Due to public health recommendations, the Museum is temporarily closed to public visitors.

Cool Summer Nights
Open till 10:00 p.m. Saturday
May 30 - September 12, 2020

Regular Admission Rates Apply

The Desert Museum is lovely during the day, but it’s even cooler after dark! Join us every Saturday night throughout the summer to beat the heat while learning something neat! 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, grab a local beer and wander, experience a live animal encounter, scamper in Packrat Playhouse, feel the touch of a stingray, or participate in special nightly activities. See the schedule below for weekly themes.

Dining options

The Mountain House Gift Shop (near the entrance) is open until 10:00 p.m., and the Ironwood Gift Shop (near the restaurant complex) is open until 9:30 p.m.

Skip the Line

Pro tip: On Cool Summer Nights, Packrat Playhouse can reach capacity quickly! We suggest that you head there first and sign up for a time slot to guarantee your playtime.

Pro tip: Arrive early for the best parking!

Some exhibits close early for safety reasons or so that the animals can rest. The Walk-in Aviary, Hummingbird Aviary, Desert Loop Trail (coyote, javelina), Botanical Gardens, Bee Exhibit, People & Pollinators, and the Labyrinth Garden close at the following seasonal times:

Mother and child in pushchair, walking the grounds

Weekly Themes & Activity Schedule

Activity schedules subject to additions and changes — check back often for the latest updates!

(See previous Saturday schedules)

June 6 — World Oceans Night

Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!

June 13 — Dino Night

Have you heard that the Sonorasaurus is officially Arizona's state dinosaur? Thanks to an 11-year-old boy's persuasive argument (Jax Weldon), the Sonorasaurus joined other official Arizona state symbols. Based on the fossils, it is estimated that the dino was about 50 feet long and weighed 4,000 pounds. The fossils are on display tonight in the “Cave” and at discovery stations in Taylor Plaza. Bring your flashlight and explore, grab a local beer and wander, learn all about dinosaurs from Richard Thompson, PhD, and the UA Department of Geosciences, experience live animal encounters, scamper in Packrat Playhouse, see and touch real dino bones (one night only!), feel the touch of a stingray, and more!

Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!

June 20 — Astronomy Night

Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting live animals, celestial desert skies, fluorescent minerals, bats, kissing bugs, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and more!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!

June 27 — Party with Pollinators

Pollinator Party graphic

Help us celebrate National Pollinator Week by honoring the precious pollinators that help our desert ecosystem thrive! The week celebrates bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, and more. Docents will help you see and hear night-blooming plants and night pollinators (such as bats and moths) that do their important work in the dark of night. Enjoy honey samples from local beekeepers, Pot your own plant, participate in our third annual Spelling Bee, learn the Science Behind Bees with our very own Dr. Kim Franklin, and more!

Throughout the Night: Where the Wild Pollinators Are!
Docents will help you see and hear night blooming plants and night pollinators, such as bats and moths, that do their important work in the dark of night. Look for docent stations around the grounds.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Stingray Touch Exhibit
Admission: $2 Members / $3 Non-Members
Visitors are able to create their own moments with these captivating creatures at the Stingray Touch experience. The pool features cow nose stingrays that guests can interact with. Be touched by a ray!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Packrat Playhouse
This indoor (air-conditioned) play space allows children to discover the desert through the eyes of a packrat. Kids can slide down a Gila monster's tail, climb through prickly pear cactus pads, slither through an oversized rattlesnake, explore secret tunnels, scramble in giant rope netting, and much more!

Couple observing the sunset
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