Having a Blast at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!


How do you entertain your three-year old grandson during the middle of a pandemic in Tucson, Arizona? The option we recently selected was a morning trip to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  Located in the southwest part of the city, this zoo/museum/aquarium has been delighting guests since 1952. Having been a visitor at ASDM myself since 1975, I was excited to have our grandson experience this magical place for himself.

We set off on a crisp January morning and before even entering the museum, we encountered the charming coyote pictured below. He meandered around the parking lot and seemed unfazed by us humans. Once he disappeared into the prickly brush, we made our way inside already excited about our outdoor adventure.


Our grandson wasted no time running from exhibit to exhibit searching for creatures. Since the air was cool, almost chilly, many animals were out and readily visible. A mountain lion, mountain goat, and rock squirrel prowled, climbed, and basked respectively. The museum was relatively quiet (likely due to the cooler temps and COVID) and we were able to see all the critters up close without obstruction.


Several hours flew by as we continued to discover the wide variety of desert animal and plants throughout the winding paths of the museum. We spent over 30 minutes at the Stingray Touch exhibit mesmerized by the graceful dance of these sea creatures within their shallow pool. While we couldn’t touch the captivating fish due to the pandemic,  our grandson smiled up at us each time a ray would glide past and “wave” at him.


As we wound our way through the grounds, our grandson decided to hitch a ride in his stroller and rest. Luckily for grandma, most of the property has paved walkways which makes pushing a stroller, wheelchair, or walker relatively easy.

As lunchtime approached, we knew we had to stop at one last place before heading for home…the Hummingbird Aviary. We entered the enclosure and a pair of little hummers whizzed by quarrelling and chattering as they passed. Brilliant green, ruby red, and burnt orange were just a few of the colors we noted on these amazing birds. It was a special treat while there to spy a female gathering materials to line her tiny nest.

Completely tuckered out, our grandson climbed back into his stroller and we headed for the exit. The little guy was asleep before we hit the end of the parking lot. Later, when reunited with his parents, he talked on and on about all he had seen that morning. I think it is safe to say that our family’s tradition of enjoying the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will carry forward to this next generation.