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 atop the Ocotillo Hills
overlooking the city and the Pecos River. It is open every day
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.
1.3 miles of self-guided trails lead through
sand dunes, arroyos, and pinyon pine/juniper forest.