Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Activities Desert Style!

In case you have never been to the desert of Arizona let me share with you a bit of our natural rugged beauty.  My first trip to AZ was 15 years ago and I feel in love with it instantly. 

Our temperatures are starting to cool down but we still have some of the afternoon heat.  One of our favorite things to do is go on Nature trails and hikes.  Monday we decided to stay close to home and take an afternoon walk to collect things to make our Nature Pals.  This was a cute idea my daughter had to make people out of some of the items we find on our walk.  We will make these into ornaments that represent each of us and our beautiful land. 

Tuesday, we wanted to head over to another favorite destination in Tucson, the Sonora Desert Museum.  We have the Family Membership so it is a great play to get out and enjoy some fresh air, local animals, the wild on the lose finds, and much more. 

Today,  one of the beautiful treasures was the amount of butterfly's we found.  The place was covered in them everywhere you turn. 

We started our day over to the Ancient Arizona exhibit.  This is were you start by going down in to the cooling underground cave.  The kids get to see gyms, fossils, rocks, and more.
Michael loves all the dinosaur history, fossils, and information.  The kids could spend half their time in this part alone. 

Some of my favorites Opals and  turquoise. (Left)
On the right you see some of the stalagmites and cave rivers. 

Coming out of the cave we are in the paleontology dig site.  Here the kids can be paleontologist and work in the dirt to find fossils and treasures that lie beneath. 

They have a wonderful station, covered, that has treasurers under all the sand.  On the right the girls are working on the initial areas to find and identify whats on the sign above them.  The kids found all the items!!  

There is also two stations that are designed to let kids hammer and sweep away to find the fossils.  They found a coral fossil.  They recorded it in the book and got to take it home!  They all took turns sweeping and hammering to get it out carefully.  

Most of the Museum is all walking and trails, with natural animal habitat viewing.  While it is a sunny day, I like that they use plenty of plants and trees to provide beauty and shade.  

Then we headed over to the Butterfly Garden to see what was going on.  

 Here we saw a ton of Yellow, Black, Purple, Blue, and Orange Butterfly.  Unfortunately they always flew away before I could get close to get on my phone. 

The plants are always a neat find for me to see how they always use plants that you will find in Arizona.

In the B. Garden they had tons of great information on the life cycle and benefits of butterfly's.  

Next we headed over to the Hummingbird exhibit.  Today was wonderful because they really let us get up close and see they more. These beautiful birds are so delicate and sweet.  I could spend all day on one of the DM very comfy benches and just watch them all day.  

We decided to pass on the animal and just hike around.  We like to change it up and visit different sections when we come.  Here are a few of my pictures of the different ares on our walk.

 The desert has many types of cactus.  Some of the walking trails are paved and some are dirt like you see on the right.  I usually like to tell the kids to wear tennis shoes for hiking, but we knew we where going to be staying on the pavement trails today.  The desert view and walking through the upper left side of the park is a wonderful experience you do not want to miss.  It is a little more hiking though. 
These are a few of the lose and interesting critters we got to enjoy.  We always see some kind of lizards, sometimes snakes, rabbits, and squirrels.    This is a living museum, so you are always watching where you step. 

A few more views of our day.  I love the desert! 

 The sun was shining hard on the sign and it was hard not to get a glare.  You can spend an entire day walking the grounds and loops, seeing animals, bugs, birds, panoramic views, and so much more.  We go all the time and see something new.  In fact the kids wanted to back the very next day.  A big plus is that they have bathrooms and water stations all throughout the park.  They also have a top notch restaurant, ice-cream shops, vending machines, and coffee shops!  In the winter it's great to grab my complementary coffee, as a member, and walk the park.  While we have enjoyed the restaurant we like to bring in our packed lunches and have a picnic sometimes too.

What do we bring?
Hats, glasses, water, lotion, and our kids explorer stamp book!!  

Check them out on Facebook, where you will see more up close pictures of the animals. 


  1. Kelley I have to tell you how cool it is to see this post! Before my husband and I got married we visited my grandparents who live part of the year in Tucson. They took us to this museum! We loved it, I had never been to the desert and I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! We spent 3 days there and that's where we really decided our relationship was serious and not too long later we got married :D Also, the name of the road the museum is on is my husbands last name, Kinney!

  2. You came to visit my neck of the woods:)

  3. What beautiful pictures. This looks like such a fun time.

  4. I wish we had fun things like that to do here! That museum looks amazing!