The International Wildlife Museum is located in Tucson, Arizona, and showcases a huge number of stuffed animal and wildlife species (including fossils) complete with accurate backdrops to really get an idea of their environment.
The museum was founded in 1988 and has since grown to have some 400 species of animals, birds and insects from all across the world. All of the specimens have been donated from agencies, zoos, breeding programs and individuals, and some collections date back more than 100 years.
The aim of the museum is to promote conservation and appreciation of all species of wildlife, and to do this they allow visitors to see the animals close up in dioramas of their natural environment to get a better understanding of how they live. The charity Safari Club International Foundation runs the museum as an educational program to get more people interested in conservation and natural history as a whole.
The exhibits include everything from big cats to cockroaches, and temporary or special exhibits are always an extra treat. The museum staff are always on hand to add extra insight into the displays, and special tours can even be arranged to delve even further into the history.
There's also a Wildlife Theater, with educational films being run continuously throughout the day. Films last between 22 and 52 minutes in length, and it's advisable to check what's on in advance to make sure you don't miss out on your favorite.
Educational programs are always being run especially for school children, and offer everything from field trips and outreach programs to birthday parties and home school resources. All programs are developed and taught by trained museum staff and educators, so children will be getting all the correct information.
The museum is open daily throughout the year, from 9am to 5pm weekdays and from 9am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and is only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The gift shop is open between 10am and 4pm stocking a wide variety of souvenirs, educational gifts and drinks and snacks.
Admission is $7 for adults, $5.50 for seniors, students and military personnel, $2.50 for children aged between 4 and 12 and is free for children aged 3 and under. Discounts can be arranged for groups of 10 or more, and guided tours cost an extra $0.50 per person.
Visitors should be prepared to leave at least 2 hours to fully appreciate everything that the museum has to offer, and for those that want a group tour they'll need to book at least a week in advance to secure preferential group rates.
The International Wildlife Museum is a great place to go for an educational day out. With so many displays and exhibits on offer visitors will be spoilt for choice, and are sure to leave having learnt something new.