Arizona SonoraDesert Museum – Exploring My World

Outside of Tucson is a place to see critters and plants of the desert up close.  Much like the little kitty above, you can see what lives here.  The place is spread out over 98 acres.  It’s in a very hot place in the summer (I visited at 105 degrees).  It’s a full day to see it all. 

They have an aquarium, a reptile & amphibians building, an art gallery, a cave with mineral gallery, two aviaries (one for hummingbirds), a dozen animal enclosures (like above Mountain Lion), cactus gardens, stingray touch pool, and 2 gift shops.  Several hourly docent displays are spread out during the day.  These include snake touching.  Life cycles of the Saguaro cactus.  Life in the rivers and streams in Arizona. And they change daily. Well versed people are waiting to explain how the desert works.

The landscape has been planted 55 years ago to represent as much of the Sonora desert that would predate human interference.  While not all of these would grow here, they all live in the Sonora desert that covers from the Baja peninsula to New Mexico.  Butterfly gardens include non native plants but the butterflies are wild feeding here.  

The animals are here by assignment.  The Mountain Lion was orphaned.  The pair of Mexican grey wolves are a retired breeding pair that was used to restore native range. The Black bear was raised by humans. They live in nice sized enclosures with AC and shade.  The 19 stingrays enjoy a covered pool and for $3 you can touch them ($3 more you can feed them shrimp).

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Palatki Heritage Site

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/ohv/recarea/?recid=55368&actid=119

A little tiny dot on the map on the west side of Sedona has a great little stop. The site has petroglyph along a rock face, a small shelter built on to the cliff face and a cliff dwelling.   If you have purchased a Red Rock Pass, it works here too.  (Seriously, $15 a week good for about everything that charges to get in. A tourist can’t beat this).  They close at 3:00pm.  The gateman will let you out after 3:00.

The road in is graciously called “Primitive”.  Gravel roads have..Gravel.  This has mud, gravel and rock.  A car will make the trip.   But even in a SUV,is not smooth.   One more thing..

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Yes, the sign is correct.  And they don’t look both ways before they cross..

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But we are here for petroglyph and other things.  Of course, I missed the last tour to the cliff dwelling.   The petroglyph come with a guide.  You check in at a house at the bottom of the hill.   They animus announce your presence.   And you walk about a 1/4 mile.

Don’t touch the artifacts they are heavily guarded!

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The story boards include long time favorites like Kokopelli, zigzag lines, and a creation myth.

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