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Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tucson, Arizona
Birding Around Las Vegas, Favorite Places Far Away

 
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
ASDM Entrance (view southwest).

Overview

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-class zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum focused on the desert region encompassing the U.S. state of Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora.

For birders, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum combines wild birds and display birds, including free flight, aviary, and tethered species, and while you can't put them on your life list, they are a delight to see close-up. Some of the wild birds are habituated to the presence of humans, providing close-up views of wild birds too.

Link to Map.

Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Inside the main entrance looking out (view north)

Description

The museum grounds combine native desert plants, botanical gardens, and naturalistic animal enclosures that, with irrigation and drinking water for the animals, attract many species of wild birds. The grounds are so good for bird watching that museum volunteers even lead bird walks.

There are about 2 miles of paths on the 21 acres of museum ground, much of which is paved and fully accessible. While birding the grounds, also learn about and enjoy the presence of 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants.

The museum is active in the conservation and preservation of endangered and threatened species, providing habitat for some 20 endangered or threatened native species and hundreds of rare species. Several sensitive species are out where the public can see them, including Mexican Wolves, various species of fish, Isla San Esteban Chuckwalla, and Thick Billed Parrots.

Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Barn Owl on the hand out front

For birders, the main aviary and the hummingbird aviary (both walk-in) are must-see places. Even if you can't put them on your life list, the aviaries provide great places to sit quietly and watch the antics of birds you may never see elsewhere -- or at least not so close-up. Be sure to spend some time sitting and watching; the longer you sit, the more you will see.

Also for birders, the twice-daily free-flight shows are grand demonstrations of the flight abilities of Harris Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, Gray Hawks, Great Horned Owls, and Chihuahan Ravens.

While walking the grounds, the calls of Thick Billed Parrots will draw your attention to their edge of the museum.

Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Botanical Garden

Location

The ASDM is located on the west side of Tucson, within city limits (2021 North Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ 85743) and adjacent to Saguaro National Park. Link to Google Maps.

From Tucson, drive west on Speedway Blvd or Ajo Way to Kinney Road. Turn right onto Kinney and follow it to the museum. In a motor home or if towing a trailer, avoid the steep, narrow Speedway Blvd. Driving from Las Vegas, we exit I-10 onto Mariana Road, and then drive south on Sanders and Sandario roads, thereby avoiding the traffic of downtown Tucson.

Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Naturalistic animal enclosures

Amenities

Tucson has everything you might need. Close-by camping can be found at Tucson Mountain County Park in the Gilbert Ray Campground, which is also a great place to bird.

Inside the museum, they have a restaurant, cafe, and snack shops. Water is available from many drinking fountains.

Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Harris Hawk on the wing

Hours

Day use except for special events. Check the daily schedule, but generally 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM during winter and 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM during the rest of the year. On Saturday evenings during summer, the grounds are open until 10:00 PM.

Fees

Entrance to the Museum is about $20 per day for adults; children are less. Check the fee table for pricing details. Families should consider a $75 1-year Family Membership.

Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Gilbert Ray Campground

Specialties

Too many to list!

For More Information

See the ASDM website for additional information, or give them a call at 520.883.2702.

Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Hummingbird Aviary Bird
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Wild Bird
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Bird on exhibit
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Wild birds at the cafe
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Aviary Bird
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Free-flight Bird
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Aviary Bird
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Aviary Bird
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Free-flight demonstration
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Aviary Bird
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Mammal on exhibit
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Mammal on exhibit
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Fish on exhibit
Birding the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Gila Monster during reptile demonstration
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Jim and Liz just inside the entrance; looking out
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Male Northern Cardinal in an old agave
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Broad-billed Hummingbird inside an aviary
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Great Horned Owl in free-flight show
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Lowland Leopard Frog
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Harris' Hawk in free-flight show
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Female Coati
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Cactus Wren atop a cactus
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Have you ever wondered why you don't see Mountain Lions in the wild? This one is hiding behind a few stalks of grass.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Beaver. Even with these beady little eyes, beavers are really good at finding Vine Maple trees to cut down and eat.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The museum works to protect several species of endangered fish
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Wild moth
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Saguaro cactus and rocky mountains outside the museum
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Liz in our campsite at Gilbert Ray Campground
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Our campsite in Gilbert Ray Campground
more to come ...

 
Happy birding!
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
 
Thanks for coming to visit!
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140108

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