Preface: I am catching up on my delinquent blogging for the last 2 weeks, so forgive the outdated updates on our travels.
We received tickets to the Desert Museum from my parents before we left for our trip. It was about a 45 minute drive from the place we were courtesy parking so we got up early, packed a lunch, and headed to the west side of Tucson. We had heard that it was mostly outside so bring water, hats, and good walking shoes. But what kind of museum is outdoors?
Before we even got in the gate, there was a falcon presentation. This one was meticulously preening itself while we watched. Ever since seeing the movie RIO, Silas has been consumed with birds, so this was right up his alley.
This desert museum has been around for 60 years. All of the staff that we encountered were knowledgeable and friendly. The grounds were immaculate and the landscaping was so interesting. Both Troy and I came to independent conclusions that we never knew there was so much variety in vegetation in the desert. We were seeing it in the winter, so I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the spring. The hummingbird display would have been interesting if we didn't already enjoy summers full of hummers back home. My mom has created an oasis for them at our farm in Missouri so we see several dozen flying around the feeders at any one time. However, they all migrate south in the winter to this area, so I've been told. (Kind of like a small family flock I know.)
There was a show at 12:15pm that presented 2 poisonous animals native to the desert. We learned about and saw a live Gila Monster and Rattlesnake. After the lecture, we were invited to come up to the front to get a closer look at both of them. We highly recommend this presentation...well, all of us except Morgan. She was more concerned about whose lap she wanted to sit in. The rest of us learned that the Gila Monster bite is like a bulldog. Once it latches on, it stays on for up to 20 minutes. Their poison is in the tips of their teeth, so they keep injecting you with poison while they chomp down. We thought we were safe from rattlesnakes this time of year in Arizona, but that's not the case. Rattlers come out in the mid-day heat to get warm in the winter, so it was an eye opener for us to be more careful on our hikes about where we let the kids go. No more running ahead of us.
One of the highlights of this trip was seeing a roadrunner. The kids were bummed ever since we arrived in Arizona that they hadn't seen one, yet. Then Silas spotted one next to our truck while we were eating lunch. The kids were extremely quiet and watched him run around looking for food. Silas' famous quote after the bird ran away was, "I didn't know that roadrunners ran on roads!"
The cave exhibit was a favorite. Silas and Morgan were bats for Halloween last year, so wearing the bat ears was the best part.
We spent a long time at the microscope display that projected what you were seeing onto a TV screen. Ants, scorpions, gems, and centipedes were all examined repeatedly. They eventually learned how to zoom first, then focus.
The mountain lion exhibit was one of my favorites simply because he was right up near the glass. We could look straight into his eyes and try to figure out what he was looking at. The keeper told us he was stalking the baby in the carrier behind us. Apparently he does that regularly when infants are around. Yikes!
The last stop of the day was at the aquarium. It was all pretty normal stuff until we got to the garden eels. We couldn't stop watching. All of us were intrigued by watching them "grow" out of the sand and all face the same direction until the fish swam overhead. That's when they would "un-grow" and disappear back into the sand. They were all different colors and simply fascinating.
The Desert Museum was definitely worth the trip. We loved the exhibits and the weather was perfect for a walk through the desert. As we were leaving the area, we noticed an old western-looking town. After a quick drive through we discovered that it was Old Tucson - a movie and tv set for quite a few famous titles like Little House on the Prairie, Tombstone, and The Lone Ranger. It was getting ready to close, but I think I will put this place on our bucket list for the next time we are in the area.
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