The world-renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is three things in one: It’s a zoo, a botanical garden and a natural-history museum, all in the heart of the Tucson Mountains.

Two miles of paths cover 21 acres of desert, where visitors can enjoy the natural landscape and habitats of more than 300 animal species, including mountain lions and Gila monsters, and 1,200 types of plants.

The impressive living exhibits of Sonoran Desert animals are the museum’s main attraction. Where else can someone see the Southwest’s most endangered animals, including the Mexican wolf, all in one place?

Not only are the animal habitats vast; so is the rock and mineral collection in the Earth Sciences Center, which includes more than 14,000 specimens.

The museum was founded in 1952 as a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve the Sonoran Desert and to inspire people to live in harmony with the desert landscape.

Today, the museum is world-renowned for its commitment to desert habitat as well as its research and educational programs aimed at educating children and adults. The museum also advocates for the protection of the land and animals of the Sonoran Desert and attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year.

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