Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tucson: Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

We spent a week in Tuscan enjoying nice weather, great scenery and some really good food.  This area offers a lot to see and do and we certainly could find ourselves in the future spending a lot more time here..way more than a week. We managed to fit in a drive on the Mt. Lemmon Scenic Highway  through the beautiful Willow Canyon and we explored the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the Saguaro National Park.  We also experienced some excellent authentic Mexican cuisine and a casino visit too.
Below is a photo-blog of our day at the fabulous Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.  We can understand why folks buy museum memberships here, you get multiple visits.  We would certainly go back to revisit this educational and quite fascinating place again.  It's voted the number one thing to do while visiting Tucson.

Even the entrance evokes the desert and it's quiet, serene feel.

Most interesting to us here was this hermit crab with a clear, Lucite shell.  You could see how it's body fits inside the shell.  Way cool!

Of course, there are cactus everywhere, of all kinds and species.  I didn't even try to remember all the names of them, I just enjoyed their shape and variety of textures.  A Saguaro Cactus reminds me of clay sculpture people with their hands up, saying "Look at me!" or students in class with their hands raised "Call on me, I know the answer!"  There are paved and dirt paths that wind throughout the museum's open air gardens with animal exhibits evenly spaced to provide an experience of wondering through the desert and then coming upon a special sight.

More cactus gardens, these are called Organ Pipe Cactus.

These sculptural ones are called Totem Pole Cactus.

There were butterfly gardens, bee pollination gardens and a labyrinth garden.

One of the most fascinating exhibits to us was the Raptor Free Flight Demonstration.  Here, raptors and their handlers demonstrate the birds' natural behaviors of flight and prey. These birds fly untethered in the open desert.  They associate their handlers as their food source so this deters them from flying anywhere else. This was no doubt a highlight of our day at the Desert Museum. 
A Gray's Hawk caught in motion.
Harris Hawks fly in groups, here you see the handler rewarding the bird with food.
Barn Owl of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
A close up of the Harris Hawk.

We were really looking forward to the Hummingbird Aviary.  I think this is a Rufus Hummer.

Snakes and Spiders ahead

One of the last exhibits we visited was the Reptile, Invertebrates and Amphibians Building.  Here's a few photos of the animals that caught my attention.

Canyon Tree Frog, well camouflaged.

Arizona Blond Tarantula
See it's shed skin too!

One of the many rattlesnakes on display. This particular one was slithering right at the glass window, you could see every detail in it's face.

So many animals and so may cactus.. yet so little time.  We plan to come back to Tucson again one day and this museum will be on our re-visit list.

More later, the Saguaro National Park.
( heads up..more cactus)

1 comment:

  1. We are having a quiet thanksgiving day, I cooked a 13 lb turkey and it is now resting on the counter, just the two of us. My kids making their own turkey day, we will see all of them on the xmas holidays. I hope you will find thanksgiving dinner somewhere, we are thinking of you on this grateful holiday, that we met and continue to be in touch. Joel and Esta