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Cool Summer Nights May 26 - September 1, 2018 Saturday: Open 'til 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

Skip the Line Packrat Playhouse

Packrat Playhouse has been popular on Cool Summer Nights! Sign up in advance for a guaranteed 30-minute play time ($5/person) or come to the Playhouse during the evening to get your name on the list (subject to availability)!

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

Activity schedules subject to change — check back often for the latest updates!

(See only upcoming Saturday schedules)

May 26 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
Have a creative critter of your own? Cool off in the Ironwood Gallery and enjoy our guest area where children of all ages can create their own Art and the Animal masterpiece! Art and the Animal is a juried competition featuring work from members of the Society of Animal Artists. See artworks from around the world in a variety of media—from oils to acrylics to sculptures and more! Everyone is welcome.
A David J. Wagner Traveling Exhibition
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Desert Survivors
(two 30-minute presentations)
Desert animals don’t just survive — they thrive! Active and interested, our furry, scaled, and winged friends beat the heat by coming out after dark. Join our educators and meet some nocturnal creatures in Desert Survivors.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
> This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

June 2 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
Have a creative critter of your own? Cool off in the Ironwood Gallery and enjoy our guest area where children of all ages can create their own Art and the Animal masterpiece! Art and the Animal is a juried competition featuring work from members of the Society of Animal Artists. See artworks from around the world in a variety of media—from oils to acrylics to sculptures and more! Everyone is welcome.
A David J. Wagner Traveling Exhibition
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Fur, Feathers & Fangs
(two 30-minute presentations)
Join our keepers as they introduce you to a few of our desert dwellers, and share stories about what it’s like to work with these amazing animals. Learn about their habitats and behaviors, including adaptations for surviving and thriving in this unique environment.
8:00 - 8:45 p.m. Photographing Animals at the Desert Museum, presented by Jay Pierstorff
How to get the best photos of animals in a Zoo. Quick tricks, pointers, and examples.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

June 9 — World Oceans Night

Join the Desert Museum in honoring and celebrating the world's oceans. Enjoy free sustainable seafood tastings by Fini’s Landing, Primo, Cup Café, Hotel Congress and the Desert Museum’s own Craft Culinary Concepts restaurants. The night also includes special splashy presentations in the Warden Oasis Theater and interactive ocean activities for all ages.

6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Aquarium
Aquarium 2049 — Come visit the aquarium of the future.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sustainable Seafood Tastings
Local restaurants demonstrate how tasty conservation can be with tastings featuring sustainably harvested seafood.
8:00 p.m. The Shark Guy - Our Amazing Oceans
Celebrate World Oceans Day with this fun and informative presentation which focuses on animal diversity in our oceans — both invertebrates and vertebrates.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fishy Fun Family Activities
Visit some of our local fin-tastic ocean conservation community partners to learn about ways you can protect the world’s oceans.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. The Edge of the Sea of Cortez – Book Signing
Authors Marilyn Malone and Betty Hupp explored, researched and photographed the rocky, sandy and muddy shorelines of the Northern Gulf of California with the goal of putting together fascinating seashore information for families. This beautiful book includes over 1000 photos and sketches illustrate the fascinating seashore life available to visiting beachcombers. Books will be available for sale in the Desert Museum gift shop and Marilyn will be on-hand to sign your copy!
6:00 - 7:15 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

June 16 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
8:00 - 8:45 p.m. Photo Class - Quick Intro to Lightroom CC (presented by Jay Pierstorff)
This powerful program’s starts to make sense once you learn these basics!
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

June 23 — Pollinator Party!

Help us celebrate National Pollinator Week by honoring the precious pollinators that help our desert ecosystem thrive! The week (June 18-24) celebrates bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, and more.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:30 - 7:00 p.m. People and Pollinators
How can you help pollinators, and how do they help you? See examples of diverse regional gardens and the partnerships between people and pollinators that keep them thriving. This presentation will include fun interactive demonstrations for the young in years and gardening inspiration for the young at heart.
7:15 p.m. Spelling Bee
Have you heard the buzz? The Desert Museum is hosting their first ever Cool Summer Nights spelling bee! We are looking for 10 children (8-10 years old) to participate in this unBEElievable contest. To sign up, please email Kat Rumbley, Marketing & Group Sales Manager, at krumbley@desertmuseum.org.
8:00 - 8:30 p.m. Forgotten Pollinators: the little known world of native bees
The Sonoran Desert has more bee species than anywhere in the world, including some of the smallest and largest bees. Astounding bee photographs illustrate this presentation on the status of the most well known bee, the honey bee, and current research on native bees.
Throughout the Night: Where the Wild Pollinators Are!
Docents will help you see and hear night blooming plants and night pollinators, such as bats and moths, that do their important work in the dark of night. Look for docent stations around the grounds.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

June 30 — Dino Night

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 - 7:15 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
8:00 p.m. Sonorasaurus, Arizona's new official state Dinosaur!
State Senator Steve Farley: Introduction
Science and Civic Engagement: the importance of our new state dinosaur
Jax Weldon: Proponent of SB 1517 to make Sonorasaurus Arizona's State Dinosaur.
Jax has been studying dinosaurs for 10 years. He was 2 years old when he started!
Richard Thompson, PhD: Sonorasaurus and What's New in Dinosaur Science?
Learn about Sonorasaurus thompsonii (Arizona’s state dinosaur) and the environment it lived in from its discoverer, Rich Thompson. Rich will also talk about some of the coolest dinosaur science and discoveries of the last few years. View original Sonorasaurus specimens.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

July 7 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
8:00 – 8:45 p.m. Macro Photography, presented by Jay Pierstorff
Photographing bugs, plants, coins, stamps, minerals and more! Special Guests: Acclaimed Photographers Rhonda Spencer and Ken Don.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

July 14 — Astronomy Night

Join the experts from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), Tucson Amateur Astronomers, and Desert Museum docents for a star-studded evening adventure — complete with star gazing and lots of solar system hands-on activities.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. NOAO Kitt Peak Activities
Enjoy interactive and educational solar system activities from National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Kitt Peak. Great for families!
7:00 - 9:30 p.m. Telescope Stations
Stargaze through high-powered telescopes and marvel at the wonders of the night sky. (Activity contingent on weather conditions.)
6:00 - 7:15 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
8:00 p.m. I Thought I Knew That: 20 (Very!) Common Astronomy Fallacies
Everyone knows why we have the seasons, or why the moon has phases, or what the name of the brightest star is… right? In this talk, University of Arizona Astronomer Dr. Kevin Hainline will explore how we create scientific understanding in our heads by confronting 20 common astronomy misconceptions. Come and learn about asteroids, shooting stars, black holes, floating astronauts and solar eclipses.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

July 21 — 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.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 - 7:15 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
8:00 p.m. Weird & Wonderful Creatures from Around the World!
Entomologist Carl “the Bugman” Olson will entertain and enlighten audiences with tales of the 6-, 8-, and many-legged creatures of the world. Carl has been an entomological educator with the University of Arizona for over 3 decades and aims to showcase the benefit of bugs using humorous stories and gorgeous pictures.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Arthropods, Arts & Crafts, and Insect Booths
Explore the world of creepy-crawlies as entomologists and insect lovers share their collections. Touch, learn and take pictures with a variety of lively arthropods. And, if you’re feeling adventurous, try a cricket-infused treat! Meet entomologists from the University of Arizona who will share their collections and research. Don’t forget to wear some wings and become a bug at the selfie station.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

July 28 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Fur, Feathers & Fangs
(two 30-minute presentations)
Join our keepers as they introduce you to a few of our desert dwellers, and share stories about what it’s like to work with these amazing animals. Learn about their habitats and behaviors, including adaptations for surviving and thriving in this unique environment.
8:00 – 8:45 p.m. Take Great Photos with any Camera, presented by Jay Pierstorff
Camera phone, point and shoot or advanced cameras? Something for everyone in this 45-minute class.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

August 4 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Biosphere 2 Undergraduate Research Projects
Through the National Science Foundation funded REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program at Biosphere 2, undergraduate students have been working alongside researchers at Biosphere 2 and on University of Arizona main campus to conduct their own research projects over a ten week period. The students projects range from analyzing microbes in Biosphere 2’s Landscape Evolution Observatory to pushing the boundaries testing the heat and drought tolerance of trees. Come talk to them about what they have learned working alongside scientist this summer!
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
8:00 – 8:45 p.m. A Buyer’s Guide to Mirrorless Cameras, presented by Jay Pierstorff
Thinking of buying a mirrorless camera? Your questions answered – what you will need to know!
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

August 11 — Feeling Flutey? Going Batty?

6:00 - 7:15 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
6:00 p.m. onwards — Find the Elusive Bat Girl!
A clue will be given out on the museum’s Facebook page to help you find her. If you do, she will have some special prizes. One per child — while supplies last.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Go Batty with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation!
Explore the fascinating lives of bats through hands-on activities for children, families and educators. Measure and identify life-sized model bats, learn how a bat’s body is perfectly built for flight, discover the ecological services these mammals provide, and explore the diversity of bats in Arizona and around the world. Join us in the Desert Garden to celebrate these mammals for the superheroes they truly are!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple kinds of bat-related crafts, including masks, coloring pages, and TP roll bats!
8:00 p.m. Bats in Myth and Reality
Batman Theodore (Ted) Fleming has been studying tropical bats for over 50 years. He plans to discuss many of the fascinating details about their lives and will illustrate his talk with wonderful photographs. You’ll never fear these night-flying mammals again!
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

August 18 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
7:00 & 8:00 p.m. 'Glow & Flow' Yoga
(two 45-minute sessions)
Namaste during two free 'Glow & Flow' yoga sessions with Tiffany Georgia from Tucson Yoga Studio. Glowsticks will be provided! All ages are invited to participate. Please bring water, a yoga mat, and lots of positive energy! Bright colored clothing is encouraged.
8:00 – 8:45 p.m. Photography: Flash for Pro Results, presented by Jay Pierstorff
Often confusing and mostly misunderstood, using flash in the right way can make your photos better, slicker, and more professional.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

August 25 — Creatures of the Night / Teacher Appreciation Night

Desert Diamong Logo
TEP Logo

We know that teachers go above and beyond every day to ensure the best future for our children and our environment. We are fortunate to have dedicated teachers, like you, in our community. Please join us at Teacher Appreciation Night, and help us celebrate you! Special thanks to our Featured Sponsor, Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment and Contributing Sponsor, Tucson Electric Power.

The Desert Museum is a wonderful place to bone up on biology, rock out with geology, and take off with astronomy! Spend time with our animated animals and enjoy conversations with other educators underneath a stunning sunset.

Teachers will receive free admission and 10% off in our gift shops with a teacher ID*. Desert Museum staff and other community education programs will showcase 2018-19 offerings. Plus, books and posters from the Desert Museum's backlist will be available free to teachers! No pre-registration is necessary.

*If your school does not issue ID badges, please bring a letter on school letterhead from your principal or other administrator stating that you are a teacher.

6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Desert Survivors
(two 30-minute presentations)
Desert animals don’t just survive — they thrive! Active and interested, our furry, scaled, and winged friends beat the heat by coming out after dark. Join our educators and meet some nocturnal creatures in Desert Survivors.
7:30 to 7:50 p.m. PolarTREC: Cool down with Svea Anderson
Svea Anderson, a STEM Coordinator and Teacher in the Tanque Verde Unified School District, just returned from the Arctic Circle, where she participated in research on the effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems. Learn about the importance of polar regions for all of us on this planet, and the changes we are seeing there today.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!

September 1 — ASDM Birthday

Tonight, our animals will be enriched with birthday presents, ice treats shaped like cakes, and other fun treats to celebrate ASDM’s birthday!

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum uses enrichment as a method of enhancing the lives of our animals. Enrichment helps to promote natural behaviors and provide mental and physical stimulation. Enrichment can be as simple as spraying perfume on a rock for a fox (which will encourage scent marking behaviors) to as complicated as giving a bear a puzzle feeder (which makes them forage for their food).

Birthday Enrichment Activities
6:15 — Cat Canyon (bobcats, ocelot)
6:15 — Stingray Touch
6:45 — Prairie Dogs
7:00 — Mountain Woodland (wolves, bear, puma)
6:00 to 9:00 — Reptile, Invertebrate & Amphibian Hall
5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
“Becoming Animal” explores the artificial breach between humans and the natural world. Through the use of black and white photography, Schafer reminds viewers that humanity’s deepest fear is not that we are separate from nature, but rather that we are a part of it. This exhibit provides a space for reflection and allows guests an engagement opportunity to form deeper relationships with the non-human animals of the planet.
Skip the Line
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!
Skip the line - reserve your time in the Packrat Playhouse!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Mr. Nature’s Interactive Music
Kindness, compassion and mindfulness engagement through song, dance, interactive music, activities and instrument fun! Special Happy Birthday Desert Museum and desert critters theme! Fun for all ages!
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!

Couple observing the sunset
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

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