Arizona museums come in many different forms, with the larger cities of Phoenix and Tucson boasting some of the most numerous and best. You don't have to be in the Phoenix or Tucson areas to find a good museum in Arizona, however, as some of the other top destinations in the land have some gems that deserve inclusion on the itinerary. In Prescott, for example, there are at least three museums that visitors won't want to miss, while towns like Tombstone are living museums. Whatever your interests, the Arizona museums have you covered, and chances are good that there will be more than one that suits your taste and preference.
When it comes to naming the best museums in Arizona, there are quite a few that deserve special attention. One of them is the Museum of Northern Arizona. Found in the highlands city of Flagstaff, this excellent museum focuses on four main disciplines that take a look at the region. These disciplines include fine art, anthropology, geology, and biology. Permanent exhibits are housed in one of five galleries, while three other galleries play host to changing exhibits. This helps to keep things fresh. Among the highlights at the Museum of Northern Arizona is the award-winning Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau exhibit. This exhibit covers more than 10,000 years of Native American history in the area. One of the other more interesting exhibits takes a look at how the Colorado Plateau has changed over the years due to volcanic and geologic activity.
Some of the best Arizona museums cater to families, and you'll find one of them down in Mesa. The Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa is an excellent Phoenix area family attraction, especially for families with kids ages two to twelve. A number of interactive exhibits at this museum allow kids to create their own art, and it's worth mentioning that adults can also roll their sleeves up and have a blast painting, drawing, and more. Among the highlights at the Arizona Museum for Youth are ArtVille and the ArtZone. The former is designed as a play space for toddlers, offering all kinds of neat areas, including a play kitchen, while the latter is where kids ages 5 and up can get creative with a variety of mediums.
In addition to visiting Mesa's Arizona Museum for Youth while in the Phoenix area, families might also consider some of the other family-friendly museums in the capital region, including the nearby Arizona Museum of Natural History. As is true of the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is an excellent place to learn about geology, biology, and other sciences. The dinosaur exhibits are especially popular with kids.
The Phoenix area is full of good museums, and this makes it easy to get your cultural fill in the capital. Some of the best Phoenix museums are the Heard Museum (pictured), Phoenix Art Museum, and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The Heard Museum is one of the best places in the country to learn about Native American cultures, and visitors won't want to miss the large kachina doll collection. As for the Phoenix Art Museum and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, they cover just about every possible art discipline and period and can satisfy hours on end. Part of the allure of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is the boldly designed structure in which it is housed.
These are some of the best Arizona museums, but they aren't the only ones that are worth visiting on your Arizona vacation. Down in Tucson, for example, both the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the University of Arizona Museum of Art can be found, and they are surely worthy of a nod. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum offers exhibits on the natural history of the Arizona desert, and it also features a renowned zoo and a botanical garden. As for the University of Arizona Museum of Art, it houses thousands of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures that range from the Renaissance period to the present time.