Desert Delight

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!)

Gates Pass

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.

Desert Trail

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.

Cactus Wren

Bobcat, Rock Squirrel, Gray Fox, Ocelot

Cactus Garden

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.

Arizona Wetlands

Desert Bighorn

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!

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