More than a zoo: Our Desert Museum

Monday, in celebration of my dad’s 80th birthday, we spent the day exploring the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  It was a beautiful day and although not all of the animals were out and about, we were able to enjoy many of the animals, birds, plants and butterflies.

We enjoyed a fabulous lunch outside at the Ocotillo Cafe, under a partially cloudy sky with light winds and a just a few bees buzzing to keep things interesting.

The Desert Museum was opened in 1952 and today, according to their website:

…the Museum’s living animal collection contains 4,892 specimens of 242 species. Plants number 56,000 specimens of 1,200 taxa; mineral and fossil collections include 16,853 specimens. Represented in the living collections are 110 to 120 species considered to be of conservation concern.


Lunch included fresh local ingredients, with southwestern flair.  Different and delicious! Dessert included grilled angel food cake with pineapple and prickly pear syrup.

Most of the animals were sleeping, but we were able to hunt them down and find them in the shadows.  Because many of the animals are out in their natural environment, finding them is part of the fun!  Can you see all of the animals below?

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The springtime is the best, when virtually every plant, weed, and cactus will flower.  Especially if we get good rains in the fall and winter. However, I believe if you look closely, you can always find some interesting and beautiful plants.

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I was disappointed in the number of birds in the aviaries. I heard that sometimes one of the aviaries will contain injured birds.  This one bird appeared to have only one leg, however, upon closer examination, I believe I see some bird toes curled up under his left side. 😊


I was surprised to see this cardinal out in the wild, and he allowed me to take several pictures.  Doesn’t the photo below remind you of a Christmas card?


There were not many hummingbirds in their aviary, and the sun was not bright, but I got just a few photos, see below:

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This was my favorite of all the animals, the young Ocelot. 
Such beautiful sweet eyes!


Young Ocelot

Towards the end of our time at the museum, we happened upon a small flower garden full of beautiful butterflies.  I will share them in a follow up post soon.

It was simply a wonderful day with family.  Not to be soon forgotten.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful images! I love Arizona sooo much. It may end up being my home part of the year. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You will have to let me know if that ever happens. I bet I will still be here! The sunny days keep me happy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! For sure!!! It will be in the next few years – so excited for the next chapter.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheree says:

    Fabulous photos from what I am sure was a wonderful day out. I visited Arizona a few years ago and loved all its flora and fauna, though I didn’t visit this particular museum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We have some amazing flowers in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Irene says:

    So beautiful! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was such a nice day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Naomi says:

    Wonderful post, and a very special day with family!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww, you’re welcome! Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. lolaWi says:

    thanks for sharing, Lisa. such a beautiful world! 🙂


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