Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Announces Its New Aquatics Gallery
"From the Rivers to the Sonoran Sea"
Tucson, AZ (May 4, 2012) -- Any interpretation of the Sonoran Desert Region would be incomplete without recognizing the importance of the fresh water rivers that flow through it and the Sonoran Sea, more commonly known as the Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is creating a dramatic, new permanent exhibition dedicated to revealing the remarkable story of this miraculous region scheduled to open towards the end of 2012.
"Without this sea and the summer monsoon that brings moisture from it, the lush Sonoran Desert known today would be an entirely different place," states Craig Ivanyi, Executive Director of the museum. "This body of water truly represents a full half of the Sonoran Desert Region - literally 100,000 square miles of desert-ocean and an astounding 900 islands!"
This new exhibition, "From the Rivers to the Sonoran Sea" will highlight the roles of the region's rivers, including the mighty Colorado, and the Gulf of California. Two galleries are planned: one highlighting the region's freshwater rivers and aquatic life and the other featuring the Sea of Cortez and representative sea life. Primary funding for the new exhibition was generously provided by the Bert W. Martin Foundation.
The galleries will encompass over 11,000 square feet and include 14 tanks displaying a variety of fresh- and salt-water sea life. The exhibition area will also include two "touch tanks" with marine invertebrates and fish for a hands-on encounter for visitors. The touch tank experience will rotate throughout the day with only one tank on exhibition at a time allowing recuperation time for the water and marine life. A visit to the new Aquatics Gallery will be included with purchase of a general admission ticket.
This sea is extremely diverse containing one of the world's smallest and most endangered marine mammals, the vaquita, a rare type of porpoise, migratory whales that no longer migrate, over 800 types of fish, five species of sea turtles, and the little-known American crocodile. In addition to the varied species of wildlife, the Sea of Cortez provides much of the moisture for the region's summer rains which have tremendously influenced vegetation on the terrestrial part of the Sonoran Desert Region.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of the nation's leading outdoor, living museums, featuring more than 230 animals and 1,200 varieties of desert plants. Its mission is to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the dual-nation, Sonoran Desert. The museum is located at 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson, nestled between Saguaro National Park (West) and Tucson Mountain Park. It is open daily year round with operating hours varying by season. Call (520) 883-2702 or visit www.desertmuseum.org for more information.
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