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Location suggestions in Arizona??

Dave Mangham , Feb 24, 2007; 01:15 p.m.

Hi everybody!

I'm likely to be in the Phoenix. AZ area for just over a week in late May/Early June 2007.

I photograph animals, and am interested in basically anything that flies, crawls or runs, but would particularly like to photograph the following:

1) Western Diamondback 2) Gila Monster 2) Roadrunner

Has anyone any suggestions as to the most likely locations to satisfy my cravings? I'd welcome suggestions of anywhere I can get to and back to Phoenix within a reasonable days driving (Kingman, Tucson, etc.).

Thanks, in anticipation.


Juergen Sattleru , Feb 24, 2007; 01:18 p.m.

Not on your list, but at the Botanical Desert Garden in Tucson they have "Raptor Free Flights" every day - one in the morning (I think 10:30) and one at 1pm - check their website. It is well worthwhile - you get very close to the animals and they fly right over your head! They have lots of other desert creatures at the Desert Garden. You can easily spend a full day there - we did:-)

Michael Ging , Feb 24, 2007; 01:43 p.m.

The Arizona Sonora Desert Musuem , has great animal exibits with all the animals you are looking for. You can see Roadrunners just about anywhere at any time, but Gila Monsters are very hard to find in the wild.Diamondbacks at that time of the year will be out at night hunting,so early in the morning is the best time for them.The Phoenix zoo also has a excellent Arizona animals area as well as desert bighorn sheep. To try and find the animals and reptiles in the wild would be almost impossable when its that warm as they are usually out at night. The area around the Arizona Sonora Desert musuem in Tucson is a good area for Raptors,Javalina,coyotes ,and such. Like I said, you need to be out looking before the sun comes up.

Michael Ging , Feb 24, 2007; 01:45 p.m.

I will also add, the Bryce Thompson Arboretum near Globe is a good place to shoot animals in the wild.

Steve Rasmussen , Feb 24, 2007; 01:56 p.m.

Northeast of Tucson about 50 miles is Aravaipa Canyon. I believe you need a reservation to get past a certain point but there is a lot of wild area just before you enter, that has lots of wildlife. The end of May is hot so be prepared. I have seen Gila Monsters here but remember that they are rare. They prefer hills and canyons. Ventana Canyon, just north of Tucson has Gila Monsters on the slopes.

Tim Corridan - Queen Creek, Arizona , Feb 24, 2007; 04:47 p.m.

"out of africa" is great for cats. (webiste). unfortunately, the animals on your list are not exactly behind every cacti, so the zoo's are your best bet. skip the phx zoo, you'll be way to far away from the animals. the one mentioned in tucson, is much more intimate. the phx zoo basically sucks. the "deer farm" near Williams is neat. walk amongst the deer and feed them out of your hand.(about 60 of them) it's west of flagstaff. (about 4 hours from phx. w/ one pit stop)

Tim Corridan - Queen Creek, Arizona , Feb 24, 2007; 04:49 p.m.

i got my share of black widows in the back yard....you can come and take them off my hands for me.... :)

Don Myers , Feb 25, 2007; 04:48 p.m.


Steve Rasmussen said, "50 miles is Aravaipa Canyon. I believe you need a reservation to get past a certain point but there is a lot of wild area just before you enter, that has lots of wildlife".

Yes, you do need a pass, and can get one through the BLM -- Safford District Office, AZ. The problem is it got destroyed in the floods last summer, so what it looks like now is speculation...

From all the answers you got, I would have to say the Sonoran Desert Museum is your best bet, followed by Boyce Thompson Aurboretum. (they have a website: google Boyce Thompson and you'll easily get a link.)

Enjoy AZ while you're here, and remember to wear some sunscreen.

Edsel Adams , Feb 26, 2007; 07:11 a.m.

Salt River Canyon.

Albert Dickson , Feb 28, 2007; 08:34 p.m.

South of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains is Madera Canyon. This is a killer location for migrating birds which include many Humming birds. Any of the Desert Parks will suit your needs. If in Tucson area as previously mentioned, The Sonoran Desert Museum Is fantastic and it is surounded by Saguaro National Park which has tons of wildlife. The national park also adjoins Tucson Mountain park which is big cat country. Have a great trip and like everyone has said, hunt at dawn.

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