Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

This museum is located in Tucson, where we are now parked. The picture above was taken from the museum's vista ramada looking out over the Aver Valley. Off in the distance are the Tucson Mountains. The park is a zoo as welI as a natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place. I believe that today we learned everything that could possibly be known about the plant and animal species of the Sonora Desert region- an area encompassing parts of Arizona and California and four Mexican states. The museum has done an excellent job in recreating a variety of biospheres for the animals. We saw river otters swimming in the riparian corridor, beavers sleeping in their dens, rattlesnakes tucked under rock ledges, and prairie dogs burrowing in their desert grassland. There is a 1/2-mile loop desert walk where we saw javelina foraging for food as well as one coyote who was laying out on a rock enjoying the sun.
 There is also a very realistic man-made cave set up as an earth science center. A wide variety of cactus, plants and trees can be found in the three gardens of the park. There is a desert and cactus garden, also a pollination garden. Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies were everywhere. Blow is a Costa's Hummingbird.
  For our return trip home we drove over Gates Pass road which took us through Tuscon Park, a very scenic drive. Saguaro cactuses fill the mountainsides almost up to their peaks.

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