I’ve always loved botanical gardens, zoos and caves, and when I discovered the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (a botanical garden) in Tucson, Arizona, has all three, I knew I had to visit. Since I also love photography, I took hundreds of photos there on my Fujifilm camera. I’m including some of my animal photos in this article.

Yesterday, my husband and I arrived at the museum at opening time (7:30 AM) and began exploring the huge park/garden/museum. It was cool outdoors that early on a spring morning in the desert, so we started out looking around in the buildings first.

The first building contained Arizona reptiles and spiders, many of them poisonous. I was happy to have glass between them and us.

We soon came to the museum’s small cave and to a building containing fossils, rocks, etc. I’ll post a separate article about those later.

We found outdoor animals in a very different kind of zoo setting. It doesn’t look all that different when you see these animal photos, but when you see the surroundings, you’ll see what I mean. The mountain lion was first, then a black bear, and a wolf. In the bear’s enclosure, a squirrel was pigging out on the bear’s food until it realized it was being watched. The wolf wasn’t cooperative about getting his picture taken.

We came upon hawks, a blue heron, and prairie dogs next. They were all great and posed nicely for their photos.

My personal favorite was a fox. It posed, too (sort of). It was snoozing.

To see the rest of the animals, we had to walk on the hiking trails. Luckily, it had warmed up quite a bit and the wind had died down some, too. Along the trails, we found javelinas, coyotes, and bighorn sheep.

Lastly, back inside a building, we found more frogs. I don’t know why they were separate from the others (maybe because they aren’t poisonous). These little frogs posed nicely for the camera.

I was really impressed with the zoo. All of the animals looked healthy and well-fed. Some paced, obviously wanting out to roam free, but most seemed happy. Their enclosures were mostly nice, too. And what a beautiful setting.

My next article will include photos of the botanical garden portion of the museum. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has some of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen in the desert, as well as a gorgeous setting with panoramic views. I hope you enjoy my photos.