Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

We have a new look: 

Beginning December 1st we are using a new registration platform!



Mammoths of the San Pedro Valley
February 28, 2023

Did you know that we had large Ice Age mammals in southern Arizona? At the Murray Springs archeological site along the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista we will learn about the Pleistocene megafauna which roamed the savannahs. Alongside these mammals lived the Clovis people, great hunters, which we know from their fluted projectile points. For lunch we will stop at the Holy Trinity Monastery. Our last activity will be combing the St. David Formation for gypsum crystals. For this trip we will meet at Park Place Mall, then transfer to vans for the duration of the day. The trip will run 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

$90/Person Member or $99/Person Non-Member

Valle Guadalupe: Exploring Baja’s Hinterlands
March 13 - 17, 2023

Valle de Guadalupe is a spectacular alluvial plain surrounded by olive orchards, beautiful vineyards and expansive ranch lands and is an incredible study in contrast with off the beaten paths that open up onto sleek wineries and world-class restaurants. We'll spend our days connecting the history of native cultures in the region to how the Valle has evolved into a wine and culinary mecca with visits to the best wineries and farm-to-table restaurants. Highlights include an afternoon at the tribal community of San Antonio Necua, several wine tastings led by a sommelier, over-the-top culinary experiences and hotel accommodations on the Pacific oceanside.

History of Conservation and the Birth of Environmentalism
March 28 – May 2  (6 consecutive Tuesdays)

Join us for a lecture and discussion series exploring people’s changing relationship with nature. Our topics will include:  The Columbian Exchange…the dawn of invasive species; Silent Spring and the beginning of modern environmental politics; The environment vs progress; Human-caused environmental disasters; Environmental justice; and Urbanization and the Anthropocene. Each class will cover one topic over a two-hour period. You might want to come to the Museum before the class and enjoy a cool morning hike in nearby King Canyon or walk the Desert Loop Trail. Perhaps stay afterwards and have lunch at the Ironwood Terraces restaurant.  Make a day of it!  Sign up for all six sessions or for just one. This course takes place at the Museum and runs from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.

Course Details and Sign-up for All Sessions  $150/Person Member or $165/Person Non-Member
Course Details and Sign-up for Individual Sessions  $30/Person Member or $33/Person Non-Member

Baja California:  North to South
Whaling, Ecology, Geology, Birding, and Ethnobotany!
April 3 - 15, 2023

Led by the incomparable Jesús García and geologist/raconteur, Bob Scarborough, 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 Todo Santos and witness the famous Los Arcos geologic formation at the tip of Baja. Our return is by air.

Itinerary and Trip Details



Cholla Bud Harvest
April 15, 2023
Participate in the centuries-old Sonoran Desert springtime ritual of harvesting cholla buds. You will learn how to collect, de-thorn and prepare this food for longer-term storage by drying or pickling. We will demonstrate cooking a few dishes that incorporate the buds. The natural history of the cholla and its sister cactus the prickly pear will be discussed, along with the health benefits of desert foods in general. This class takes place at the Museum and runs from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Venomous Creatures of the Sonoran Desert
April 20, 2023

The Sonoran Desert is home to a wide variety of venomous reptiles and arthropods and myths about them abound, yet only a handful are capable of producing medically significant injuries in people. Spend the afternoon learning which creatures are truly dangerous, how to identify them, avoid their bites and stings, and provide appropriate first aid. The class will discuss common myths and answer your questions about these interesting animals while providing the opportunity to view some of them up close. This class takes place at the Museum and runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

$40/Person Member or $44/Person Non-Member

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