15 February 2014

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

15 Feb 2014--Yesterday we went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  This is not your traditional "museum", but a combination zoo/aquarium/botanical garden...all outside in the Sonora desert.  It is ranked by "tripadvisor.com" as one of the 10 best museums in the world, and after spending 6 hours there, we can truthfully say that we loved it.

There are 2 miles of trail/walkways as you go through the displays, and you are looking at scenes like these the whole time.  250 million years ago this whole area was underwater, including where we are standing...now it is a desert.

Here is a cave with stalagmites, toad and the extinct Giant Shasta Ground Sloth remains, and mummified bats.

Some of the different types of rocks found in Arizona...I thought Emily would love to look at these.

Just walking along.

Some of the birds/animals on display.  The 1st is the American kestrel, the most common hawk in the US, followed by the Mexican Wolf, a Roadrunner, Cathy (haha), my all-time favorites the prairie dogs, an Ocelot and then the Grey Fox.


They had a bird show, using all rescue birds in their natural environment, that was really up close and personal.  These 1st are of the Grey Falcon.

The totally cool Ghost Owl.

And then the Harris Hawks I showed yesterday.  They had 5 of them flying around in a pack.  Blow up the last pic here and see how close he came to us.  And the underneath pattern of his wings is cool in the 2nd pic, too.

A little desert humor on the t-shirts.

We hadn't seen this tree before.  It is called a Boojum Cirio and is really weird looking.

The very colorful Mescal Bean tree.

And displays of what some of the cacti look like when they bloom.  I would love to be here in the May/June time-frame to see what this area looks like when all this happens.

Some of the birds we saw.

And this was the best-of-the-best!!!!  We started and ended our day in the Hummingbird Aviary. Incredible experience!  They are so beautiful, and they fly and hover so close to you it is almost a little unnerving.  I was standing by a young woman who had sunglasses on, and as she stood there a Hummingbird came in and crashed into her sunglasses.  Most incredibly, check out the last 3 pictures. The baby Hummingbird just left its nest for the 1st time that morning, and hung around on a branch waiting for her mother to feed her.  I was incredibly lucky that as I was taking her picture her mother flew into the frame for about 15 seconds and I was able to get them together.

Did you know that most Hummingbirds weigh no more than a penny?  That their heart beats over 1200 times a minute? That their eggs are the size of a navy bean?  Or if you had the same energy needs as them you would have to consume 300 lbs of wood and 150 gallons of water every day?  No wonder they're zipping around everywhere so fast!

And for a closing change of pace, a beautiful butterfly!

So this was the place we were hoping to see the day before.  You could spend your whole day in the Hummingbird Aviary and never see anything else here and have a great day, so everything else was just adding ice cream to the cake.  More than a pleasant surprise, and a great day!!!


  1. Love you in the bat ears !!! The hawks are beautiful. The under side of the wing span looks like an Indian print on a blanket maybe. The birds are gorgeous. I love the t'shirts. Smart messages. It is hard to fathom that rocks can be such beautiful colors and designs. Our rocks are just ugly brown.
    Happy to hear you had another happy adventure.

  2. Paula
    I am impressed with your pictures of birds. I was even starting to get upset. Every time I go to take a picture of a bird it takes off and I have a picture of a tree. Then I made myself feel better and convinced myself that you don't have a job and have way more time than me. One day when I retire, in my eighties, I will get the hang of It. Hope you're still with us.

  3. You know what's funny? I don't think I was ever particularly fascinated with either birds or flowers, but for some reason I really love taking pictures of both...not only am I finding them very pretty in my old age, but the challenge of getting the birds before they take off and to get the flowers in focus I totally love!!!

  4. Very nice! But who knew there where trees out there we have never heard of????

    1. I know...or even that there were so many different kinds of cactus? What surprises me with this blog is that no one mentioned all the beautiful hummingbirds we shot...especially the 2 with the baby bird in them...I am fascinated by them, but I guess not everyone else is! haha