Just up the road from our campsite at Brantley Lake State Park is another New Mexico State Park, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. It had been recommended to us by several people, including a Park Ranger we ran into at the grocery store, so we decided to check it out one afternoon.
The park showcases the plants and animals found in the Chihuahuan Desert, including various forms of cactii.
Javelina’s are common in the desert, but we had never seen one in the wild, other than the one that ran across the road in front of Nicolas while he was driving the RV. Here at the Zoo, we met Lena, a rescued javelina.
Another animal frequently found in the desert, which proved to be elusive with us, was the roadrunner . . . and we almost missed this one, too!
Nicolas spotted it as it ran across the path, and we got a quick picture before it flew up into a tree.
Other birds in the Aviary included a hawk, an owl and a pair of parrots.
We’ve gotten spoiled by most zoos now not having the animals in cages, but rather in enclosures that you can see better through, so it was hard to get good pictures here.
It was a cool, windy day when we were there, and we thought that might make the animals more active. These are desert animals, though, so I guess they don’t like the cold! Most of the snakes and other reptiles were hiding, except for this rattlesnake,
The prairie dogs weren’t afraid of the chilly temperatures, though, and we were able to see them out in their yard.
Some of the bigger animals must be able to tolerate the cold more, although they still weren’t very active . . .
Eventually, even Maggie came out of hiding.
Our last stop was the greenhouse, where there was supposed to be a geocache, but we forgot to bring the clue in with us, so we didn’t find it! We did see some really cool cactii, though!
I don’t remember the name of this one, but I love the purple flowers!
There was also a huge hibiscus tree, with beautiful red flowers blooming!
The Living Desert Zoo & Garden in Carlsbad is a nice little state park, and from the looks of it, they’ve got quite a bit of expansion in the works – lots of construction going on while we were there. At just $5/person, it’s definitely worth a visit!