It would be easy to lose a few hours inside Arizona State University's Natural History Collections. The collection is home to one of the largest acquisitions of plants and animals from the Sonoran Desert and the world. There are taxidermy turtles, deer, and owls. In one room, there's a wall of rattlesnakes and lizards coiled up in jars. In another, there are 2,600 drawers filled with nearly a million insects, each one carefully preserved, mounted, and classified.
For decades, the collection was hidden away in the basement at ASU, where even researchers had a difficult time accessing it. But in October, officials moved all the fossils, plants, birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, and insects to its own building in Tempe with the goal of making it more available to the public. The front half is much like a museum, with skeletons and skins on display. In the back, visitors can observe scientists at work. Call ahead to plan a visit.