The Sonora Desert, which stretches from Central Arizona, to the far southeast portion of California and down into Mexico is a diverse desert that changes from high mountains to cactus to low mountains covered in sage brush. It is a hot desert ranging from 104 degrees to 120 degrees during the Summer months. Tucson, Arizona is located in this desert, and this is where I lived from 11 months old to 12 years old.
On one of my school field trips, I believe it was 5th grade, our class made the trip to the Sonora Desert Museum. The Museum was built in 1952 with the purpose of the conservation of plant and animal life in the desert. It was set up with long walk ways that wound between the different plants and trees that thrive in the desert climate and the animals that were hearty enough to survive the hot summers. The animals were in very large fenced enclosures that resembled the desert. There was an education center that you could visit to learn about all aspects of the area.
We took the bus to the Museum which really wasn’t too far from the school. Mary Lynn Elementary was the westernmost school in the city at that time. It was actually just outside the city limits. The “highway” heading west was a paved two-way street and once we got to the turn to make the 6-mile out to the Museum the street was just a wide, dirt road. All of the kids had fun with the old bus bouncing in all the holes in the road. The teacher and her aid did not enjoy that part of the trip!
We broke into groups and a docent walked us from one display to another. We learned the names of all of the cacti, flowers and animals. It was fascinating to see some of the “deadly” animals up close without worrying about being harmed. You could put your face right up close to the glass and get a great view. Remember, this was back in the early 60’ and although there were zoos around there were none close to us. Besides, it only had those animals that lived where we did.
There were Gila Monsters, wildcats, scorpions, snakes, and prairie dogs. I got to see a javalina up close, as well as coyotes and bobcats. I really enjoyed the “Ancient Arizona” exhibit where I got to investigate prehistoric Arizona and its people. This is what got me interested in history, learning about the people who lived here before me!
After we ate our bagged lunches we headed back to the school. Our assignment was to write at least two paragraphs about we liked about the Museum and what we learned. I wrote 4 pages, front and back.
If you ever make a trip to or through Tucson, you may want to visit the Museum. Today it is over 98 acres and there is so much more to see and do. I visited there about 20 years ago and it was amazing even then.
What field trip left a definite impression on you?
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing I Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.