Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
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.

The Center for Sonoran Desert Studies, founded in 2005, conducts the educational and scientific functions of the Museum and is a hub for research, education and conservation of the Sonoran Desert.

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 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.

Building Activity

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