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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 previous Saturday schedules)

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

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!

Couple observing the sunset
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

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