Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum logo
|Date opened||September 1, 1952|
|Land area||98 acres (40 ha) (21 acres (8.5 ha) accessible to the public)|
|Number of animals||12,370|
|Number of species||Over 300|
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a 98-acre (40 ha) museum and zoo founded in 1952 and located in Tucson, Arizona. It contains a museum and two miles (3.2 km) of walking paths on 21 acres (8.5 ha) of this property, and is one of the most visited attractions in Tucson. The facility combines the attractions of a zoo, museum, and botanical garden, with a focus is the plants and animals that live in the Sonoran Desert, and it was a pioneer in the creation of naturalistic enclosures for its animals.
The museum is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and attracts over 500,000 visitors each year.
The ASDM was created by William Carr and Arthur Pack and opened in 1952 as the "Arizona-Sonora Desert Trailside Museum." It was one of the first naturalistic zoos in the United States. The founders originally found a lot of opposition due to the local concept at the time of a zoo as "terrible, little roadside snakefarms."
The site chosen for the facility was 12 miles (19 km) West of Tucson—98 acres (40 ha) of mostly natural desert with some structures originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and known as the "Mountain House." The land, then and now, was owned by Pima County and leased to the museum. The first board of trustees was not formed until months after the facility was opened, and one of its first acts was to change the name to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
The zoo has a Junior Docent program, in which teens 13-18 years old can learn about the plants and animals at the museum. Junior Docent volunteer one day each weekend to present certain Sonoran Desert-related information to museum visitors.
Various regular demonstrations are held throughout the day. Amongst the animal talks and demonstrations is the twice daily Raptor Free Flight, where a wide variety of raptors are flown for the audience to see. The raptor flights are currently scheduled to be held from mid-October to mid-April. 
The future 
In 2004, the museum announced an $18 million capital campaign, of which $12 million had already been raised. This was the largest fund-raising effort undertaken at the time, and will provide money for the museum's endowment, a new education building, jaguar/mountain lion habitat, and an animal retirement facility.
- "A History of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum". desertmuseum.org. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "An Introduction to ASDM". desertmuseum.org. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "The ASDM Collections". desertmuseum.org. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Junior Docent Program". desertmuseum.org. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- Arizona Daily Star description of the Desert Museum written by Veronica Cruz
- Sonora Desert Museum Raptor Free Flights