Every now and then we have to take a day off from bicycling to check out some of the other things to see and do around the Tucson area. Friday we drove over to the far west side of the city (a surprisingly long drive from where we're staying in the east side) to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. This combination museum, botanical garden, zoo, and aviary is the top-ranked (of 173!) attractions in Tucson by Tripadvisor. We weren't the only ones to have the same idea as the museum was quite busy, but possibly a bit less crowded than it would have been on a weekend. It was a fun, interesting, and educational way to spend a beautiful day.
From the trails running all over the outside areas of the museum, there were breathtaking views to the west of the desert and mountains beyond.
There were quite a few indoor exhibits, including this beautiful cave.
Down in the cave, I got to try on some long-eared bat ears. Yes, I am probably the only non-child to do this, but who cares -- it was fun!
Although we didn't make it to the huge gem and mineral show here in the city, there was a nice selection of gems and minerals to check out here as well. This is just one of several nice display cabinets.
Back outdoors, I loved this whimsical treehouse made from mesquite logs. And of course the views were to die for.
Naturally there was a large variety of different cacti to see here. Forgive me, but I didn't pay attention to the names, just enjoyed looking.
There were many large enclosures with natural environments for wildlife. Some were hiding or sleeping so we couldn't get good photos, but the javelinas were moving about.
This large iguana was sunning himself up high on a rock. Reminded us of the many we saw while living in Belize.
There was a pair of bighorn sheep in an enclosure -- here's the nice-looking male.
There were some pretty flowers in some of the different gardens, and I imagine there will be even more things in bloom later. Since we understand that it's been a very dry period here, I wonder how much prettier the plants would have been at a wetter time of year.
This cactus is going to be gorgeous when it's in full bloom -- it was just starting to bud out.
Some of the plants attracted hummingbirds, butterflies, and/or bees or wasps.
Here we are in front of the bee garden area. Not a great shot but the best we could do with our self-timer and trying to work fast before someone else came into the garden.
Of course, one of the main reasons we came to the museum was to see birds, and that we did. Cactus Wrens, the state bird of Arizona, were everywhere.
There was even a nesting pair right next to the trail!
In addition to many free-flying birds throughout the outdoor museum, there was a large aviary. Here are some of the birds we saw inside its gates.
Probably my very favorite exhibit of the entire museum was the Hummingbird aviary. So many hummingbirds zooming around was delightful, and we saw a nesting Anna's very close up. She wasn't budging from her nest, even as people took her photo. She proved to be extremely photogenic, don't you agree?
We also saw many male and female Anna's and Costa's Hummingbirds. A treat indeed!
After a long time spent at the museum followed by a long drive back to the east side of town, we were ready for an easy dinner, and this takeout chicken, green chili, and tomato pizza filled the bill. Yum!
Stay tuned for more Tucson adventures!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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