Worth the Trip: Explore some of Arizona’s diverse fauna - East Valley Tribune: Events

Worth the Trip: Explore some of Arizona’s diverse fauna

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:30 pm

Tucson: Cool Summer Nights

Desert animals are no fools. That’s why you’d be hard-pressed to spot one on a daytime foray into the wilds but pleasantly surprised by the uptick in animal activity after dark. That’s what animal caretakers have noticed, anyway, at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, a place that’s kind of a cross between the Valley’s Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo.

At this sprawling naturalistic park, you won’t find alligators or zebras, but desert bighorn sheep, mountain lions and other native Arizona critters that come alive once the sun goes down. Museum docents provide insight at interpretative stations scattered throughout the 21-acre grounds, and, this weekend, there’s a live animal presentation on threatened and endangered species.

Dining options abound, too, since the event takes place over dinner time. Choices include the upscale, reservations-recommended Ocotillo Café for those on date night, the more casual Ironwood Terraces Restaurant, overlooking the scenic landscape, and the Cottonwood Snack Shack, near the Riparian Corridor’s otters and beavers, where kids will like the build-your-own ice cream sandwich.

DETAILS >> 6 to 10 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 30. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $17.50-$19.50 for adults, $15.50 for kids 13-17, $6 for children 4-12. (520) 883-2702 or DesertMuseum.org.

Sedona: Hummingbird Festival

The number and variety of hummingbirds in Sedona reaches its peak in August, when rufous, broad-tailed and calliope hummingbirds join Anna’s and black-chinned hummingbirds as all but the Anna’s variety migrate through the area.

Experience the bird boom at this festival, where watching hundreds of hummers feast at “Hummingbird Hotspots” is free.

At one such spot, licensed hummingbird banders will attach tiny numbered bands to the birds’ legs and register them with the Bird Banding Laboratory. The bands clue researchers into important data about hummingbird movement. The event includes three days of back-to-back ticketed presentations by experts on just about everything relative to hummingbirds, including how to photograph them and garden for them, and self-guided, ticketed tours of private gardens. A Hummingbird Marketplace offers goods and trinkets from the artful to the practical.

DETAILS >> Hotspot hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Aug. 1-3; call or visit the website for a schedule of other activities. Pick up a map to hotspots at Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road. Hotspot viewing is free. Tickets to presentations and garden tours range from $14-$20 for a single event to $45-$50 for a three-day pass; children 12 and younger get in free with an adult. (928) 284-2251 or SedonaHummingbirdFestival.com.

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