We went to the Cool Summer Nights Program at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for their Insect Insanity night. It was so beautiful driving over Gate's Pass and getting to the museum at sunset.
The themes change every event and there are always animal encounters and the regular exhibits. Some exhibits do close before the end of the program such as the Hummingbird Aviary which closes at 7pm. It is still hot at the beginning and unless you experience a monsoon - it can still be dry and warm during the event. As the sun goes down, be prepared to enjoy the museum in a completely different way.
My son is very into entomology and loved this particular night. He played with a millipede, June/Rose beetles, cockroaches and moths! There was a fabulous talk given by an entomologist from the University of Arizona that my son was very excited to have been able to attend.
Always be on the lookout for nocturnal animal encounters on and off exhibit. On the trails you could see tarantulas, scorpions, mice and even a rattlesnake- always watch. We saw all of those critters except the snake. In fact, one of my son's favorite things to do during the Cool Summer Nights programs is search for scorpions with the black light. You may want to purchase one before you go or you can purchase them in the gift shops.
There are strollers you can borrow to push the younger kids around as they get tired from walking and/or being out a little later. My daughter used the stroller and they are quite durable across the trails and paths of the museum.
The upcoming Cool Summer Nights night schedule is:
July 26 — Astronomy Night
Join the experts from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) for a star-studded adventure. Enjoy special astronomy presentations and take time out to star-gaze through telescopes at a variety of locations. Guests will also enjoy presentations of Creatures of the Night featuring nocturnal Sonoran Desert animals.
August 2 — Conservation Night
Join the Museum in recognizing significant conservation achievements as it presents its Sonoran Desert Conservation Award. Award recipients will share highlights of their conservation projects. Be inspired! A variety of local conservation organizations will be on hand to show how to get involved.
August 9 — Full Moon Festival — Poetry and Music
The arts take center stage at this Full Moon Festival. Witness the unveiling of the Museum's first poetry exhibit. Enjoy performances by the U of A's corrido contest winners. Attend a free photography workshop or art class. Or join in the family poetry and art activities, like black light painting
August 16 — Desert Harmonies
Tonight is all about making music in the desert! No matter what your musical taste, there's no better place to indulge in it! Listen and enjoy a variety of musical performances including some just for kids, like the Nap Skippers. Some of the performances will be by children and everyone will enjoy making instruments at a special build-your-own instrument activity station
August 23 — Science Rocks! and Teacher Appreciation Night
In time for back-to-school, the Museum hosts an evening of science encounters. From mineral and rock interpretive stations to science demonstrations, the museum will demonstrate that science isn't static — it rocks! Enjoy presentations by the Physics Factory, a team of scientists and educators with a common goal: to share their enthusiasm for physics with students, teachers and the community. From hands-on learning to eye-popping stage shows, The Physics Factory demonstrates that physics is an exciting discovery process
August 30 — Go Batty for the Museum's Birthday!
Although the Museum turns 62 this year, it's not contemplating retirement! Tonight's festivities embrace everything that infuses the Museum with its unique approach to learning and loving the Sonoran Desert region. From a complimentary photography class, to "bat talks" from experts, to listening to bats communicate with bat detectors, to bat-themed birthday cakes, this night will be a fabulous fiesta of fun!