Friday, December 19, 2008

It's All About The Cactus!

It's all about the cactus! The Desert Museum (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum), that is. Yes. And then some. We made it our first stop of the day. We planned about an hour there. But the museum is so extensive and so all inclusive a desert experience that we wound up spending the entire day there. It has perhaps the most interestingly presented mineralogical display I think I have ever seen anywhere. The collection is under ground. You hike down a dimly lit "mine shaft" which opens up into a big screen volcanic eruption, a Google Earth type display in 3-d, and display case after display case in different rooms of the mine. They are exquisitely lighted. When you are finished viewing the display, you exit the mine through the ore cart dump pile (which is a pile of mineral pieces and specimens that you are free to pick through and select one for the taking. I took a nice piece of turquoise.

We really enjoyed the raptor exhibit and demonstration as well. A talk about raptors with a look at beak, talon, wing, and skull specimens (hands on) was given as an introduction before a family of 4 Harris Hawks came out for an extensive up close and personal fly session. Simply amazing.

This is the land of the cactus. The museum is the next door neighbor of the Sonoran Desert, home of the Saguaro Cactus, surely the most stately cactus of them all. And not incidentally, the
Sonoran was to be our second stop of the day. Back to the schedule drawing board. But this all brings me to my photographic dilemma. Since the lion's share of the photos today have cactus as the main subject of the shot, and I have been working diligently on a major slide presentaion of cactus, I hated to use a lot of today's shots on this post. So compromise saves the day. Shots used today may have a catus in them, but must also have another subject - a bird, a rock, a critter, what have you. So the rest can go into the "really big show" as Ed Sullivan used to say.

That still leaves plenty of good stuff for today. It was a wonderful experience, we learned a lot, and now can head into the desert knowing a great deal more of what to look for, where to go, what to do.

Desert Museum NON CACTUS Slide Show

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