A southwestern Christmas – Vacation in Arizona
Sunday, 22-Dec-13 through Saturday, 28-Dec-13
Christmas in Arizona: A tale of the Desert Museum and the hunt for a specific cactus.
- Up and at ’em kinda early… but no way are we leaving early. Slow morning with a nice breakfast, hot coffee, and a lot being unrushed.
- Leave the house around 11:00, and jump onto the highway pretty quick… though a quick detour to In & Out Burger was found the be in order. Animal style is delicious! Then, back on the road nice and quick, before 11:45.
- The drive to the Desert Museum…. wow. I love it! Such a good twisty and turny drive, and I would definitely enjoy having the Mustang for it! Though in this situation, the huge Turbo-Diesel truck works pretty well too. As a note: Arizona doesn’t do guard rails. “If you can’t drive the route… don’t drive it!”
- Desert Museum!
- Get a year membership as a Christmas present for Dad – actually cheaper than just getting tickets, it turns out.
- Head into the Exhibits, and they’re quite cool! See, I’d been here before, but didn’t really remember it. So it was a refresher course, and it’s amazing! Ton’s of wild animals, cool statues, and neat exhibits.
- Go through the desert walk section, a nice half-mile or so walk through a semi-uncontrolled section of the Arizona desert. Lots of plants, and even a few sections with animal enclosures. Javalena and Coyote’s are seen and photographed, napping in the sun.
- Lots of Saguaro Cactus, and tons of beautiful small flowers; even a few birds.
- Speaking of birds, we caught a short portion of the “flying with raptors” exhibit. It was neat, and seeing the hawks flying directly above us was definitely amazing. I’d never seen a hawk that close before; they’re quite small, but very impressive to see in flight.
- One of the many goals of this trip was to find a small plant tag, labeled “Stealth Cactus” that I remembered seeing at one of the Tucson attractions. I wasn’t sure if it was the Pima air and Space Museum, or the Desert Museum, so my Dad and I kept our eyes peeled searching for this one elusive plant. We must have looked a bit insane, to be honest… always kneeling down and looking around cactus, trying to catch that one sign.
- Moving along, we checked out the rest of the exhibits; most of which were pretty “standard issue environmental exhibit” things. We saw otters and beavers in the riverways, and ocelots and grey foxes in the cat exhibit (right, foxes aren’t cats, we know)
- Labyrinth – this was amazing. A small pattern of bricks on the ground, forming a path to follow. Turns out, labyrinths aren’t necessarily puzzles, simply long walks around a pre-determined path. Usually representing a spiritual or mental journey. I love things like this.
- Move along, finish up, and head out.
- We hadn’t found the stealth cactus in the desert museum, so Pima Air and Space museum it is! We drive over, and stop in quick. I remembered it being in the entry way, which was good because the museum proper had closed about 30min before we arrived.
- IT’S THERE! See the pictures below, following the train from Barrel, to Saguaro, to Stealth.
- Head back home, and then out to Texas Roadhouse for Denise’s birthday! It’s delicious, and the ribs are amazing (as per Arizona tradition). I loved it, and we even got them to do a nice little birthday thing for Denise.
- Home, usual movie or two, then bed early, so’s we could get up on time for a breakfast in the morning.