Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

Museum!!?  I would call it a zoo.  If you consider lots of live animals as a zoo you would too.

Fun things:

  1. Mineral Madness:  All around the park there are tables set up.  At each table  there are high schoolers and they tell about their mineral and teach you about geology.  Each table has its own kind of mineral.  You get to bring home the minerals you collect.   My favorite rock I got was the geode.  Geode is a hollow rock which grows crystals in the middle after millions of years.
  2. “Live and on the Loose” Show: Two venomous animals being handled by humans a few feet away from us.  A Gila Monster and rattlesnake to be exact.

I learned there are two types of rattlesnake bites: Accidental and non-accidental.  Accidental is when someone is doing the right thing but might not be paying attention and steps on a rattlesnake and gets bit. A non-accidental is when someone sees a rattlesnake and decides to mess with it and gets bit.  Most of the people who get non-accidental bites are male, teens and twenties, and have a higher TTR* than average.

* TTR is Tattoo to Tooth Ratio.  My TTR is 0 to 22.  What’s yours?

I think kids 7-9 would like this zoo/museum.

(Mom note: Mineral Madness happens one weekend a year.  We just happened to hit it, but it was amazing.  I can’t emphasize enough how great the high school docents were.)


27 thoughts on “Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

  1. WOW! What a wonderful report! I felt as though I were with you and could see and feel just what you saw! It was written with such an adult talent! Thank you, Bennnett, for describing it so beautifully! I enjoyed particularly the description of why certain people are bitten by snakes! My philosophy now is “keep your safe distance”!
    Keep up the reports, I love to read each one of them! And oh how I would love to be with you as you visit each spectacular place!


    1. Thanks Mema. Actually the reason it was written with such adult talent is that mom helped me with it a little bit. I with you were here too.


  2. Cole speaking: wow! You got a real Geode!? Leah speaking: I bet that rattle snake and Gila monster were really cool! what did the rattlesnake and Gila monster look like?
    hope to see you soon. Cole speaking: do you know how much venom the rattlesnake and Gila monster carried? Tell Carter that I’m on the 2nd book in the 2nd series in the Percey Jackson series.
    You actually where luckey enough to hit that weekend!?!?!? Everything is fine in the Altair School. See you in July!



    1. Leah, look at the pictures. The Gila Monster was pretty amazing because they are very rare and also because it had just shedded its skin, so its colors were bright.
      Carter says great job to Cole and hope you are enjoying it.


  3. Since you had a lot of fun at the rock museum, maybe sometime you can come rock hound with us.

    Did you know that I once did some scientific experiments with over 30 different kinds of snake venom? I had to be uber careful, because we didn’t have any anti-venom around. Our of all those samples I found one that contained a protein that the lab still uses for their experiments.


    1. I’d like to go rock hounding with you! I’m doing a project on rocks so I’m learning even more.

      About the snakes – You would have had to been careful. I wouldn’t sign up for that.


      1. I didn’t really volunteer to work with the snake venom, but it was part of the project my boss asked me to work on. It sounds much more dangerous than it really is.

        Ok, so when you all get back we will need to figure out when you can come on a rock hounding trip. Maybe you can even polish some rocks with us too.


    1. I’m not sure I want to meet many of them, but at a summer camp there was someone who made a deal with people and said they could practice tattooing on him if he could practice piercing on them. Even though he had a ton of tattoos – even on his face! He was really nice.


  4. Hi Bennett,
    First — nice writing job! At first I thought it was your mom writing.
    Second — I am not sure how safe this little Ptak adventure is turning out to be. First there was the death-defying photo of you and your brother and mom by the Grand Canyon (I really couldn’t look at it for very long — made me too nervous). Then your mom said the hiking trail in Sedona was rather terrifying, and now you are around venomous rattlesnakes?! Whew!!
    But the trip to the museum sound like a lot of fun — my boys (David, Will and Jim) have all collected rocks and geodes are there favorites too. Did you get to crack yours open yourself? Maybe you will collect other rocks during your travels. But please no snakes 🙂
    p.s. Love the TTR — made me laugh!!


  5. I LOVE ttr! I had never heard that phrase before, but it explains so much. And I intent to avoid ALL rattlesnake bites- accidental and NON-accidental. You should too! Thanks for this GREAT information!


    1. Thanks, I also enjoy TTR, it’s very funny.

      Note from Betsy – I think you meant intend and not intent – grammar police checking in. Also TTR should be capitalized. (I’ve started taking dictation for him or we were going to be at this public library all night and they wouldn’t get a chance at the free wifi.)


  6. That sounds really cool. I’m glad you found that museum. You should teach us about them when you get home. I really like the study of rocks!!!!


  7. Hey Bennett-
    Great post! Your descriptions really made me want to go to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. My grandparents used to collect rocks in the Southwest, and they found some pretty cool geodes. I’d love to see yours when you get home! When I was in Joshua Tree (where you’ve been!) I nearly got an accidental rattlesnake bite just the way you described. I missed stepping on the small rattlesnake only because I looked down and thought I was about to step on a pile of dog poop, so I quickly stepped over it. Then when the dog poop slithered away, I realized that I was REALLY glad I hadn’t stepped on it! Keep the great posts coming!


      1. Some of my grandparents’ geodes were pretty big (like grapefruits, maybe?) but most were much smaller. They spent their whole adult lives as rock hounds. Anyway, keep having fun and watch out for slithering dog poop!


  8. Aloha, Bennett! This report ROCKS! (hehe get it?) My TTR is 1 to 32. Is that higher or lower than average? Am I more or less likely to get a non-accidental snake bite? I guess I’m not male or in my teens/twenties, so maybe I’ll beat the odds. We all miss you and wish we could travel with you, but we love reading your blog posts.


    1. I think that would be high for kids but pretty normal for adults. I didn’t know you had a tattoo. Say hi to Tala and Diana for me.


  9. Dear Bennett, hello hello Aunt Theresa here. For the record I love snakes. Their skin is soft,smooth, cool to the touch. A much under-loved creature. I am from Arizona, growing up in Glendale. When we would irrigate little red racers would slither from the grass to the sidewalk. You could pick them up, and if handled gently wouldn’t bite. Bennett, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. You have a talent for writing, and humor.
    My TTR is 0-32. But, I’m not done living yet, so that number may change. What is the average TTR by the way? Geodes are beautiful. Have you ever made your own? I haven’t, but here is a website link that describes an experiment on how to create your own geodes:
    Bennett, thank you for your excellent post, and I look forward to more. Love, Aunt Theresa


  10. Dear Bennett, first for the record, I love snakes. They have smooth, silky skin, that is cool to the touch. I am from Glendale Arizona, where as you know, snakes and lizards and all kinds of things that slide, slither, jump, and pounce live . When we would irrigate, sometimes little red racer snakes would slither from the grass to the sidewalk. If you handled them gently, they wouldn’t bite. Bennett, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. You have a talent for humor and writing. My TTR is 0-32, but there is still lots of life to live, so that may change. By the way, what is the Average TTR? Bennett, I look forward to more posts from you about your trip. Lots of love, Theresa


  11. I like the description Bennett. It sounds like fun. My TTR is 0 to 24. In class we have been keeping track of where you are going so we know where you’ve been but I don’t know exactly where you are going. Could you tell me?

    With love, from Tobin

    Note from Joy: Della’s TTR is currently 1 to 8, however all but 4 of her tattoos and teeth are temporary. I’ll let you guess which ones are permanent.


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