I could hardly recommend the Sonoran Desert Museum more … but be smarter than us and get there as soon as they open at 8:30am, and remember to bring your water bottle (drinking water is plentiful throughout the museum, both water fountains and bottle filling stations, and you will most certainly need it!)
We took the scenic rather than highway route out to the museum.
Lizards in the flowers to begin….
The little ones are Western and Sonoran Spotted Whiptails, and the big one is definitely an iguana.
Coues White-tailed Deer
We’ve seen these before, a subspecies of the White-tailed Deer unique to the Sky Islands of the Sonoran Desert.
On the advice of a couple docents, we hustled out first to the Desert Trail, where only the occasional ramada offers a big of shade from the full onslaught of the desert sun.
Javelina and Antelope Ground Squirrels
Organ Pipe Cactus and Joshua Trees
These don’t grow in the Sonoran Desert, but the museum created mini-biomes from deserts across the Southwest at various points along the way. Organ Pipe Cactus grows west of us at and over the border of New Mexico, and Joshua Trees are a California desert treasure.
Bobcat, Rock Squirrel, Gray Fox, Ocelot
Next time I go, I’ll budget more time to wander in the cactus garden, which was full of a splendiferous variety of cacti from around the world, and plenty of birds and bees enjoying them, too.
Bird and Hummingbird Enclosures
For the recently emerging birder in me, this was a particular highlight of the morning.
All-in-all, a pretty fantastic morning, and a place I could go back to again and again!