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Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park

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This native wildlife zoo, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, exhibits more than 40 species of animals and hundreds of species of plants native to the Chihuahuan Desert. The park provides an up-close experience for visitors, with a variety of fun interpretive programs for every season geared for the entire family.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park, formerly the Living Desert Zoological and Botanical State Park, is a zoo and botanical garden displaying plants and animals of the Chihuahuan Desert in their native habitats. It is located off U.S. Route 285 at the north edge of Carlsbad, New Mexico, at an elevation of 3,200 feet (980 m) atop the Ocotillo Hills overlooking the city and the Pecos River. It is open every day except Christmas.

The park has been an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 2002.

The zoo features more than forty native animal species, including pronghorn, badger, bison, bobcats, mule deer, elk, kit fox, Gila monster, cougar, prairie dogs, reptiles, fourteen species of snakes, and Mexican gray wolves. An aviary contains golden eagles, hawks, owls, a roadrunner, songbirds, and turkeys. The gardens feature a greenhouse and hundreds of cacti and succulents from around the world, including acacia, agave, small barrel cactus, cholla, ocotillo, prickly pear, saguaro, sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri), and yucca.


  • Education Programs
  • Nature Interpretive Programs for All Ages
  • Picnicking
  • Special Events & Activities


  • 1.3 Miles
  • Hiking
  • Interpretive Trails
  • Accessible Trails (ADA)

Wildlife Viewing

  • Zoo Exhibits
  • Birding
  • Amenities
  • Gardens
  • Gift Shop & Book Store
  • Greenhouse: "Succulents of the World"

Group Facilities:

  • Group Picnic Shelter
  • Meeting Room
  • Event Rental Space for Private Events
  • Visitor Center:
  • Interpretive Exhibits
  • Mineral Exhibits
  • Zoo Exhibits

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation: Not Listed
Notes: None Listed
HOURS:Memorial Day to Labor Day: 8am-5pm Labor Day to Memorial Day: 9am-5pm Last Entry into Zoo is 3:30pm Gift Shop: 9am-4pm


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