Pima Air & Space Museum#6 in Best Things To Do in Tucson
Housing more than 350 aircraft and spacecraft, this is one of the largest air and space museums in the world. Visitors see some of the most historic crafts, including an X-15A-2 (which set the altitude record when it reached the edge of outer space in the 1960s) and several Russian MiGs, which have been used by the Soviet and Russian army since the 1940s. You can also tour the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG). Known fondly as the "Boneyard," this facility features dozens of out-of-work aircraft, lined up under the desert sun (tours of this section of museum cost extra).
Recent visitors described the museum as "fascinating" and praised the on-site volunteers for their extensive knowledge of each plane's historical significance. Reviewers also noted this was a great educational stop for the kids and highly recommended forking over a little extra coin to take the "Boneyard" tour.
Perched near the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in southeast Tucson, the Pima Air & Space Museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission is at 3 p.m.). Entry to the museum costs $16.50 for adults 13 and older, $10 for youths ages 5 to 12 and is free for children 4 and younger. You can also pay a $6 if you'd like to tour the grounds via tram; Boneyard tours cost $10 each and require advanced reservations. For more information, check out the museum website.
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#1 Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Although it's called a museum, this facility – about 15 miles west of downtown Tucson – is more of a zoo. In fact, 85 percent of what you'll experience is outdoors (so dress accordingly). The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's 98 acres host 230 animal species – including prairie dogs, coyotes and a mountain lion – and 1,200 local plant species (totaling 56,000 individual plants). Walking through the museum's trails, visitors get acquainted with desert life. And if you feel hungry after your leisurely hike, you can enjoy a meal at one of the museum's four eateries, all of which have great views of the surrounding desert.
Recent visitors enjoyed their time at the museum and highly recommended future travelers set aside a few hours to explore the attraction's grounds and educational exhibits. Just make sure you come prepared: wear appropriate walking shoes, sun protection and sunscreen (though, if you forget your sunscreen, there are dispensers in the on-site bathrooms). Reviewers also advised stopping by in the morning or near closing as that's when the animals are most active. Aside from the flora and fauna, visitors also praised the knowledgeable docents.
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