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“Living Deserts Zoo in the outskirts of town .. a nice surprise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park
1504 Miehls Drive N., Carlsbad, NM 88220
575-887-5516
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Ranked #2 of 19 Attractions in Carlsbad
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, State Parks, Outdoor Activities, Nature & Parks, Zoos & Aquariums
Activities: Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: Overlooking the Pecos River Valley, this fascinating park exhibits the varied plant and animal life of the arid Chihuahuan Desert region. Visitors can observe caged animals like snakes, lizards and birds of prey, plus larger animals such as bison and antelope, which are held in pens. Or walk along a nature trail past cacti, agaves, yuccas and other native plant life.
Menlo Park, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Living Deserts Zoo in the outskirts of town .. a nice surprise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

The place is worth a visit. The gardens with all the different plants found in a desert is very interesting. They rescue birds of prey and animals - a bald eagle with a missing wing and not able to fly. The center has interactive things for kids as well as the kid in adults.

Visited May 2013
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177 reviews from our community

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Quebec City, Canada
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
60 attraction reviews
Reviews in 103 cities Reviews in 103 cities
203 helpful votes 203 helpful votes
“awesome!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013

Very interesting and so nice to see the plants and animals. The story about Maggie the painting bear is so interesting. You can buy her paintings at the gift shop and so many other things.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
214 reviews 214 reviews
68 attraction reviews
Reviews in 92 cities Reviews in 92 cities
186 helpful votes 186 helpful votes
“A Treat For Young and Old”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

We almost gave this state park a miss but we were in no hurry to get to our next stop so we popped in for a quick look. We wound up staying for several hours. I would consider this primarily an educational facility rather than a zoo. The visitor center provides a treasure trove of information about Chihuahuan desert flora and fauna. The displays, indoors and out are excellent.

The live animal displays are focused on native species including elk, bison, black bear, wolf, bobcat and mountain lion. Maggie the Bear was in hiding during our visit but the mountain lion decided we were worth a close-up look. Apparently we were deemed to be neither threat nor food so he stretched out in the sunny patch closest to us and started purring like a major house cat.

Across the park we learned that not all female elk are favored by all male elk. According to a ranger, one of the females was intensely disliked by the resident male. For her safety she is housed with the bison. The bison are cool with the arrangement and the elk seems to believe she's just one of the gang. Other exhibits highlight nocturnal creatures, reptiles, some native and non-native birds and a prairie dog village.

We especially enjoyed the botanical gardens which introduces the visitor to the variety of habitats found in the Chihuahuan desert. Once again, the signage was very good at identifying the many species. The cactus and succulent greenhouse is a relatively new addition to the park.  Cacti and succulents from around the world are grown in the greenhouse. Some of the plants look like they are straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

The park exceeded our expectations and is definitely an asset for the area. There was allot of construction going on so we will have to see what's been added the next time we are in the area. If you are at all interested in native plants and animals, we recommend The Living Zoo and Gardens be added to your Carlsbad "things to do" list.

Visited May 2013
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Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Pretty nice.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

Enjoyed the plants and animals. Small zoo/botanical garden, but well worth the money and visit! If you don't like the heat don't come during the summer!

Visited May 2013
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Lubbock, Texas
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“A living jewel and a must see!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

This was by far the surprising highlight of our trip (we also did the caverns which are ALWAYS amazing). My wife discovered this and convinced us to go, though I was skeptical. I have rarely been happier to be wrong. This was educational, entertaining, and downright fun. It is a zoo and has several animal exhibits including a nocturnal animals, big desert cats, wolves/foxes, desert aviaries, bison, desert tortoises and more! Also learned a lot about desert plants--my favorite was the ocotillo! There is a wonderful main building with activities for kids. I recommend making sure you have a nice sun hat or grabbing one in the gift shop. It is, afterall, a living DESERT. The succulent plants greenhouse at the end was a nice cool way to end the tour and if you ask nicely, the park ranger will spray you with the hose! Thanks so much!

Visited April 2013
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