Monday, February 2, 2015

Tucson and the Saguaro National Park

When we moved to the Southwest, I kept asking Fionn, "Where are all the cactuses?" I was expecting the giant, gangly armed cactuses you see in all those cowboy movies. Wasn't that typical Texas??

As it turns out, those giants (called Saguaros) are unique to Arizona, California and Northern Mexico. The best you'll find in Texas are the short, stubby kind like they sell in the Mexican grocery store. So when we visited Tucson, Arizona I couldn't wait to see my first "real" cactus!

And boy, I got cactuses in spades when I was in Tucson.

Right outside of Tucson is the Saguaro National Park, a giant expanse of land with, what else? A bazillion Saguaro Cactuses. There's also Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a really cool interactive museum all about the desert, with plants, animals, and lots of walking trails.

As you walk around the museum, you get to see all kinds of desert plants, from different species of cacti to flowers to stumpy scrub brush. We often think of the desert as being barren and desolate, but this museum really showed you how much life is out there and all the cool ways they manage to adapt to such harsh conditions.

The other really cool thing about the museum was all the animals! It was so cool seeing these animals up close, especially the hummingbirds and one very friendly otter who was fascinated by Fionn's hat.

We also met a very scary mountain lion. Even though he was behind a thick plexiglas wall, he paced back and forth licking his chops when we stopped to take his picture. He reminded me of a hungry housecat watching birds through the window...except we were the birds...

After spending an afternoon at the Saguaro National Park, I came away with an appreciation for all the desert had to offer. The Saguaro Cactus is amazing-it can grow to 70 ft tall and live to be 200 years old! A 10-year-old Saguaro might only be 1.5 inches tall. So seeing the giant ones is pretty amazing.

The desert is growing on me, y'all!

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