Cool Summer Nights

May 20 - September 2, 2017
Saturday: 5:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.

Regular Admission Rates Apply

Familes enjoying the treehouse at dusk
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

Guests under floodlit canopy in the Desert Garden
Photo credit: Rhonda Spencer

Children using black lights to search for scorpions in rock wall
Photo credit: Rhonda Spencer

Beat the Arizona heat and enjoy a family-friendly outing during our popular Cool Summer Nights. So what makes these Saturday evenings so enchanting? The stunning sunsets, skies speckled with stars, night-blooming plants, and animals reappearing from their daytime naps.

The desert comes alive at night as nocturnal animals awake. Bats perform aerial acrobatics in pursuit of dinner, beavers splash around in their pond, and scorpions glow green under black light. Bring your flashlight and explore, experience a live animal encounter, or participate in special nightly activities. See the schedule below for weekly themes and activities.

Dining options

Pro tip? Arrive early for the best parking!

Mother and child in pushchair, walking the grounds
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

Weekly Themes & Activity Schedule

(See previous Saturday schedules)

NOAO logo June 24 — Astronomy Night

Join the experts from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) for a star-studded adventure with lots of Solar System hands-on activities.


July 1 — Glitter & Glow

Spend time under the sparkling stars with our animated animals, enjoy a fascinating lightning photography presentation by Ralph Wetmore, and learn about fluorescent minerals from Museum staff. You can also “namaste” during Glow & Flow Yoga with Tiffany Georgia from Tucson Yoga.


July 8 — Creatures of the Night

Want to know what creatures party in the nighttime? Here’s your chance to find out! Experience live animal interpretations on grounds, spend time with our animated animals, engage in hands-on art activities, and enjoy our popular Desert Survivors show.


July 15 — Creatures of the Night

Want to know what creatures party in the nighttime? Here’s your chance to find out! Experience live animal interpretations on grounds, spend time with our animated animals, and enjoy our popular Fur, Feather, and Fangs show.


July 22 — Insect Insanity

Let’s celebrate Incredible Insects and Amazing Arthropods! The Sonoran Desert is a hot spot of insect diversity and this is your chance to meet them. Tonight, get a bugs-eye view of many of the million species of arthropods that make the Sonoran Desert their home.


July 29 — Creatures of the Night

Want to know what creatures party in the nighttime? Here’s your chance to find out! Experience live animal interpretations on grounds, spend time with our animated animals, engage in hands-on art activities, and enjoy our popular Live and (sort of) On the Loose show.

6:30-8:00 Native American Flutes
Relax in the Desert Garden and sample the soothing sounds of a Native American inspired flute circle.

August 5 — Full Moon Festival

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the desert during Full Moon Festival, celebrating art and music, and engage in hands-on art activities. Enjoy a lively discussion with Dr. Kevin Hainline about the fascinating formation of our solar system and the wonders of the night sky. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona and member of the James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam science team.


August 12 — Creatures of the Night

Want to know what creatures party in the nighttime? Here’s your chance to find out! Experience live animal interpretations on grounds, spend time with our animated animals, and enjoy our popular Live and (sort of) On the Loose show.


August 19 — Teacher Appreciation Night

It’s back-to-school time and the Museum is a great place to bone up on biology, rock out with geology and take off with astronomy. From mineral and rock activities to live animal presentations, the science of nature is on full display! PreK-12 teachers, in deep appreciation for their important work, will be admitted free. You have to bring ID to show that you’re a teacher.


August 26 — Creatures of the Night

Want to know what creatures party in the nighttime? Here’s your chance to find out! Experience live animal interpretations on grounds, spend time with our animated animals, and enjoy our popular Desert Survivors show.

6:30-8:00 Native American Flutes
Relax in the Desert Garden and sample the soothing sounds of a Native American inspired flute circle.

September 2 — Happy Birthday Desert Museum

The Desert Museum is turning 65! Celebrate with us.


Couple observing the sunset
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star