There's lots to explore throughout the summer

Twilight Third Thursdays

This pairing of music and the visual arts makes the Tucson Botanical Gardens a popular summer date night and family destination into August. On the June 20 lineup: the art of Jenny Day, music by Tesoro, and the Flights of Fancy birdhouse exhibit. Admission is $9; $5 children for ages 4 to 12. There's also a cash bar and food, Isabella's Ice Cream and face painting.

Bat Bridge Discovery

Go batty. Every Thursday, June 6 through Aug. 29, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum stations docents at two "bat bridges" in town: The North Campbell Avenue bridge near East River Road - meet near the bridge in St. Philip's Plaza - and Pantano and 22nd Street at Pantano River Park. The action starts at sunset. bat_bridge.php

Sabino Canyon Evening Rides

Enjoy the canyon after dark - when animals emerge and the moon illuminates the stately saguaros - June 19-21. The nocturnal tram ride is offered just three nights each month - taking a break for the monsoon in July and August. The ride departs from 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road at 9 p.m. and lasts about an hour. Tickets are $9; $4 for ages 3-12.

Mount Lemmon Sky Ride

Soar above the pines and enjoy the coolness that comes with ascending to 9,100 feet in elevation. The ski lift at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, 10300 Ski Run Road, offers stunning summer views Thursdays through Mondays through Sept. 2. The cost is $9; discounts available.

Cinema La Placita

The ultimate summer escape unspools at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday through August. Now in its 14th season, this outdoor film series provides a cinematic escape with films such as tonight's "Some Like It Hot," Billy Wilder's 1959 classic starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. The $3 admission includes popcorn. Find it inside La Placita Village, at the southwest corner of Broadway and Church Avenue.

Summer Safari Nights

Stroll past the animals during the cooler evenings and enjoy music, jumping castles, games and face painting at the Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court, 5:30-8 p.m. Fridays through through July 12. The cost is $9; $5 for ages 2-14; free under 2.

2nd Saturdays

Explore the sights and sounds of downtown with thousands of your friends and neighbors during this popular free event, held the second Saturday of every month. Vendors, musicians and other amusements line Congress Street, providing a carnival atmosphere for an all-ages crowd from 6 to 10 p.m. - which is, after all, the best time to venture outside this time of year. Take the evening to new heights with live music on top of the Pennington Street Garage,

Cool Summer Nights

The night time is the right time during the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's "Cool Summer Nights" program.

Around 6 p.m. every Saturday through Aug. 31, the museum, at 2021 N. Kinney Road, will host themed activities meant to inform and entertain as you take in the local wildlife under the moonlight.

"Summer Nights" kicks off Saturday with its Diamonds of the Desert theme, celebrating the museum's 60th anniversary with diamondback rattlesnakes and diamond gemstones on display. The museum stays open until 10 p.m. Admission is $12. with discounts available.

Moonlight Madness tours

Get a cooler Cold War education during the Titan Missile Museum's Moonlight Madness tours, every second Saturday evening through September.

The museum is offering tours from 5 to 9 p.m., with a smattering of special activities, including seltzer-rocket launches for the kids and space-food samples. Extra activities are in the works for the museum's 50th anniversary on July 13. Tours are $7; free for kids 12 and younger. Reservations are required. Call 625-7736 or go online to for more information.

Night wings

The Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road, is pulling out all the stops for its Night Wings evening events, to be held the fourth Saturday of each month through August.

The facility, the largest, non-government aviation museum in the country, will stay open from 5 to 9 p.m., with tram tours running until sundown, meals offered at the Flight Grill and planned kids activities.

Admission is $10; free for kids 12 and younger.

Dog Days of Summer

Bring your furry friends along to the Tucson Botanical Gardens for its "Dog Days of Summer," every Tuesday through September.

Paths surrounded by plant life provide a unique alternative to your run-of-the-mill park walk.

Take a leash, water and waste disposal bags and head down to the gardens any time between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Admission is $8; $3 for dogs with discounts available.

Compiled by Kathleen Allen, Gerald Gay and Inger Sandal