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Frequently Asked Questions
about the Desert Museum

What is the Desert Museum?
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place. The Museum offers interpretive displays of living animals and plants native to the Sonoran Desert -- an arid region encompassing parts of Arizona and California in the United States and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.
How long has the Desert Museum been around?
Opening day for the Desert Museum was Monday, September 1, 1952 (Labor Day).
How many people work at the Desert Museum?
On opening day the Desert Museum had 4 employees. Today it has more than 100 paid employees, nearly 200 docents and close to 300 other volunteers.
How many people visit the Desert Museum?
On a typical spring day the Desert Museum welcomes 2,500 visitors and 200 school children. Annual visitation has been around 460,000.
Can I see any endangered animals at the Desert Museum?
Yes, threatened and endangered species on exhibit at the Desert Museum include: Mexican wolf, thick-billed parrot, ocelot, margay, jaguarundi, desert pupfish, Sonora chub, bonytail chub, razorback sucker, Gila topminnow, Colorado River squawfish, Isla San Esteban chuckwalla and Apache trout.
What are the smallest and largest animals at the Desert Museum?
Smallest: leafcutter ants. Largest: American black bear.
What's the oldest animal you have at the Museum?
The oldest non-living animal is the Sonorasaurus dinosaur dating from the Cretaceous.
Have any of the animals at the Desert Museum ever escaped?
There have been a few escapes over the years. Probably the most famous was a "beaver breakout" which took place a number of years ago. One night, the beavers left their pond, waddled through the bighorn enclosure and escaped into the desert. The next morning Museum people followed their tracks, which headed west and before long stopped near a set of coyote tracks. Swirling beavertail prints in the sand showed how the beavers had made an about-face and headed back to the safety of their pond. They never attempted another escape.
What is the elevation of the Desert Museum?
The Museum entrance is at 2840 feet.
How much of the Desert Museum is outdoors?
About 85% of the Museum is outside. About 15% of the exhibitry is indoors.
Does it ever snow at the Desert Museum?
Yes, usually once or twice a year. Not surprisingly, the snow quickly melts off.
How many days have you had without rain?
In 1984 we went 81 days without rain at the Desert Museum.
How many days each year is the temperature above 100 degrees at the Desert Museum?
We average 87 days each year where the temperature is 100° F or higher.
What is the average yearly rainfall at the Desert Museum?
Our average precipitation at the Museum is 14.68 inches. The month with the greatest rainfall is August (2.83 inches).
What is the highest temperature ever recorded at the Desert Museum?
The high, which has been reached more than once, is 117° F.
What is the latitude and longitude of Tucson?
32°08'N
110°56'W
How long does it take to see everything at the Desert Museum?
Most visitors spend between 2 and 3 hours touring the Desert Museum, but as the Museum continues to grow, it is becoming harder and harder to "see it all" in such a short amount of time. Plan to come early and stay late!
What should I wear while visiting the Desert Museum?
The Desert Museum is primarily an outdoor experience, so wear a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes, or appropriate colder weather gear. Drinking fountains and shade ramadas are scattered throughout the grounds for your convenience. Also, all indoor exhibits are cooled for your comfort.
Are wheelchairs and strollers available to Museum visitors?
Yes, they are available free of charge to Museum visitors on a first come, first served basis. We also have electric scooter-style wheel chairs available for $25/day ($20 for members).
Who are those people in white shirts at the Desert Museum who know so much?
They're docents -- specially trained Museum volunteers -- here to help you gain a better understanding of the complex relationships between the plants, animals and the natural environment of the Sonoran Desert. When you visit the Museum feel free to ask questions and interact with the docents and staff. Our goal is to help you better understand and appreciate this tough yet fragile environment.
Are pets allowed on the Museum grounds?
This is not a place for pets--only trained service animals assisting visitors are permitted on the grounds.
What are your hours of operation?

We are open every day of the year!

October - February
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
March - September
7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(Note: It normally takes at least two hours to see all that the museum has to offer. We recommend you arrive before 4:00 p.m. No discounts are granted for later admission.)
June - August
Sunday - Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays - 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Extended hours and special programming for families as part of our Cool Summer Nights program
What does it cost to visit the museum?
General Admission (ages 18-64) $19.50
Seniors (ages 65+) $17.50
Youth (ages 13-17) $15.50
Children (ages 4-12) $6.00
Children (ages 3 and under) FREE

Ask about Arizona/Sonora state resident and active/retired military discounts at the ticket windows. IDs required. Limits may apply.