According to Trip Advisor, the Arizona Desert Museum is the #1 rated attraction in Tucson. According to us, it was worth visiting for a third time. The environment, both flora and fauna, around here is unique and the museum displays it with such class and professionalism. The paid staff is supplemented by over 500 volunteers and the love from all these pairs of hands is clearly apparent.
The primary reason we visit the park is to view the raptor shows. These birds are kept in huge cages on a distant mountain and participate in the show if they want to. Food is the motivator, but the birds can leave the area altogether and permanently if they wish. Trainers armed with bits of fresh meat station themselves around the viewing area and the birds swoop in and take the food, sometimes right out of their hands. They fly so low, it can feel like you are getting a feathery hair cut. None of these birds were captured in the wild per se. They might have been injured or orphaned before they end up here. It is fun to watch their natural behaviors, especially the hawk that rode the thermals for fifteen minutes before she graced us with a visit.
Much of the park is wild desert, but areas close to buildings are landscaped with cactus that might not be found in the immediate area. There are also outdoor art pieces with a desert theme here and there. Overall, the desert here is far more green than midwesterners would expect when they hear the word "desert." The museum also houses some four legged creatures, reptiles, fish and other creatures that can be found here. For these creatures it is a zoo that doesn't feel like a zoo. Sometimes the animals are released if the staff feels they are better off on their own. No matter where we walked or looked, there was something interesting to observe and learn about.
And now it is time for this unsolicited commercial to come to an end.