Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Adult Classes and Trips
Inquiries regarding class or itinerary details may be directed to / 520-883-3030.
For assistance with registration please contact the Reservations Coordinator at / 520-883-3025.

Northern Spain via the Slow Train
September 11 – 21, 2023

The rain in Spain falls mainly north of the plain. And, that is why the land is emerald green. This is the land that the Celts originated from, and that the Basques continue to inhabit. On this tour we learn about Bronze Age castros, Roman gold and iron mining, and Asturian and Cantabrian traditional lifeways. As a counterpoint to the old, we a visit Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum of modern art, and learn about and taste Basque culture. We explore the hinterlands of farms, forests and hamlets, walking a stretch of the Camino de Santiago. Our coastal route follows the narrow-gauged local train, the FEVE, from which we hop on and off for stays at seaside towns, where we drink apple cider and enjoy regional seafood and Asturian fabada. Then there is the fairytale scenery:  the northern edge of the peninsula falls dramatically into the Cantabrian Sea in steeply-tilted rock walls. To complement the landscape, we share lessons on the geology of the Iberian Peninsula. This is a pre-trip to our main tour (Spain:  Moors and Christian, Olives and Wine), but can be experienced without registering for the main tour.

Itinerary and Trip Details

$3800/Person Double Occupancy or $4470/Person Single Occupancy

Spain:  Moors and Christians, Olives and Wine
Tracing the Cultural and Agricultural Roots of the Southwest
September 21 – October 4, 2023

In the Southwest we use the adjective "Spanish" frequently and loosely. Indeed, many elements of our culture originate in Spain. But, the 16th - 18th century Christian Spain that colonized the Americas was the sum total of its previous occupants - Arabs, Jews, Visigoths and Romans. Join us in an exploration of the cathedrals, markets, orchards, towns, ancient castles and sunny beaches with an eye for the influencing factors of these peoples. During the fall grape harvest you will tour a rural winery, walk fields and orchards, make paella, even see the Holy Grail... Destinations include Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo and Madrid. This trip is very personalized with a maximum group size of 20.

There is a pre-trip extension to the north that you may be interested in signing up for as well. It is timed to end in Barcelona on the same day that this trip begins.

Itinerary and Trip Details

$4790/Person Double Occupancy or $5540/Person Single Occupancy

Natural History of the Sonoran Desert
October 28 and 29, 2023

Would you like to be more knowledgeable about the animals, plants and landscape of our desert? This two-day survey course covers desert ecology, desert adaptations, climate, mammals, birds, reptiles, venomous animals, botany, geology and ethnobotany. We also touch on current threats to our desert such as invasive species, water and climate change issues, endangered species and recovery programs. With a variety of instructors and a Sunday morning botany hike we will pack a lot into one weekend!

$150/Person Member or $165/Person Non-Member


Rainwater Harvesting Tour
November 11, 2023

In the Australian Outback everyone does it. In the Sonoran Desert the rain, in vain, falls mainly down the drain. But, not for everyone! See how this bounty can be harvested in a small park, on neighborhood tree-lined streets, in urban homes. Calculate how much water can be collected off of your own roof and find out about various options for storage and diversion. Participants will learn about and see many strategies they can apply at their own home and neighborhoods. The tour will be entirely outdoors.

$30/Person Member or $33/Person Non-Member


Black Lava White Sand
November 14 – 17, 2023  Sold out!
January 9 - 12, 2024  Second trip just opened!
Explore El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with cultural conservationist Jesús García and geomorphologist/anthropologist Fred Nials. The volcanic landscape of the Pinacates includes huge maar craters, two varieties of lava flows, cinder cones, and majestic shifting dunes hosting their own specialized ecosystems. This young volcanic field is adjacent to the Sea of Cortez, which because of extreme low tides allows viewing of its marvelous intertidal marine life at the Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans. Uniting the desert and beach is one of the most important natural salt reserves in Mexico, Campo La Salina.  Located in Gulfo de Santa Clara where natural freshwater springs and saltwater meet, this layer of salt is sacred to the Tohono O’odham. For a special cultural experience, we’ll visit the O'odham community of Quitovac, an important oasis along the ancient salt pilgrimage trail to the sea.

November - Itinerary and Trip Details


Rancho de la Osa
December 1 – 3, 2023
It rests in the desert grasslands along Arizona’s southern border with the dramatic backdrop of Baboquivari Peak always in view. On this tour, we visit the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, which has breeding programs for the endangered pronghorn and Masked Bobwhite Quail and offers birding for many species including Herons, Gray Hawks, Vermillion Fly Catchers, Loggerhead Shrikes and Golden Eagles. We will take in a lot of local history, learning about the Spanish Barb horses that descend from Fr. Kino’s herd, about the Mexican Revolution as it was played out here, and about old ghost towns and mining camps. We take a side trip to see the border town of Sasabe, sprinkle geology lessons in, have a morning free for optional activities such as riding e-bikes or horses, and enjoy fabulous meals. Come nighttime, we are treated to cowboy poetry and a star-studded winter sky.

Itinerary and Trip Details  

$930/Person Double Occupancy or $1163/Person Single Occupancy

Land of the Seri
February 19 – 23, 2024

Travel with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum this February to explore the world of the Seri people. Our guides, cultural conservationist Jesús García, and geomorphologist/anthropologist Fred Nials, enthusiastically share with us the culture of this desert people as well as the natural and geological history of the Central Gulf Coast subdivision of the Sonoran Desert.   Our voyage of discovery includes the Seri Museum in Nuevo Bahía Kino, a visit to the Prescott College Research Station, a panga ride to the mangroves of Isla Tiburón, birding in the estuary of Laguna de la Cruz,  a walk in a cardón forest, and of course, meetings with the Seri people themselves. Our adventure also includes time on the beach of Kino Bay with its intensely blue water, as well as daily helpings of fresh seafood and opportunities to support the Seri with purchases of their handcrafts.

Itinerary and Trip Details  

$1790/Person Double Occupancy or $2040/Person Single Occupancy

Baja California:  North to South
April 4 - 16, 2024
Whaling, Ecology, Geology, Birding, and Ethnobotany!
Led by the incomparable Jesús García and geologist/raconteur, Fred Nials, we travel by motorcoach down the entire length of the Baja. From the desert chaparral, through fertile coastal habitat we cross the rocky backbone of the peninsula into the bizarre desert of the Vizcaiño with its amazing forests of boojum and cardón. We get off the grid for a gray whale “glamping” experience where personal gray whale encounters await! Our drive takes us through lush date palm oases and the Tres Vírgenes volcanic field and then along the coast passing aquamarine coves and gorgeous white sand beaches. Dip into the pristine waters to snorkel with marine life in Loreto Bay. Experience the charming artists’ haven of Todos Santos and witness the famous Los Arcos geologic formation at the tip of Baja. Our return is by air.

Itinerary and Trip Details

$4720/Person Double Occupancy or $6045/Person Single Occupancy