Tucson Desert Museum
Rattlesnakes and lizards were expected at the Tucson Desert Museum but Manta Rays in the desert?
The Museum was founded in 1952 and is dedicated to interpreting the bi-national Sonoran Desert region. The Desert Museum came highly recommended to us, but, truthfully, we were disappointed. Now, children would love this place with live animal shows, raptors, gems, fossils, paleontology exhibits and more.
We thought the entrance fee ($19.95 per senior) was very high-even with a military discount of $17.95. We visited for the Hummingbird Aviary but there weren’t many birds there the day we went. When we visited, temperatures were already soaring above 100 degrees. That may have played a role in our disappointment. At 11:00 a.m. (when we visited), the animals were already in hiding from the heat or asleep.
The Desert Museum is primarily live exhibits and has visitors follow a 2-mile trail on over 97 acres. The plant and animal collections include about 20 endangered or threatened native species and hundreds of rare species.
What we DID love? The Manta Rays! Who knew that these guys are the brainiest of all fish! They have highly developed areas for learning, problem solving and communicating. They are also playful as we found out.
The Manta Rays at the Desert Museum have had their stingers removed and they love people! Studies have shown that they may recognize people and definitely recognize colors. The experts at the Manta Ray exhibit said they all wear turquoise and the Mantas know they are there and cruise up for food.
Stu loved these guys and he got lots of love back!