The High Desert Museum is located just off US 97
about 3Ĺ miles south of Bend. This unique museum has a wide variety of
exhibits dedicated to the history, culture and nature of the High Desert (as
this region is known). The museum is half indoors and half outdoors. The
clean, handsome building interior contains dioramas of nature and
history scenes, American Indian exhibits, an art gallery and
some hands-on exhibits for the kids. The indoor "Desertarium"
has exhibits of some unusual and seldom seen creatures like kangaroo rats,
bats, burrowing owls and other small animals. Outdoors, there are many large
scenes recreating various stages of the regionís history. Thereís a
fully-functional old-fashioned sawmill, which they occasionally
demonstrate. There are several pieces of antique heavy machinery used
to develop the High Desert region. There are also a few outdoor wildlife
exhibits, most notably a birds of prey demonstration, a porcupine
exhibit and a very nice otter exhibit. Several colorful chickens roam the
forested grounds. A clear stream filled with trout crosses the outdoor area.
The museum is well-staffed with knowledgeable adults who seem to genuinely
enjoy their work. The High Desert Museum is part zoo, part museum and part
nature trail. It is a nice attraction for families with kids of all ages.
Iíd recommend at least three hours to fully take in all of the museum.
Admission is $12.00 for adults (13-64), $11.00 for seniors (65+) and $7.00
for kids (5-12). They are open daily from 9-5 year round. Wheelchairs and
strollers are available. The outdoor museum has a few gently sloping areas,
but its wheelchair-friendly and easy to walk. Food is available. The small
gift shop has some nice and unusual items.
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