Field Trips at the Museum: Self-Guided Plus Add-On Experiences

School kids talk to a Raptor Free Flight keeper who is holding a raptor on her glove

What can you do at the Desert Museum?

You can tour with the aid of one of our downloadable field guides, and add an up-close live animal program or Stingray Touch experience. Your students will enjoy real-world discovery of Adaptations, Structure & Function, Ecology, Ecosystems, and Conservation Issues.

Orientation Video

Help your students prepare for their field trip by showing them this short video, which explains what they will see and learn at the Museum, what the Museum environment will be like and how to behave to get the most out of their visit. Please share this link with your chaperones as well.

Desert Explorers Theater Program

Want a more focused, standards-based experience for your students but are short on time? The Desert Explorers Theater Program is a great choice! This interactive, multi-media program features up-close encounters with our live animal ambassadors! Your students will leave the theater ready to use all their senses to continue discovering how plants and animals survive and thrive in our desert environment. The program accommodates large groups in just thirty minutes, so students will have plenty of time to explore the Museum. Download the "I Spy Adaptations" Field Guide (and Answer Key) to use during your educational Museum adventure!

Offered: Tuesday through Friday. at 10:00, 10:30, or 11:00 a.m.
Length: 30-40 minutes
Grades: K-12
Arizona Science Standards: L1 & L2

Stingrays at the Desert Museum!

Stingray Touch Experience

The Gulf of California is an essential part of the Sonoran Desert. Discover our connections to the ocean with this captivating immersion experience. After a short introduction, your students will be able to experience the thrill of watching and being touched by a stingray!

Offered: 7 days a week; any time during exhibit opening hours.
Length: May be limited during busy seasons; groups may need to wait in line to enter.

Reservations for the school/youth rate are limited to groups of 10 or more people and are granted based on availability. Groups must enter as a group. The instructor/teacher or leader should come to the ticket window to pay for and/or check in the entire group. Latecomers will pay the appropriate individual rate — not the discounted rate.
Important: Additional adults who are not listed in the initial reservation and arrive on the day of the field trip will incur the standard Museum admission fee.
The school/youth group rate will not be honored for reservations submitted less than 15 days in advance of your earliest requested date.

Purchase orders are accepted and must be received at least 7 business days from making your reservation and emailed to Payments made by check, credit card, or cash (in one lump sum) will be collected at the ticket window when you arrive. Discount coupons and guest passes cannot be combined with the school/youth group rate.

Snacks and lunches are allowed only in the picnic area and food must remain in vehicles until ready to eat. Fourteen picnic tables are available in our lunch ramada next to the bus-loading zone. Typically space in the ramada is first-come, first-served. During busy times it may be necessary for us to schedule school lunch times. Scheduled lunch times may depend on your time of arrival/departure and other factors. Due to tighter schedules, schools with Education programming will receive priority. Small groups may be scheduled to eat together. The Museum is not able to store lunches, backpacks, or any personal belongings during your visit. Water bottles are permitted on the grounds.

Picnic Ramada Reservation: Due to its popularity and seating capacity, we cannot guarantee availability, but we will make every effort to accommodate your request. Additionally, reservation requests will receive a field trip reminder with approved reservation within 7 days of your visit.

Dining Options are available for elementary school/youth groups at our Ironwood Terraces Restaurant, contact Anna Boudoin

Supervision: We require 1 chaperone per 7 students in grades K-12. Any adult above required ratio will be charged the Additional Adult admission fee. Important Before you arrive, assign chaperones to their group of students. Once checked in, the groups should be in small groups. Groups should tour the grounds in different directions. Chaperones are responsible for behavior of students in their group. Chaperones must stay with their group at all times. All chaperones are expected to read and adhere to the chaperone guidelines.

View chaperone guidelines here.

All individuals in the group should have adhesive nametags with their name and name of school or organization.

If a student/youth is lost or injured, contact a Museum Docent or Staff and/or go to the Entrance Patio ticket window.

View Map to ASDM and parking (PDF)
View Self-Guided Visit map

You will receive a confirmation letter by email at least 7 days from the date you submit reservation. Your confirmation letter will confirm date and additional details of your reservation.

Have separate count of adults and students/youths. Everyone must enter as a group to receive school/youth rate. Latecomers pay full amount.

Students should bring hats and sunscreen and each person should have their own refillable water bottle.


Buses use busā€loading zone near the picnic area to load and unload. Buses must park in bus/rv parking area. Bus drivers are admitted free of charge. Remember: keep all food on buses until it is your scheduled lunchtime if eating at the picnic area. Make sure all chaperones know what time to meet back at your bus or picnic ramada at the end of your visit.

Upon arrival at the Museum, your group will be greeted by staff or a volunteer at the large picnic ramada located just outside the Museum admissions area. Please note the following:

We expect the number of students and adult count may change by a few. Contact us immediately with updated information. If cancellation is made more than 15 days from scheduled date, a $25 administrative fee will apply. No refunds can be made within 15 days. Please notify us as soon as possible of a cancellation or change. Contact us at 520-883-3025 or email:

No shows or cancellations with less than 24-hour notice may be billed full amount and/or denied future reservations.

For theater programs: Depending on availability, leader may be given the option of shortening the show, but it cannot be rescheduled. The school/youth group will be billed for the entire amount of the reserved program fee.
No refunds for missed Stingray Touch.

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Retrieved from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum web site on 07-22-2024