Cool Summer Nights

May 20 - September 2, 2017
Saturday: 5:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.

Regular Admission Rates Apply

Familes enjoying the treehouse at dusk
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

Guests under floodlit canopy in the Desert Garden
Photo credit: Rhonda Spencer

Children using black lights to search for scorpions in rock wall
Photo credit: Rhonda Spencer

Beat the Arizona heat and enjoy a family-friendly outing during our popular Cool Summer Nights. So what makes these Saturday evenings so enchanting? The stunning sunsets, skies speckled with stars, night-blooming plants, and animals reappearing from their daytime naps.

The desert comes alive at night as nocturnal animals awake. Bats perform aerial acrobatics in pursuit of dinner, beavers splash around in their pond, and scorpions glow green under black light. Bring your flashlight and explore, experience a live animal encounter, or participate in special nightly activities. See the schedule below for weekly themes and activities.

Dining options

Pro tip? Arrive early for the best parking!

Mother and child in pushchair, walking the grounds
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

Weekly Themes & Activity Schedule

(See previous Saturday schedules)

July 29 — Sharks and Rays: Busting Myths

Meet a real shark keeper, learn about the threats to shark populations from the Fin Foundation, and separate fact from fiction in an enthralling presentation by reknowned shark expert Shaun Pipes. You can also relax to the soothing sounds of Native American flutes.

5:30 Meet a Shark Keeper
Come learn about the sharks we have on at the Desert Museum and find out how we care for sharks in aquariums.
6:00-9:00 Art Activities
Discover your inner artist in the Gallery Courtyard
6:00-9:00 Docent Interpretive Stations
6:00-9:00 Shark Finning Information Table
Learn how shark finning is impacting wild populations and what we can do to help sharks.
6:00-9:00 Hands-on Shark Exhibits
Find information from the Fin Foundation near Stingray Touch.
6:30 Meet a Shark Keeper
Come learn about the sharks we have on at the Desert Museum and find out how we care for sharks in aquariums.
6:30-7:15 Sharks and Rays: Busting Myths
To finish off Shark Week, we’ll separate fact from fiction about sharks and rays. Presented by Shaun Pipes
6:30-8:00 Native American Flutes
Relax in the Desert Garden and sample the soothing sounds of a Native American inspired flute circle.
7:30 Meet a Shark Keeper
Come learn about the sharks we have on at the Desert Museum and find out how we care for sharks in aquariums.
8:00-8:45 Sharks and Rays: Busting Myths
To finish off Shark Week, we’ll separate fact from fiction about sharks and rays. Presented by Shaun Pipes

August 5 — Full Moon Festival

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the desert during Full Moon Festival, celebrating art and music, and engage in hands-on art activities. Enjoy music by Haboob, and a lively discussion with Dr. Kevin Hainline about the fascinating formation of our solar system and the wonders of the night sky.

6:00-9:00 Art Activities
6:00-9:00 Docent Interpretive Stations
6:30-7:15 Marvels and Wonders: Extraordinary Surprises in Astronomy
Enjoy a lively discussion with Dr. Kevin Hainline about the fascinating formation of our solar system and the wonders of the night sky. Dr. Hainline is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona and member of the James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam science team.
7:00-7:45 Music by Haboob
Haboob, with a recently released vinyl record, plays original music- music that uses popular forms such as jazz and pop. Fresh off a European visit, Haboob uses sax, bass, organ and drums to paint a vast and visceral landscape of love and hope. Jeff Grubic, Ryen Eggleston, Nick Letson and Dimitri Manos have been collaborating in the sonic realm for many years, developing a musical language that they hope anyone can understand.
8:00-8:45 Marvels and Wonders: Extraordinary Surprises in Astronomy
Enjoy a lively discussion with Dr. Kevin Hainline about the fascinating formation of our solar system and the wonders of the night sky. Dr. Hainline is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona and member of the James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam science team.
8:15-9:00 Music by Haboob
Haboob, with a recently released vinyl record, plays original music- music that uses popular forms such as jazz and pop. Fresh off a European visit, Haboob uses sax, bass, organ and drums to paint a vast and visceral landscape of love and hope. Jeff Grubic, Ryen Eggleston, Nick Letson and Dimitri Manos have been collaborating in the sonic realm for many years, developing a musical language that they hope anyone can understand.

August 12 — Creatures of the Night

Want to know what creatures party in the nighttime? Here’s your chance to find out! Experience live animal interpretations on grounds, spend time with our animated animals, and enjoy our popular Live and (sort of) On the Loose show.

6:00-9:00 Docent Interpretive Stations
6:30-7:15 Live and (sort of) on the Loose
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
8:00-8:45 Live and (sort of) on the Loose
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.

August 19 — Teacher Appreciation Night

TEP Logo

It’s back-to-school time and the Museum is a great place to bone up on biology, rock out with geology and take off with astronomy. From mineral and rock activities to live animal presentations, the science of nature is on full display! PreK-12 teachers, in deep appreciation for their important work, will be admitted free. Please bring ID to show that you’re a teacher - there is no need to pre-register this year. Thank you to TEP for sponsoring teacher admissions!

6:00-9:00 Education Program Activities
6:00-9:00 Docent Interpretive Stations
6:30-7:00 Desert Survivors
Discover the adaptations that living things use to survive and thrive in our desert climate.
8:00-8:30 Desert Survivors
Discover the adaptations that living things use to survive and thrive in our desert climate.

August 26 — Creatures of the Night

Want to know what creatures party in the nighttime? Here’s your chance to find out! Experience live animal interpretations on grounds, spend time with our animated animals, and enjoy our popular Desert Survivors show.

6:00-9:00 Docent Interpretive Stations
6:30-8:00 Native American Flutes
Relax in the Desert Garden and sample the soothing sounds of a Native American inspired flute circle.
6:30-7:00 Desert Survivors
Discover the adaptations that living things use to survive and thrive in our desert climate.
8:00-8:30 Desert Survivors
Discover the adaptations that living things use to survive and thrive in our desert climate.

September 2 — Packrat Party

The Desert Museum is turning 65! Celebrate with us.

6:00-9:00 Docent Interpretive Stations
6:00-6:30 Mr. Nature's Music Garden
A fun and engaging program for everyone, young and old.
6:30-7:00 Desert Survivors
Discover the adaptations that living things use to survive and thrive in our desert climate.
7:30-8:00 Mr. Nature's Music Garden
A fun and engaging program for everyone, young and old.
8:00-8:30 Desert Survivors
Discover the adaptations that living things use to survive and thrive in our desert climate.

Couple observing the sunset
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star