Update: There are a number of embedded images from Flickr in this post, however Flickr isn’t serving them up right. Please visit the set to see more.
If it wasn’t for a link to a “Bear Festival” in the Duke City’s Fix Morning Fix, I would have never known about the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, New Mexico.
I went on a hot Saturday afternoon. There wasn’t many people and there wasn’t much of a festival going on, although I did get a free hot dog. Wildlife West has a chuck wagon dinner and country music show in their amphitheater about 7pm and I suspect more of the actives occur around this time. I’m not sorry to have missed the country music.
Wildlife West is not the Albuquerque Zoo (nor is the Albuquerque Zoo the San Diego Zoo). Wildlife West is more of a native animal park which sets native animals of New Mexico in the native environment of New Mexico. It’s not huge but it is well laid out and the animal habitats are well designed and professional. All of the animals, some which are protected and illegal to own, come to the park as human imprints or were injured in some way that they most likely would not survive in the wild. Personally, I find this sort of zoo (or animal park) as much if not more interesting.
The park starts off with a marsh that’s protected with a 6 foot wall and some view niches. I’m not sure if this was an incomplete exhibit or the expectation was to view the animals from the niches, but all I saw were ducks.
The next exhibit was of Dusty the Road Runner. The Road Runner is the state bird of New Mexico and is protected. Dusty is an Imprint. I find Road Runners to be beautiful birds and welcome any chance to see them up close.
I came to the park for the behind the scenes tour of Koshari the bear, for which I failed to read the info panel. I don’t recall how the bear came to the park. It’s interesting that even the Albuquerque Zoo doesn’t have a native New Mexico bear. Other than Wildlife West, the other way to see a native bear is to camp in the Sandia Mountains and put food in your tent. The behind the scenes tour included a guided tour behind the exhibit where we got a slightly closer look a the bear through a chain link fence and the tour guide enticed the bear with peanut butter on a dog bone. Not as impressive as I expected but informative and interesting.
There were a number of other animals that I saw including Phantom the Puma, Farley the Gray fox and Sparky the Lynx. There were also a number of animals that I did not see including the wolves and elk. Most of the animals were smarter than the humans and were staying in the shade. Unfortunately I did not see a lot of animals I would have liked to have seen.
The bird exhibits were left for last and were probably the most interesting. Although the exhibits seem small, most of the birds could not fly. For example Ernie, the Great Horned Owl, right wing was damaged probably from being hit by a car. This is the first time I have seen a native Owl up close.
I would recommend that anyone check out the The Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, New Mexico. The website claims that the park is a few minutes from east Albuquerque, but it’s about an hour from Rio Rancho. I suggest going when it’s not 100 degrees, for both the humans and the animals. It took me about 3 hours to walk through the park with only about half of the animals viewable and I would also suggest anyone going to time their visit with the chuck wagon supper and show at about 7pm. The park costs are Adults: $7.00, Seniors: $6.00, Students: $4.00 and Children under 5: FREE. All of my photos from my last trip are geotagged and viewable on Flickr.