RV Life as an Introvert – The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson.

Old mining equipment in the rocks, minerals, and cave exhibit area

This place is southwest of Tucson, AZ. It is located, according to their flyer, on the ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham (Desert People). It sits on 21 acres with two miles of walking paths through various habitats. It houses 230 animal species, 1200 types of plants, has a comprehensive regional mineral collection, and world class art exhibitions (again, directly off their flyer). Check their website for days, seasons, and hours of operation.

As far as introverted appropriateness: We got there right when they were opening – at 8:30am – on a Saturday morning, and we were one of only three vehicles present. We got our tickets and were ready to go in. However, we decided to wait until it warmed up some. The tickets were good for all day. It was in the 40’s and at the museum’s higher-than-Tucson elevation, the wind was whipping around, and even in the extra clothes and coats we had on, we knew we would not be comfortable walking around outside for several hours. If we had been able to stay and go through that early, it would have been perfect.

We came back right after lunch when it had warmed up some and not only was the parking lot full to the proverbial brim, there were three full-size yellow school buses present. So needless to say, it was really really really crowded.

However, this museum is totally worth seeing. Despite the large crowd, we took our time and spent probably three hours going through the entire museum – inside and out. They have an aquarium; a reptile and amphibian hall; an Earth sciences center and cave; an area to see an ancient Arizona Sonorasaurus; a mountain woodland; a desert grassland area; desert loop trail (complete with a coyote); a place to see and pet stingrays (do stingrays LIKE being petted?); a cat canyon (containing an ocelot, bobcat, and gray fox); a kid’s play area; a bee education area (complete with solitary bee hotels); riparian corridor; free-flight aviary featuring desert species; an underground area (for burrowing animal observation); a free-flight hummingbird aviary; touch-less water bottle refill stations; as well as restrooms, restaurants, gift shops, coffee bar, etc. Please note that some of the restaurants/shops were not operating as per usual due to Covid protocols.

I do not like zoos, because I am not a fan of capturing, housing, keeping (usually in an artificial environment), and showing off wild animals simply because humans want to look at them. So, I had some issues with seeing their wild animals caged for the public’s amusement. They were wonderful to see, I appreciated their beauty. But mostly it made me sad. But all zoos make me sad. So, keep this in mind when you visit the museum. The non-captured wildlife portion of the museum would be worth seeing in and of itself, so I can still recommend the place – for introverts and extroverts alike.

And if you are an introvert, simply choose your day and time (and watch the weather) wisely and it could be a really great experience for you. In fact, it would be spectacular to see the (again, mostly outside) museum in the quiet with the morning desert sky as a backdrop.

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