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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 2003
Digital photos © 2003 Nita Leland

desert museum logo


In October of 2003 I taught Color and Watercolor for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Art Institute in Oro Valley, Arizona and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. It was an amazing experience. I had no idea of the richness of the Sonoran Desert, preserved at the museum over many acres of habitat for live animals and plants. The art institute has a fantastic program for nature artists and illustrators using the resources of the museum.

Please enjoy my digital-photo tour of the Desert Museum. Eventually I'll try to identify the species, but many are new to me. If you can help with identification of a particular plant, please email me. Thanks.

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The Desert Ark
The Desert Ark van

The Desert Ark
The van is decorated with colorful images of flora & fauna.
museum casita
I stayed in this casita at the museum.

Brown Mountain
Brown Mountain rises majestically, seen from the casita.
prickly-pear-jojoba
Prickly-pear cactus is everywhere on the paths around the museum.
baja lizard
Near the museum entrance a Baja lizard basks in the sun.
horned lizard
A horned lizard enjoys another sunny spot.
lizard
Unknown lizard

lizard
Unknown lizard

The suggested path through the museum turns to the right, as you enter the museum grounds, to an indoor exhibit of live snakes, lizards and spiders. The path leads to a breathtaking view south and west, and then to a geology ramada. The next area features an underground limestone cave with mineral and gemstone exhibits.
museum overlook
This vista extends many miles to the south into Mexico.
cactus forest
Saguaro cactus forests grow only in the Sonoran Desert.
ramada
Ramadas along the path are shelters for shade and educational exhibits.
mountain lion
A viewing window allows a close-up of a mountain lion.
mountain lions
A pair of mountain lions inhabit the Mountain Woodlands area.
mountain lion
A mountain lion strikes a dramatic pose.
black bear
Black bears also live in the mountain areas of the Sonoran Desert.
Mexican wolf
The Mexican wolf is a mountain woodlands inhabitant.
white-tailed deer
A white-tailed deer is camouflaged by trees in the woodlands.
Birds of prey and other animals are displayed outside their usual habitats from time to time for a close-up view. There are also seasonal scheduled "free-flight" demonstrations on the grounds.
American kestrel
American kestrel
harris hawk
A docent takes a Harris's hawk on an outing around the museum grounds.

Birds will open their wings when the handler raises and lowers his hand.
barn owl
Barn Owl
barn owl
Barn Owl
barn owl talons
Barn Owl talons

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