Arizona Museum of Natural History
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One of the Valley’s best-kept secrets, the Arizona Museum of Natural History (53 N. MacDonald, 480/644-2230, www.azmnh.org, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., 1–5 p.m. Sun., $10 adults, $6 children 3–12) appeals to kids—dinosaurs!—and even adults who aren’t “museum people.”
Formerly known as the Mesa Southwest Museum, it explores the region’s natural and cultural history with plenty of hands-on, interactive, sound-and-light, try-this-on excitement. Pan for “gold,” visit a territorial jail, and scope out the three-story Dinosaur Mountain, complete with a simulated flash flood and mechanical creatures.
Those of us who revel in the nerdy joy of museums will love the in-depth exhibits on prehistoric Native American life and the assembled mammoth and mastodon fossils.
The Arizona Museum of Natural History also cares for the Mesa Grande mound, where as many as 2,000 Hohokam people once lived.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition