Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson: Hours, Address, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Reviews: 5/5

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
5
Art Galleries • Speciality Museums • Natural History Museums
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7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Monday
7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Tuesday
7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Wednesday
7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Thursday
7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Friday
7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Saturday
7:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
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About
The renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is everything you could want in a Sonoran Desert adventure! Mostly outdoors and comprised of an AZA-accredited zoo, extensive botanical garden, two art galleries, and a natural history museum, the Desert Museum sits on 98 acres of pristine desert landscape. The Museum showcases the diverse flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert region (with over 55,000 plants!) featuring wildlife such as coyotes, javelinas, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep in naturalistic habitats. Bird lovers delight in visiting the Museum's two aviaries, one dedicated to hummingbirds! Kids love the interactive Packrat Playhouse and Stingray Touch exhibits, learning to appreciate our unique environment from a young age. The Museum's gift shops offer a bounty of books, jewelry, crafts, and more. This family-friendly establishment offers something for everyone!
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
8,768 reviews
Excellent
7,189
Very good
1,232
Average
250
Poor
66
Terrible
31

Valerie
El Paso, TX223 contributions
Mar 2022 • Family
Wonderfully done outdoor museum! We have 3 kids under 10 and they had a blast. We easily spent 3 hours here and didn’t finish the entire museum. Appreciated that there were various hand sanitization sites throughout as well as clean facilities dispersed nicely throughout the park (a must when visiting with kids!). It’s mostly a museum of bird watching and learning about desert vegetation, just an FYI because if you’re expecting to see lots of animals, this is not the place. The kids did enjoy the sting ray touch exhibit ($3 per person). It’s a great way to spend some time outdoors and the museum has some great photo opportunities.

One downside we experienced was the eatery. We arrived 5 min after opening to the eatery (it opens at 11) and we waited an hour for a 2 burgers, fries and 1 hotdog. Not too many orders before ours but felt the grill didn’t have the capacity to cook for large crowds. We noticed lunch rush diminished by 1230 so we’ll keep that in mind next visit.
Written March 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ToughRalph
Cleveland, OH179 contributions
Mar 2022
This was an absolute favorite during time in Tucson! I'd recommend this for day one - a great half day and it provides terrific overview of what you'll see in the Sonoran Desert.

Do the raptor (bird) show. It was a bit crowded, but very well done and excellent.

The displays are well done, including the wildlife and native plants.

Don't miss the underground section - snakes, insects, and others - it exceeded expectations.

Lunch was pretty hectic at the "quick serve" restaurant. Even on a weekday, it was crowded with multiple queues necessary. Next time, we would investigate if there is a good option to pack a lunch and avoid this lunch experience.
Written March 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

kevinsC5235NV
Des Moines, IA20 contributions
Feb 2021 • Family
My 12 year-old son and I went to the museum in late Feb 2021. Tickets required in an advance to balance crowd leveled and we went with the 8:30am start time. It was perfect. Weather was mid 40’s and very few people there when we arrived - felt like we had it to ourselves! Lots of plant life and beautiful grounds. Limited # of animals but we did see a wolf, a bobcat, a deer, some hummingbirds, a gila monster and some snakes. Low key and relaxing. Took us about two hours to view everything and walked about 2 miles or so. It was just great to set the electronics aside for a few hours and spend some time with my son. Would definitely recommend this.
Written February 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

carlotaTravel4fun
california522 contributions
Jan 2021
I'm sure during normal times this is a good day trip; however, the day we were there many of the things we were looking forward to experiencing were not available. The rapture show was not going on, or any other animal presentations. On a positive note, it was not very crowded so you didn't feel rushed or unable to see things because of too many people. There was a good variety of desert plants. The aquarium has some interesting displays. Some have mentioned the cost of entering...it was over $20 pp; however, I'm sure the cost to maintain and conserve this area is quite high. The discounts offered for different groups was not much. They recommend buying tickets on line as you can be denied entry without a reservation if they meet their daily capacity. If you do purchase your tickets at the site, they are not accepting cash payments. It was a good side trip, and I'm glad we went; however, I probably wouldn't go again.
Written January 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write a review! We are sorry to hear that you experience was less than what you had hoped for. We strive to give every guest a fantastic and informative experience, and unfortunately, as you noted, we are unable to provide some of our favorite guest experiences such as the Packrat Playhouse and the Raptor Free Flight show out of concern for our guests' safety. We hope you'll visit again in the future!
Written February 3, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Stacey S
Sandy Springs, GA186 contributions
Mar 2022
I have been to several "museums" like this, but this is the best one I have been too. Allocate at least 4 hours to see most of it and longer if you really want an immersive experience including presentations. It is very well organized with plenty of both hard and soft walking trails. There are several docents along the way to answer questions and they are quite engaging. We went in March and a lot was in bloom. There are stunning views and I would recommend bringing a camera that can zoom better than your phone, especially for the hummingbird exhibit which should not be missed. What was surprising to us we didn't expect live animal exhibits as well, but you can see the "cats" in Cat Canyon. The explanations provided along the way married with excellent plant signage really aid the experience. If there was one let down it was at the aviary where there just weren't very many birds, but in fairness, I was told by one of the regulars that even though the aviary is netted, hawks keep coming in and killing birds that get near the netting. What was surprising to us is the exhibits focusing on water life. There is a sit down restaurant where the menu was interesting, but it lacked in execution, such as over dressing the salads and bringing out a fried dish luke warm, but still it was a pleasant meal with nice staff. Next door there is a more common walk up and order option as well. Kids seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. Parking is free. Lastly, when you first get there skip the inside exhibits, they will be there when you are done, and do the stuff outside, especially if it is going to be warm that day. There are a lot of water stations and bathrooms scattered about the park
Written March 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marvin L
Tucson, AZ3 contributions
Nov 2020
A new activity at the Desert Museum is called "Avian Adventures" (it is the trainer's way of offering something to the public since the Raptor Free Flight is on hold due to the pandemic). It is an extra fee to sign up for the activity and is limited to six people.

The experience was incredible, and the trainers, Amanda, Julian, and Dan were informative, educational, and occasionally humorous. They told many stories of their work with the birds as our group closely interacted with a female Great Horned Owl named Snowshoe, a male Eurasian Eagle Owl named Klaus, and 4 Harris Hawks (my favorite is named Crazy Legs). Each person in our group was visited (and perched upon) twice by the Eagle Owl , along with multiple close flybys. Then the 4 Harris Hawks flew all around and amongst our group, while their wings would brush against our heads then land on very close branches and saguaros for photo and video opportunities.

The experience lasted well over an hour and was just spectacular! In my opinion, very well worth the extra expense. Thanks for a wonderful Thanksgiving day experience.
Written November 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We're so glad to hear you had such a wonderful time with our new program! Thank you for taking the time to write a review and share your experience with Avian Adventures.
Written December 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Linda R
Cottonwood Heights, Utah, United States126 contributions
Feb 2022
I don't think we knew what to expect..... a museum is only a part of what we saw here. The gardens were beautiful and the had animals on exhibit as well. It was worth the fee and made a great cloudy sprinkling day visit because there is enough indoor parts to get warm.
Written April 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

J&S
Grand Rapids, MI596 contributions
Nov 2021 • Couples
Disappointed in the museum. Everyone raves about it but most of the exhibits and verbiage are simplistic and geared to kids or adults who aren’t well read. If you’ve spent any time hiking in Arizona this museum is a waste of time and money.
Written November 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for visiting us and taking the time to write us a review. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on earned revenues and public donations to fulfill our mission to foster love, appreciation and understanding of the Sonoran Desert. We take pride in inspiring people to live in harmony with the natural world by maintaining a natural history museum, zoo, aquarium, botanical garden and art institute. Our complex operations are open every day of the year and cost nearly $30,000 per day for the care and feeding of the plants and animals, the utilities, cleaning, repair and maintenance of grounds and facilities, wages and benefits for our 140 staff members, as well as providing educational programming and critical conservation efforts. Thank you, again, for the feedback. We are sorry to hear that your experience was less than what you had hoped for. We strive to give every guest a fantastic and informative experience.
Written November 16, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pinevalleyite
Phoenix, AZ489 contributions
Apr 2022 • Couples
Living in Goodyear we decided to do an overnight to Tucson. This was our first stop of the day and we had done some research and knew it wasn’t a museum and it wasn’t a zoo so I felt our expectations were realistic. Some of the reviews here seem negative for not being what was expected.

Got there at 9:30 and no lines. We are AZ residents so with showing out IDs it was $22 each. We headed to the coffee shop for a pastry and coffee and map study, then we headed off. I have a travel wheelchair and we were able to do all the trails. We followed the main trail which was very easy to
follow all the way through and not backtrack.

We say all kinds of plants and desert animals including javelinas, a sleeping coyote, bobcat, big horned sheep, otter, beaver, and grey wolves. Their habitats were so natural and it was cool out so they were active. Loved the hummingbird exhibit snd the walk through aviary. Plenty of restrooms and water bottle fillets throughout the place.

We spent 4 hours there enjoying the desert life and shout out to the docents for expanding our education further!
Written April 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ZimplyZuperb
USA47 contributions
Dec 2021
It's a good thing the museum is mostly outdoors. The weather was perfect, and the scenery was gorgeous on the day we went in December. The museum is well laid out, with nice winding pathways and places to rest. We started the day with the raptor feeding show, and I highly recommend it. The great thing about the museum is that there's a bit of everything - animals, birds, aquarium, rocks and minerals, and of course a whole lot of desert plants. In addition to the ubiquitous saguaro, the cactus and agave gardens showcasing multiple varieties of each was great. The gift shop has plenty of options.

There were a few minor disappointments as well. Some of the enclosures were empty. The aviary, although huge and initially got us excited, didn't have as many birds as advertised. And the stingray enclosure wanted to charge us extra just to get in.

But overall, it was a great way to spend the day. If you're of the type that takes the time to read the information panels in front of most exhibits and take it slow, then give yourself a full day, otherwise 3-4 hours should be enough.
Written January 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is open:
  • Sun - Fri 7:30 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 7:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 2 Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum tours on Tripadvisor


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