hummingbirds – my favorite stop in the entire Desert Museum! The hummingbird enclosure is small, but perfect. The hummingbirds zip around quickly, occasionally stopping long enough for a quick photograph.
Coyote Pause Cafe – most of my visits were early in the morning to beat the heat. Morning visits also allowed for perfect timing to have lunch at the Coyote Pause Cafe. They are open daily from 7:30 am-2:30 pm. The burgers are delicious!
Ocotillo Cafe Restaurant – located at the Desert Museum, this cafe is quite convenient. They have a seasonal summer and winter schedule.
If you ever find yourself in Tucson, Arizona, I highly recommend spending a morning at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!