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Cool Summer Nights May 26 - September 1, 2018 Saturday: Open 'til 10:00 p.m.

Regular Admission Rates Apply

Familes enjoying the treehouse at dusk
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

Guests under floodlit canopy in the Desert Garden
Photo credit: Rhonda Spencer

Children using black lights to search for scorpions in rock wall
Photo credit: Rhonda Spencer

Beat the Arizona heat and enjoy a family-friendly outing during our popular Cool Summer Nights. So what makes these Saturday evenings so enchanting? The stunning sunsets, skies speckled with stars, night-blooming plants, and animals reappearing from their daytime naps.

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, experience a live animal encounter, or participate in special nightly activities. See the schedule below for weekly themes and activities.

Dining options

Pro tip? Arrive early for the best parking!

Mother and child in pushchair, walking the grounds
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

Weekly Themes & Activity Schedule

Activity schedules subject to change — check back often for the latest updates!

May 26 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
Have a creative critter of your own? Cool off in the Ironwood Gallery and enjoy our guest area where children of all ages can create their own Art and the Animal masterpiece! Art and the Animal is a juried competition featuring work from members of the Society of Animal Artists. See artworks from around the world in a variety of media—from oils to acrylics to sculptures and more! Everyone is welcome.
A David J. Wagner Traveling Exhibition
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Desert Survivors
(two 30-minute presentations)
Desert animals don’t just survive — they thrive! Active and interested, our furry, scaled, and winged friends beat the heat by coming out after dark. Join our educators and meet some nocturnal creatures in Desert Survivors.
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 2 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
Have a creative critter of your own? Cool off in the Ironwood Gallery and enjoy our guest area where children of all ages can create their own Art and the Animal masterpiece! Art and the Animal is a juried competition featuring work from members of the Society of Animal Artists. See artworks from around the world in a variety of media—from oils to acrylics to sculptures and more! Everyone is welcome.
A David J. Wagner Traveling Exhibition
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Fur, Feathers & Fangs
(two 30-minute presentations)
Join our keepers as they introduce you to a few of our desert dwellers, and share stories about what it’s like to work with these amazing animals. Learn about their habitats and behaviors, including adaptations for surviving and thriving in this unique environment.
8:00 - 8:45 p.m. Photographing Animals at the Desert Museum, presented by Jay Pierstorff
How to get the best photos of animals in a Zoo. Quick tricks, pointers, and examples.
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 9 — World Oceans Night

Join the Desert Museum in honoring and celebrating the world's oceans. Enjoy free sustainable seafood tastings by Fini’s Landing, Primo, Maynard’s, Hotel Congress and the Desert Museum’s own Craft Culinary Concepts restaurants. The night also includes special splashy presentations in the Warden Oasis Theater and interactive ocean activities for all ages.

6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sustainable Seafood Tastings
Local restaurants demonstrate how tasty conservation can be with tastings featuring sustainably harvested seafood.
8:00 p.m. The Shark Guy ~ Shaun Pipes
Sharks of the World!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fishy Fun Family Activities
Visit some of our local fin-tastic ocean conservation community partners to learn about ways you can protect the world’s oceans.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. The Edge of the Sea of Cortez – Book Signing
Authors Marilyn Malone and Betty Hupp explored, researched and photographed the rocky, sandy and muddy shorelines of the Northern Gulf of California with the goal of putting together fascinating seashore information for families. This beautiful book includes over 1000 photos and sketches illustrate the fascinating seashore life available to visiting beachcombers. Books will be available for sale in the Desert Museum gift shop and Marilyn will be on-hand to sign your copy!
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
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 16 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
8:00 - 8:45 p.m. Photo Class ~ Quick Intro to Lightroom CC (presented by Jay Pierstorff)
This powerful program’s starts to make sense once you learn these basics!
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 23 — Pollinator Party!

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Desert Survivors
(two 30-minute presentations)
Desert animals don’t just survive — they thrive! Active and interested, our furry, scaled, and winged friends beat the heat by coming out after dark. Join our educators and meet some nocturnal creatures in Desert Survivors.
Throughout the Night
Look for Museum Docents around the grounds interpreting bats, 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 30 — Dinosaur Night

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
8:00 p.m. Sonorasaurus and the Latest Dinosaur Science
Learn about the Sonorasaurus (Arizona’s state dinosaur) and the environment it lived in from the founder Rich Thompson. Rich will also talk about some of the coolest dinosaur science and discoveries of the last few years.
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!

July 7 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
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!

July 14 — Astronomy Night

Join the experts from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), Tucson Amateur Astronomers, and Desert Museum docents for a star-studded evening adventure — complete with star gazing and lots of solar system hands-on activities.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. NOAO Kitt Peak Activities
Enjoy interactive and educational solar system activities from National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Kitt Peak. Great for families!
7:00 - 9:30 p.m. Telescope Stations
Stargaze through high-powered telescopes and marvel at the wonders of the night sky.
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
8:00 p.m. Astronomy Presentation ~ Kevin Hainline
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!

July 21 — Insect Insanity

Let’s celebrate Incredible Insects and Amazing Arthropods! The Sonoran Desert is a hot spot of insect diversity and this is your chance to meet them. Tonight, get a bugs-eye view of many of the million species of arthropods that make the Sonoran Desert their home.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Flute Players
Relax, cool off and sample the soothing sounds of Native-American inspired flute music.
8:00 p.m. Insect Presentation
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Arthropods, Pollinators, Arts, and Crafts
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!

July 28 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Fur, Feathers & Fangs
(two 30-minute presentations)
Join our keepers as they introduce you to a few of our desert dwellers, and share stories about what it’s like to work with these amazing animals. Learn about their habitats and behaviors, including adaptations for surviving and thriving in this unique environment.
8:00 – 8:45 p.m. Take Great Photos with any Camera, presented by Jay Pierstorff
Camera phone, point and shoot or advanced cameras? Something for everyone in this 45-minute class.
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!

August 4 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
8:00 – 8:45 p.m. A Buyer’s Guide to Mirrorless Cameras, presented by Jay Pierstorff
Thinking of buying a mirrorless camera? Your questions answered – what you will need to know!
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!

August 11 — Bat 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!

August 18 — Creatures of the Night

The desert is the place to be for lively nightlife! Bats, owls, and kangaroo rats are just a few of the animals that awaken as the sun sets. Explore their world and learn a little more about life after dark.

5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Fine Art Exhibits for All!
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Free Family Art Activities
Families come and go as they please. Multiple Sonoran Desert inspired creation stations change weekly! Dress for art making, children must be accompanied by an adult.
6:30 & 8:00 p.m. Live and (sort of) on the Loose
(two 45-minute presentations)
Join staff members from the Herpetology Department for a live animal presentation featuring venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert Region.
8:00 – 8:45 p.m. Photography: Flash for Pro Results, presented by Jay Pierstorff
Often confusing and mostly misunderstood, using flash in the right way can make your photos better, slicker, and more professional.
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!

August 25 — Creatures of the Night / Teacher Appreciation 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!

September 1 — ASDM Birthday

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!

Couple observing the sunset
Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

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