Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson

4.8
#1 of 132 in Museums in Arizona
A combination zoo, botanic garden, and natural history museum, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum features over 3 km (2 mi) of walking paths crisscrossing nearly 9 hectares (21 acres) of desert landscapes. Home to more than 230 animal species and 1,200 varieties of plants, the museum focuses on the interpretation and presentation of the natural history and diverse plant and animal life of the Sonoran Desert. Often called "the lushest desert on earth," this region shelters a range of habitats benefiting from the desert's bi-seasonal rainfall. The museum gardens display the varied ecosystems of cacti, agaves, grasslands, and yucca, while the zoo area features wildlife ranging from coyotes, bears, and mountain lions to hummingbirds and rattlesnakes. Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Tucson using our trip planner.
Create an itinerary including Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
map
Places to stay near Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
7,218 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We thought that the venue was very representative of the climate, terrain and wildlife. Its hard for an Easterner to grasp the resilience of animals that survive/thrive? in this desolate, dry environm...  more »
  • A trip to the Desert Museum is a must when visiting Tucson! We were only able to spend a couple of hours, but honestly could have spent all day - there is that much to see and do. Great place for fami...  more »
  • This is a great place to view and learn about the desert. Plants, animals.. all of it. Partly a zoo, mostly educational, it is a great place to spend a day. Yes, a full day. Children too. We went in W...  more »
Google
  • The Arizona Sonora desert museum is an awesome place for everyone of all ages. I personally love to see the mountain lion and big horn sheep, along with the javelina and reptiles and cactus garden. The tortoise exhibit was closed today but they added a string ray exhibit near by. If possible I highly recommend the flight of the raptor show where you get to see live predatory birds in action. It's located near gates pass so catching an amazing sunset after is a must. Also being located near saguaro national park allows you to see the beautiful saguaro cactus which only grow outside of Tucson making it a only spot in the world viewing experience. Wonderful way to spend the day and see so much in a short time with minimal travel time!
  • I'm amazed at the number of 5 Star reviews this place has gotten. This may be the most unremarkable museum I've been to. Calling it a museum is a bit strange, actually. It consists of a few sparse, zoo-like exhibits interspersed by paths that are supposed to be the botanical areas. These areas are lined with the same vegetation you see everywhere. If you've looked outside of your car on I-10, you've seen what you will see here. If you've seen a cactus before, you've seen the majority of what this museum has to offer. The zoo areas are mildly interesting if you aren't familiar with desert wildlife. They have the usual rattlesnakes, foxes, bobcats, etc. If you've been to a zoo or wildlife exhibit in one of the 4 corners states, this definitely won't be worth your time or money. At over $20/person this place is a definite 'no'.
  • Love this place. Used to come here for field trips as a kid and err...a number of years later...it is still great. It is a unique place kind of a combined botanical garden, zoo, and natural museum. We were there for the birds of prey flight which was amazing, they fly literally inches from you and the staff is very knowledgeable and even after doing this probably many many times are still excited and passionate about the birds and the museum. So much to see here it could take more than a day, drink lots of water! We missed the restaurants but the coffee shop was open and I was so thankful they had a vegan wrap and coffee that was good. We ate and watched the sunset that was absolutely beautiful. Great place for kids, there are people to answer questions all over. Kids will enjoy looking for minerals that they can even keep at one if the geology exhibits. A little out of the way but so worth it!
  • Unbelievable. This place is highly underrated! It is expansive and there are constant discoveries and “Easter eggs” all over the place that keeps it new for even veteran visitors. The cave was incredible, and the displays with animals were designed to showcase the critters, not allow them to hide. The trails were wide and well maintained. Expect a lot of walking. Really beautiful views and astonishing displays. Staff is very helpful and excited to be there and share information. It is about $20 to get in, so plan to stay for a while - you would find it difficult to see everything in a day. There is a small coffee shop, but you can bring in food. I would highly recommend going.
  • The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a really awesome place. They have some well done exhibits and beautiful landscapes. I went very early on a Sunday and didn’t get to see some of the animals I wanted to see because the habitats were being cleaned, but it was okay cause I got to see a lot of other things. The volunteers were kind and knowledgeable. Don’t miss the cactus garden or the hummingbird aviary! Overall, it was a great experience and I definitely am going back.

Plan your trip to Tucson

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum by other users

12 days in Arizona BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Arizona BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 38 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, culture, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Tucson BY A USER FROM BANGLADESH October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Tucson BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in Arizona BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM BAHAMAS April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in Tucson BY A USER FROM INDIA December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Tucson & Phoenix BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM SWEDEN July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in Arizona BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA March, kids, popular PREFERENCES: March, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans