Nighttime is the right time for families at the Desert Museum
Some desert dwellers like it hot, but many of the animals at Tucson’s Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum are much like us and prefer to lay low during the day when temperatures hover around the 100-degree mark.
That’s one reason why the Summer Saturday Night program has been so successful over the past 12 years. Another is because scorpions look really cool under a black light.
The Desert Museum still offers many popular programs during day. Some take place outside, like a docent-led daily bird walk that begins daily at 7:30 a.m. You can see others happening in the cool Warden Oasis Theater, like “Running Wild,” which is live-animal demonstration that combines natural behaviors of small desert animals with projected images, music and narration. But, there’s nothing quite like spending a night on the museum’s grounds.
The docents and volunteers also do presentations throughout the night on Saturdays, and many times these presentations inavolve creepy crawlies like rattlesnakes and scorpions. Others have you discovering the night sky and sounds.
Some exhibits and areas, including the desert loop trail, close early during the evening to allow the animals to sleep, but the big and small cats are usually up and on the prowl, which always delights the littlest museum visitors.
When you visit the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum on Saturday night you’re in for a totally different experience than you have during the day. The animals are more active, bats frequently fly overhead and there’s a reduced entrance fee. After 4 p.m. admission is only $7 for adults, $3 for ages 6 through 12 and anyone younger than 6 gets in free. The museum is open until 10 p.m., but the last admission is accepted at 9:15. Both of the gift shops, the two restaurants, the coffee shop, snack bar and art gallery keep late hours on Saturdays. Call 520-883-2702 for more information or visit desertmuseum.org. Also, check at the front gate for announcements of special nightly events that entertain and educate the entire family.
Special note: On August 13 the Desert Museum presents Sky Hunters at the Warden Oasis Theater from 7 to 7:30 p.m. and 8 to 8:30 p.m. It’s aimed towards families and showcases the behaviors of birds such as hawks, owls and falcons that are native to the Sonoran Desert. Visit the museum’s website for a full list of special Saturday night events.
Thursday Nights Are Batty
Throughout August, docents from the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum can be found at “Bat Bridge,” located at the intersection of River and Campbell in Tucson from 7:15 to 8:00 p.m. They’ll have bat detectors and other hands-on materials to help educate families on the Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the bridge. Enjoy the sunset and the rush of bats as they emerge from their roost to feed on their insect prey.