Wednesday, February 22, 2012 (Catalina State Park, Tucson, AZ)

We arrived at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum shortly after 10:00 a.m. and the parking lot was already quite full...along with a few school buses.  Lots of people were visiting the museum on this beautiful sunny day.

We paid our entrance fee and after a quick stop at the restrooms, we were ready to start our day at the museum...which is really a big outdoor zoo. 

Our first stop was the Reptiles & Invertebrates Exhibit...lizards, snakes, scorpions and tarantulas all safely tucked behind glass...

After stopping at the Vista Ramada & Overlook, we continued onto the Earth Sciences Centre.  A limestone cave, complete with stalagmites, stalactites, pools, and crayfish, this exhibit explains the formation of caves and of the earth itself.

There is also a collection of regional minerals and gemstones.

When we had finished in the Earth Sciences Centre, we carried on the path through the Mountain Woodland and Desert Grassland sections.  We saw mountain lions...


...Bighorn Sheep...

 a sleepy black bear...

...a whitetail deer...

...Mexican wolf...

...and even Prairie Dogs...

We followed the main path that loops around to the restaurants, theatres and gallery...there is a ‘Live & Loose’ presentation at the theatre at 12:15 that we thought we would go to.  It was very interesting...there was a Gila Monster and a Rattlesnake that were brought out...we learned all about both...as the two employees handled both animals with long “snake-hooks”.  Both were very poisonous.

The presentation was over at 1:00...time for lunch...along with everyone else that left the theatre.  We had to eat our lunch quickly because we had to make our way down to the Raptor Free Flight area by 2:00...a “must see” demonstration where the birds fly and swoop close to the crowds.

The raptors for today’s demonstration were wild Harris’s Hawks although they act like they have been trained...very cool...



After the demonstration, we walked the Desert Loop Trail...we managed to see a couple of Javelina’s...but the coyotes were illusive....

We finished the loops and headed back on the main path to catch a few final exhibits as we headed towards the entrance/exit.  I loved the Hummingbird Aviary...you are able to walk freely among several species of native hummingbirds...very cool...

It was almost 3:30 by the time we had finished our visit at the Desert Museum...a long day and a lot of walking! 

As usual, lots and lots of pictures were taken...I only selected a few to post here...so if you are interested in seeing all pictures we took, just click here...  Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ - Feb22, 2012

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