Living Desert Zoo & gardens
After a thunderstorm, these dry stream beds quickly fill with flood waters. As the water subsides, it becomes trapped in temporary rock pools for weeks or even months. Trees such as cottonwoods and shrubs that grow along the arroyos benefit from the water.
Our black bear, Maggie, enjoys roaming her exhibit, which includes her own pool for cooling off on hot days. To keep her from becoming bored, Maggie is given "enrichment" items such as egg cartons, pizza boxes, balls, etc. to play with. Maggie also paints pictures with her paws. Her paintings and bookmarkers are for sale in the Visitors Center
A walk-through aviary offers a close up view of several native birds . Many blend in and hide, so look closely. The aviary area also includes eagles, owls, hawks and a turkey vulture. A gray fox exhibit is also located in this area.
Desert Sand Hills
Upon leaving the Visitors Center, the visitor becomes immersed in the sand hills habitat with its wildflowers and sagebrush. Sandy soils, drying winds, and limited rainfall create a challenging environment for plants and wildlife. Plants such as honey mesquite, shinnery oak, fourwing saltbush, western soapberry tree, and soapweed yucca live in this area and tend to have deep, extensive root systems to help them cope with the drying winds and limited rainfall. Many sand hill animals burrow underground to escape the heat, wind, and dryness of the environment. Be sure to look for wildlife tracks left by lizards, raccoons, and other desert animals in the sand.
Animals like javelina gravitate to arroyos that provide them with water and shelter.
Though they may look similar to pigs, they are in their own classification.
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During the 1.3 mile self-guided tour of the Zoo, you'll experience the Desert in all its beauty and uniqueness. At a leisurely pace, the walk will last about 1.5 hours, and will take you through a variety of habitats. As you walk the trail, you'll be greeted by an amazing display of cacti, yuccas, agave, shrubs, and trees and over 40 types of animals from the Chihuahuan Desert, North America's largest desert. The Park is arranged in Chihuahuan Desert Life Zones that take you from the dry, windblown sand of the Sand Hills, through the life-giving Arroyo, to the populated Pinon Juniper Zone, and finally to the Mountain Canyons.