February 11, 2013

arizona sonora desert museum



people in tucson rave about the desert museum. people who've visited tucson rave about it. it's THE place to visit.

i was skeptical. it's a museum about the desert; how awesome could that really be?


then i found out it wasn't a museum so much as a zoo for desert animals. i became intrigued. so we decided to take the heinzanyis there when they came to visit. and i was pleasantly surprised.


i will say this -- i am so glad that we went during the winter; it was sunny and in the 70s when we went, and even then almost all of the animals were asleep. i can't imagine that they would be bouncing around in 112 degree heat. plus, there is about 3 miles of walkways, which could be brutal during the summer. luckily, there are water fountains every 50 feet or so.

 


my favorite part of the day was the prairie dogs. obviously. i mean look at them; they are so freaking adorable. and they are big kissers. how cute. i could sit and watch them for days.




the desert museum is pretty cool because they built the animal "cages" into the surrounding environment, using the animals' natural habitats. the "cages" that the coyotes and the javelinas live in are large and are designed to be as real to life as possible. unfortunately, that means it's difficult to see these two animals because there are a lot of places for them to hide. that being said, it's nice to know that these animals are protected while being in an environment that directly replicates their natural habitat.




stop it arizona -- you're so pretty.









twice a day you can see the raptors flying freely across the desert. but don't think you have to walk all the way down to the special auditorium; you can see and hear the presentation from other places in the museum as well. and it is definitely super cool to see these birds of prey doing their thing.












the desert museum has both an aviary and a hummingbird house. the aviary is filled with beautifully colored birds from around the world, while the hummingbird house has tons of tiny speedy hummingbirds. 


it was in the hummingbird house that having a fancy camera was definitely a plus. those little suckers are so fast that you really have to have a fast shutter to capture their awesomeness. unfortunately, the iphone camera still cannot do rapid shots, especially if you are using the hdr function. as a result, i am currently in the market for a cool app that allows me to control how long my iphone camera shutter stays open.