Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

On my last day in Tucson, I got to visit the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, which turned out to be my favourite part of the trip. So many magical moments. It wasn't like the museums in Ottawa - most of the Desert Museum was outdoors, in the desert! These are things you can do when you don't have to deal with snow storms for what feels like half the year.

This is a museum?

To be clear, the Desert Museum is more than a museum: it's walking trails, botanical gardens, zoo, and, of course, gift shops.

I loved getting a chance to see the animals - I had never even heard of some of them before.
A coati, hanging out on his own

Alan! Alan! Alan! Steve?

There was a coyote that seemed to be posing for an artist that happened to be painting there.

Magical moments with coyotes

They had a cute little home for bees, which was pretty cool, if you like bees and aren't terrified of being swarmed by Africanized bees like I am.

There was a really cool special exhibit where you could pet stingrays.  Usually I don't care for petting zoos, or, for that matter, animals that have killed the Crocodile Hunter, but these were baby stingrays that had their stingers filed down, and these ones loved being stroked by friendly hands. You would just stand at the side of the pool and the babies would swim right up to you and snuggle their bellies over your fingers for a little rub, just as though they were house cats.

The museum also featured a wide variety of colourful birds that live in the area....

...including raptor birds of prey that would fly so close over your head, you could feel the wind from their wings on your face. It was incredible!

This owl had the cutest hoot

The museum also featured a cool venomous reptile show, where we got to meet a Gila monster and a diamondback rattlesnake....from a safe distance, of course.  I'm thankful that this was my only encounter with rattlesnakes in Tucson, considering that this is the rattlesnake capital of the United States.

Look, a monster!
Rattlesnake, ssssaying hi

Trying out my Parseltongue

enjoying the desert view with my agave bowl lunch

In the end, there was just not enough time for me to see all of the things there were to see there. I'd highly recommend spending the whole day if one has time.

I did make sure to go on the desert trail loop, which was full of gorgeous views of the desert landcape...and also cactus plants. Lots of those. They're pretty cool to look at, but pretty serious to get pricked by. I found out the hard way when I accidentally walked into one while I was trying to take a selfie. Those cactus needles are pretty painful. They stuck right through my jeans and into my skin. Pretty tricky to take out. Now I know: always carry tweezers when walking in the desert.

selfie was still totally worth it, cactus or not