From Big Bend National Park, we headed north to Carlsbad, New Mexico. We had a ticket for a cave tour at Carlsbad Caverns National park for Monday, and arrived in Carlsbad on Friday to spend the weekend resting and doing errands. After spending Saturday washing clothes and replenishing our supply of groceries, we spent Sunday morning cleaning (with a short break to play in the indoor pool at Carlsbad RV Park & Campground where we stayed the weekend) and then headed out to visit a nearby state park, “Living Desert Zoo & Gardens”.
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park more than lived up to its name. I expected a desert garden with a few small animals on display, but this was a full-fledged zoo, including a mountain lion, bobcat, bear, wolf, elk, pronghorn, bison, mule deer, prairie dog, several bird species including bald eagle, golden eagle, raven, roadrunner, and various owls, and finally John’s favorite resident, a javelina. We happened to enter the zoo at feeding time, so the raven and javelina who were near the entrance were particularly inquisitive of us, and we had the opportunity to watch the javelina eat. All this for a mere $5 entrance fee!
The enclosures at this zoo were a bit larger than those at the last zoo we happened upon, where I was disturbed at the smallness of the cages. I have very mixed feelings about zoos. I think the role they play in education, conservation and endangered species reintroduction is invaluable, but seeing caged wild animals, despondent and bored, is deeply saddening.