An eMagazine about wheelchair-accessible events, sports & locations in Arizona

Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum


Thirty-five years.  That’s how long I’ve been rolling (and strolling) around Arizona. And so it’s a bit embarrassing to say I’ve never taken the time to visit the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum just outside of Tucson. Good thing I finally got my act together.

First,  this aint really a museum in my book. It’s all outdoors, and really is a zoo, and then a botanical garden, and lastly a natural history museum.  For wheelers, its 2+ miles of trails on both concrete and well packed gravel.  If you are pushing, this place will wear you out as the compound is on the side of a mountain with some rather steep walking paths in many places.  I like that the trails are plenty wide to allow AB’s to get by, and that there isnt much side to side slope in the paths.  Along the way is plenty of shade and water stops. Hands down, this is the best place to visit and experience all of Arizona’s desert environment in one place.

We spent four hours here but it’s really an all-day place.  There’s that much to see and do.  Jared, age 6, was still fulling engaged when we hit hour #4.   To spend a day here any time other than the winter means you’ll be here during the middle of the day, and that means it’ll be hot.  We got lucky in late March with 75 degree weather.

A few highlights are the twice daily Raptor flights. This is a seasonal event so check their calendar, but the 1:45pm Harris Hawk presentation is amazing.   It alone is worth the $12 price of admission.  My only qualm is that they herd everyone down to the end of this trail for the show, and you are surrounded by tall people which obstructs the view.  If they’d set aside an area for wheelers (and shorties), we’d see the birds better. Next is the Puma (Mountain Lion) exhibit.  I like it because it’s a very well designed display and the cats are very close.  I swear this one cat was eying me for it’s dinner.  All of the animals look healthy which isnt always the case elsewhere in Arizona.  The bears apparently escaped recently because their area has been closed.

The ASDM is impressive because it very clean, very well maintained, and has a friendly crew of staff and volunteers.  It’s clear the place is a source of community pride.   We ate at the snack bar which was a bit pricey, but featured a patio with a scenic view.  There’s a restaurant on the property as well.

I added quite a bit of comments to each photo in the Flickr set.

The museum is located outside of Tucson to the east.  There’s two ways to get there. One takes you throught the Saguaro National Park which is a great scenic drive.  Visit their web page at:

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What Acessing Arizona Is All About

Accessing Arizona is primarily designed for people who are looking for wheelchair accessible events, locations and activities. If you have paralysis (paraplegic or quadriplegic), Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Bifida, or if you are an amputee, Accessing Arizona has information about an active lifestyle.
If you are traveling to Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Sedona or the Grand Canyon, the site offers insight about the accessibility. We cover trails, lakes, state parks, national parks and just about anything claiming to be handicapped accessible. The site also covers sports and recreation in Arizona.
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