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.


Mammoths of the San Pedro Valley
February 23, 2024

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. Transportation included.

$85/Person Member or $94/Person Non-Member

Spring Plants and Wildflower Walks
March 6, April 3 or May 1

Join the Botany staff for a walk and lesson on identifying dozens of local canyon shrubs, forbes and, if we have good rains, wildflowers. You will learn about plant adaptations to living in a dry environment. We will follow a sandy wash up a canyon near the Museum. There are a few places where we will need to walk over small rock ledges. Total distance traveled will be two miles.

Prices and Registration Details - March 6

Prices and Registration Details - April 3

Prices and Registration Details - May 1

Picacho Peak Wildflowers and Stinknet Removal
March 10, 2024


Take a day trip to one of southern Arizona’s wildflower hotspots! You will learn how to identify the different species and about their lifecycles and drought strategies. But, along with the sunshine comes the rain. Raining down on the wildflower party is the recent intrusion of stinknet, an exotic that has spread like wildfire in the Phoenix area. As part of this visit we will assist the Park Service for a couple of hours in pulling out young stinknet plants. Note: This is a service project; that is why the price is only $5 (a commitment fee). This is not a standard Adult Trip. You must be able to sit or bend over and work manually pulling out rather small plants. Of course, the surroundings will be spectacular! We will provide gloves and any tools that are necessary. Transportation from Tucson and Park entrance included.

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

Cholla Bud Harvest
April 14, 2024

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 flavor is mild, something like asparagus. 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.

Prices and Registration Details

Exploring Arizona’s Pygmy-Owls
April 18 or April 23
Arizona is fortunate to host two distinct species - the Northern Pygmy-Owl and the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. This classroom program is a deep dive into the lives of these fascinating birds, shedding light on their biology, ecology, and conservation status, with a special emphasis on how they adapt to the unique Arizona desert environment. What sets this class apart is the invaluable firsthand observations of Steve Vaughan, a seasoned owl expert with decades of experience. This means you'll get a firsthand account from someone with an intimate knowledge of these remarkable creatures.

Prices and Registration Details - April 23

Venomous Creatures of the Sonoran Desert
April 20, 2024

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 morning 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.

Prices and Registration Details

Valle Guadalupe: Exploring Baja’s Hinterlands
May 12 - 17, 2024


Valle de Guadalupe is set on a spectacular alluvial plain surrounded by olive orchards, beautiful vineyards and expansive ranch lands. The area has evolved into a wine and culinary mecca. On this tour we visit the best wineries and farm-to-table restaurants, and learn about the history of native cultures, as well as colonial ones, and their relationships with the land. Distinctively significant is the indigenous community of San Antonio Necua, connecting early Spanish and Russian settlers to the valley. Highlights include an afternoon at a tribal community, several wine tastings, over-the-top culinary experiences and Pacific ocean-front hotel accommodations.

Itinerary and Trip Details

Prices and Registration Details

Birding the Chiricahuas
June 3 - 5, 2024
Southeastern Arizona is a paradise for birders. Join us for three full days exploring different elevation habitats as we search for great birds! Among our targets will be the Mexican Chickadee, Elegant Trogon, Montezuma Quail, Painted Redstart and Red-faced Warbler.  We will also do some owling at night and set up a blacklight to see what insects we can attract. Our leader is Jeff Babson, owner of Sky Island Tours, who is an expert birder, plus has a keen eye for butterflies and dragonflies. The price of this tour is all-inclusive covering three meals a day, lodging and transportation from Tucson. We will stay at the Southwest Research Station nestled in the oak-pine woodland of Cave Creek Canyon.

Itinerary and Trip Details

Prices and Registration Details - Dorm Rooms

Prices and Registration Details - Triplex Rooms

Northern Spain via the Slow Train
September 12 – 26, 2024
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 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-gauge 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.