Signs of all types, including one from the Jerry's Lee Ho Market, middle, are on display as final preparations are being made at the Ignite Sign Art Museum on Oct. 9, 2018 in Tucson.

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We all know Tucson is known for its clear skies and sunny weather. The warm weather allows locals and visitors alike to participate in various outdoor activities, like hiking and outdoor markets, nearly year-round. 

But did you know that we have just as many, if not more, indoor activities? One of the best things to do indoors is exploring some of the many museums and art galleries we have around the city. 

Keep in mind that hours of operation may change with the seasons, so it’s best to double-check before heading out. 

Here are 31 Tucson museums and galleries (listed in alphabetical order) worth checking out:

Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum

Chuck Huus, from Maine, takes a closer look at a display at the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum, inside the old Pima County Courthouse.

If you’re a fan of the annual Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase that rolls into Tucson every February, you’ll enjoy this museum. The museum has galleries focusing on gem and mineral evolution, minerals native to Arizona and Mexico, and, of course, stunning gems.

Where: 115 N. Church Ave.

Tickets: $15 for general admission. Discounts are available for seniors 65+, active military, students with ID and kids ages 4 to 12.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Arizona History Museum

This statue of John Campbell Greenway is outside of the Arizona History Museum on Thursday, April 21, 2011.

This history museum is operated by the Arizona Historical Society, an organization dedicated to preserving Arizona’s history since the late 1800s. The museum features a transportation gallery that shows how Arizonans used to get around and how that evolved over time. Other exhibits include a miner’s hall and historical treasures such as Spanish Colonial silver, and jewelry from a former emperor and empress.

Where: 949 E. Second St.

Tickets: $12 for general admission; $11 for seniors $65+, active duty military or veterans, and students ages 14 and up.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Visitors walk a trail as the sun sets over the grounds at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum during Cool Summer Nights, Mad About Monsoons, Tucson, Ariz., July 16, 2022.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is an absolute must-see while in Tucson. This museum embodies the best of the Sonoran Desert’s flora and fauna. While there, check out the gardens, raptor flights and native Arizona wildlife. Plus, enjoy a stingray touch experience, too! There’s a little something for everyone here.

Where: 2021 N. Kinney Road

Tickets: $29.95 for general admission ($24.95 if you’re an Arizona or Sonora resident). Discounts are available for seniors 65+, active or retired military members, children and low-income families. 

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Arizona State Museum

Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Ariz. on January 10, 2022.

If you've ever been to the University of Arizona campus, you’ve undoubtedly walked by the Arizona State Museum. It’s the large building to your left as soon as you walk from the Main Gate Square area.

“ASM curates millions of archaeological, ethnographic, and modern objects created by the Indigenous peoples of the region,” according to their website. They also have an expansive library and archive system. 

Where: 1013 E. University Blvd.

Tickets: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors 65+, military members and more; free for local college students with ID, Native Americans and SNAP card holders.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Children’s Museum

Blaire Manalisay, left, 6, puts her groceries away inside the restaurant attraction at The Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. 6th Ave., in Tucson, Ariz. on March 25, 2021.

The Children’s Museum is the perfect place to take the kiddos in your life. The downtown museum offers 10 fun indoor exhibits for kids to explore and learn about things like gravity, electricity and public safety. There’s also a roomy courtyard for kids to run around in. Don’t forget to check out their smaller sister location in Oro Valley, too!

Where: Downtown, 200 S. Sixth Ave.; Oro Valley, 11015 N. Oracle Road

Tickets: Downtown: $11 per person; free for kids under 12 months; discounts are available for SNAP or WIC card holders and military families. Oro Valley: $7 per person; free for kids under 12 months.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Coit Museum of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Assistant curator Stephen Hall opens drawers in the Willis R. Brewer Memorial Room to reveal even more pharmaceutical artifacts at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy Museum on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.

This is one of the more unique museums that Tucson has to offer. The museum initially opened in 1966 with the help and collection of a former Tucson pharmacist. The museum is currently closed due to a new exhibit being installed but is set to open toward the end of the year.

Where: 1703 E. Mabel St.

Tickets: Not currently available.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Decode Gallery

This submission-based photography gallery features exhibits from local and international photographers. “Our objective at Decode Gallery is to support emerging fine art photographers, and give them the important opportunity to show their work. Fine art photography was meant to be shown in a physical space, we help artists get there!” the museum says on their website.

Where: 320 S. Convent Ave.

Tickets: Free 

For more information, visit the museum's website.

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun

The once-isolated DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun on North Swan Road attracts visitors from around the globe.

The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun has “six permanent collections of paintings that trace historical events and native cultures of the Southwest,” according to their website. They also offer a rotating collection of original DeGrazia artworks.

Where: 6300 N. Swan Road

Tickets: $8 for adults; $5 for people ages 12-18; free for kids under 12.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Etherton Gallery

Terry Etherton, owner of Etherton Gallery, places a framed photograph in a box while packing up items at 135 S. Sixth Ave., in Tucson, May 26, 2021. After 33 years on South Sixth Ave., Etherton moved his gallery to a new location in Barrio Viejo, across from the Tucson Convention Center.

The Etherton Gallery is a photo enthusiast’s dream. The place is filled with “20th century and contemporary fine art photography,” according to their Facebook page. The gallery presents five specially curated exhibitions each year.

Where: 340 S. Convent Ave.

Tickets: Free

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Ariz. on January 10, 2022.

Take a trip out of this world at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium. Learn about our solar system or go back in time and learn about fossils, minerals and meteorites at one of the museum’s exhibits. If you’re looking for something a little more otherworldly, check out the museum’s laser shows.

Where: 1601 E. University Blvd.

Tickets: $9 for adults; $8 for seniors 55+ and military members; $7 for kids 4-17 and college students with ID; $3 for SNAP card holders.

For more information, visit the museum's website.


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Fort Lowell Museum

The Fort Lowell Museum located at 2900 N. Craycroft Road, on Aug. 21, 2020.

The Fort Lowell Museum at Fort Lowell Park is an 1880s adobe reproduction of officers’ quarters during the Apache Wars. The park remains open, but the museum is temporarily closed until further notice.

Where: 2900 N. Craycroft Road

Tickets: Not currently available.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Franklin Auto Museum

A row of Franklin cars can be viewed at the Franklin Auto Museum. The museum has 23 HH Franklin vehicles that were popular in the first half of the 20th century. Only 3500 exist in the world today.

With this impressive collection of Franklin cars at the Franklin Auto Museum, you'll see how people used to cruise around in style. Franklin brand cars were produced from 1902 to 1934 and stopped production due to fallout from the Great Depression. The museum reopens in mid-October!

Where: 1405 E. Kleindale Road

Tickets: $12 for adults; $10 for seniors 62+; $5 for teens and students; free for kids under 12.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Gadsden-Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum

A group of toy train enthusiasts have "amassed an extensive collection of classic and vintage trains." You can get a preview of the exhibits online!

Where: 3975 N. Miller Ave.

Tickets: $5

For more information, visit the museum's website

 

Hall of Champions

A pedestrian walks past The University of Arizona's Kathleen "Rocky" LaRose Legacy Lane in front of The Jim Click Hall of Champions, 1766 E. University Blvd., at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. on May 20, 2020.

The UA Hall of Champions pays homage to over 100 years of Arizona athletics. The museum offers rotating exhibits featuring some of the best college athletes to ever play the game. The hall is open to the public.

Where: 1766 E. University Blvd.

Tickets: Free on weekdays

For more information, visit the museum's website

Ignite Sign Art Museum

Illuminate your day with a visit to the Ignite Sign Art Museum. This museum in midtown houses a large collection of historic neon signs. Some of the signs you can find here include Molina's Midway Restaurant, the De Anza Drive-In Theater and an old Arby’s sign, just to name a few.

Where: 331 S. Olsen Ave.

Tickets: $12 for general admission; $10 for seniors 65+, military members and students with ID; $8 for kids ages 6-17; free for kids under 6.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

International Wildlife Museum

Go on a global trek at this museum and learn about more than 400 types of mammals, birds and even insects. The International Wildlife Museum features taxidermied animals, hands-on exhibits and interactive computers with programs to help you learn about wildlife and the ongoing efforts to conserve it.

Where: 4800 W. Gates Pass Road

Tickets: $10 for adults; $7 for seniors 62+ and military with ID; $5 for kids ages 4-12; free for kids under 3.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Every third Thursday night, MOCA opens its doors for free.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as MOCA, sits in an old repurposed firehouse in downtown Tucson. Aside from the cool building, find tons of contemporary art in one of the museum’s rotating exhibits. The museum includes art from local artists and beyond.

Where: 265 S. Church Ave.

Tickets: $7 for adults; $4 for seniors and students; free for kids.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Museum of Optics

The Optical Sciences Building at the University of Arizona in Tucson on July 23, 2018.

Find historic and antique lenses, cameras, telescopes and microscopes at this museum. The John E. Greivenkamp Museum of Optics' online collection is currently undergoing updates but you can visit in person at the UA’s Wyant College of Optical Sciences.

Where: 1630 E. University Blvd.

Tickets: Free 

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Old Pascua Museum

Learn about the history and culture of the Pascua Yaqui tribe at this museum. “The facility houses photos, artworks, newspaper clippings, books and films all focusing on the Yaqui community of Old Pascua and its members,” according to its Facebook page.

Where: 856 W. Calle Santa Ana

Tickets: Free

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Philabaum Glass Gallery

Various glassworks on display at the Philabaum Glass Gallery located at 711 S 6th Avenue, on Sept. 19, 2020.

This glass gallery is Southern Arizona’s only all-glass gallery, according to their website. This slightly hidden museum features stunningly fragile creations by glass artists from across the country.

Where: 711 S. Sixth Ave.

Tickets: Free

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Pima Air & Space Museum

Visitors get a look at the Lockheed EC-121T Warning Star under monsoon clouds for Pima Air & Space Museum's Night Wings, Tucson, Ariz., July 23, 2022.

Find your wings at this museum dedicated to the history of flight and aircraft. The museum highlights historic aircraft like planes and helicopters. You can even find Presidents Kennedy and Johnson’s Air Force One plane here!

Where: 6000 E. Valencia Road

Tickets: One-day passes are $18.50 for adults ($15.25 for Pima County residents); $15.75 for seniors 65+; $12 for kids ages 5-12; free for kids under 4.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum

Take a trip back in time and see how Tucsonans used to live at this re-creation of the presidio established here in 1775. The museum offers re-enactments and demonstrations called Living History Days at least once a month in the fall. 

Where: 196 N. Court Ave.

Tickets: $8 for adults; $5 for kids ages 6-13. A $3 discount is available for military members, seniors 65+ and Pima County residents.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Rodeo Parade Museum

This D-2 delivery wagon was manufactured by Ronstadt Wagon Works, Tucson, AZ and used by Steinfeld's Store in Tucson. It is part of the collection at the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum and was donated by Harold Steinfeld. It has on board a vintage folding wooden box used by delivery crews in Tucson, AZ. Photo taken Thursday, March 27, 2014.

Learn more about a decades-old Tucson tradition: The Tucson Rodeo Parade. This museum includes more than 100 horse-drawn carriages and exhibits honoring Tucson’s past and current rodeo traditions. The museum is currently closed for the summer but reopens in November.

Where: 4823 S. Sixth Ave.

Tickets: $10 for adults; $9 for seniors; $2 for kids. A 50% discount is available for military members and their families (with ID).

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Southern Arizona Transportation Museum

Southern Pacific 1673 under the lights as sun sets over the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum at the railroad depot downtown, Tucson, Ariz., May 6, 2021.

All aboard! This museum gives you a peek into Tucson’s train history with interactive exhibits. Check out a real locomotive and have your train questions answered by volunteers at “Locomotive Saturdays” held year-round at the museum.

Where: 414 N. Toole Ave.

Tickets: Free

For more information, visit the museum's website.

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

The rotunda leads to several galleries of different types and styles of miniatures at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, 4455 East Camp Lowell Drive, on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Tucson, AZ.

If you’re looking for a smaller take on museum exhibits, check out The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures. The museum showcases more than 500 dollhouses and little room boxes filled with miniature objects. This is a unique experience for all ages!

Where: 4455 E. Camp Lowell Dr.

Tickets: $11.50 for adults; $9.50 for seniors 65+ and military members; $8 for students, and kids and teens ages 4-17; free for kids under 3. (Purchase your tickets online and save $1 per ticket!)

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Tucson Auto Museum

This automobile museum features historic and classic cars from the last 100 years. Check out their 1913 Ford Model T Roadster, 1955 Cadillac custom limo, 1966 Batmobile replica and 1981 DeLorean, plus much more. The museum is currently closed but opens up for its fall season on Oct. 20!

Where: 990 S. Cherry Ave.

Tickets: $10 for general admission; $8 for seniors and veterans.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Tucson Desert Art Museum

This east-side museum houses several exhibits honoring life in the American Southwest, including a permanent exhibit that explores the “lives of early pioneer women through the evolution of their undergarments,” according to their website. They also have an exhibit that dives into the history of desert landscapes in cinema. The museum is currently closed for summer but opens back up in October.

Where: 7000 E. Tanque Verde Road

Tickets: Gallery admission is free. Exhibit admission cost: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors; $6 for students; free for Blue Star military families.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Tucson Jewish Museum

Program specialist Robert Yerachmiel Snyderman, right, explains to Stan Nevins about this 2003 Parade magazine cover featuring a 1939 photograph of passengers aboard the S.S. St. Louis at the Holocaust History Center at the Tucson Jewish Museum, 564 S. Stone Ave., on Jan. 28, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. 

The Tucson Jewish Museum & Holocaust Center aims to preserve the memories of Jewish experiences throughout Tucson and Southern Arizona. The museum’s Holocaust Center “presents the Holocaust through the life experiences of more than 260 Holocaust survivors who both survived Nazi persecution and later lived in Southern Arizona,” according to their website.

Where: 564 S. Stone Ave.

Tickets: Museum admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Tucson Museum of Art

Auguste Rodin's Adam stands on the lowest level of the Tucson Museum of Art, in one of several galleries utilizing underground space, Tucson, Ariz., July 8, 2021.

The Tucson Museum of Art features “Latin American Art, Art of the American West and Modern and Contemporary Art,” according to their website. The museum aspires to connect “art to life” within the community. Plus, the museum’s layout makes it so much fun to walk through!

Where: 140 N. Main Ave.

Tickets: $12 for adults; $10 for seniors 65+; $7 for college students and teens 13-17; free for kids under 12, veterans and active duty military members.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

UA Center for Creative Photography

Lynn Richards, exhibition specialist, touches up paint on the wall between prints at a Richard Avedon exhibit at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, on Dec. 7, 2018.

Take a break from traditional artwork like paintings and sculptures and enjoy the art of photography at this museum. The museum offers plenty of rotating exhibits throughout the year to keep things fresh.

They also have an impressive archive collection with over “eight million archival objects in the Center's collection including negatives, work prints, contact sheets, albums, scrapbooks, correspondence, writings, audiovisual materials and memorabilia,” according to their website.

Where: 1030 N. Olive Road

Tickets: Free

For more information, visit the museum's website.

UA Museum of Art

While you’re checking out the Center for Creative Photography, don’t forget to check out the UA Museum of Art next door. Make sure to check out the Woman-Ochre painting by Willem de Kooning, which was stolen from the museum nearly 40 years ago. The painting has since been returned and restored to the museum where it will forever stay.

Where: 1031 N. Olive Road

Tickets: $8 for general admission; $6 for seniors 65+; free for UA students, faculty and staff with ID, active military members, SNAP card holders, individuals with Tribal ID, and kids.

For more information, visit the museum's website.


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Digital Features Reporter

Elvia is a journalism and history graduate from the University of Arizona. She hopes to create stories that show what makes Tucson and its community special. 🌵