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Visiting Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

by Katie Skrzek

Apr 14, 2023

© Katie Skzrek

Destinations / North America

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, offers family travelers a unique museum experience. The museum is a zoo, aquarium, natural history museum, botanical garden and art gallery, all in one space.


Located in Pima County, the museum was founded in 1952 and features 2 miles of walking trails across 21 acres of desert landscape. The majority of the museum (85 percent) is outside, so be prepared with sunscreen and good walking shoes. The museum focuses on the natural history, plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert and is home to more than 230 animal species and 1,200 varieties of plants.



© Katie Skrzek

While there is plenty to see and explore on your own, the museum also hosts several guided experiences. There is a stingray touch, where visitors get an up-close experience with stingrays. The Live Animal Theater Program is an informal 25–30-minute animal presentation led by staff animal keepers. The Raptor Free Flight is a unique bird experience where visitors have the opportunity to witness local birds in flight overhead.


The museum is home to two restaurants, The Ironwood Terraces Restaurant and Phoebe’s Café, both open daily.


Open year-round, museum hours vary by season. General admission costs $29.95, senior tickets cost $27.95 and youth (ages 3–12) tickets cost $19.95. Admission for children under age 3 is complimentary. Additional ticket discounts are available for active and retired military ($27.95) and Arizona residents ($24.95).


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