The world’s leading institution devoted to study and appreciation of the Sonoran Desert hugs a slope on the west side of the Tucson Mountains. This huge outdoor nature park offers a complete look at the desert whose name it bears, but more than that it urges visitors to appreciate and protect it. Visitors stroll numerous paths past enclosures holding javelinas, bobcats, mountain lions, desert tortoises and many other Sonoran denizens. Especially popular are the frequent raptor shows, which run from October to April, the walk-through, hummingbird enclosure, and the chance to see Gila monsters and rattlesnakes, rarely spotted in the wild. This is one of the finest natural history facilities in the world, and one of our favorites.