Located in Bend, Oregon, the High Desert Museum is a premier facility that preserves and promotes the understanding of wildlife, art, natural resources, and culture. High Desert Museum



The High Desert Museum originated from an idea from biology student Donald M. Kerr. Kerr grew up in Portland, Oregon, and began the High Desert Museum to resemble his love and passion for animals and natural history. Kerr’s passion for animals began in high school when he nurtured a baby wolf.

Under the principle that experience and education are necessary to make good and thoughtful choices in life, Kerr founded the Western Natural History Institute in 1974. This Institute became the Oregon High Desert Museum in 1982. A few years later, the Museum changed its name to simple the High Desert Museum to give the Museum a more regional aspect. Bend, Oregon: High Desert Museum - Photo: High Desert Museum

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»Permanent Attractions

Permanent Attractions

There are two sections to the permanent attractions at the High Desert Museum: indoor exhibits and outdoor exhibits. The indoor permanent attractions consist of:

Spirit of the West is a blast from the past. This exhibit takes visitors into the world of what the Wild West was like throughout history.

By Hand Through Memory explores the history of the West and Indians through the journey of the Indian nations that resided within the Columbia River Plateau.

Wild Cats is a display of a variety of wild cats, such as the bobcat.

Desertarium is an indoor display of animals that live and prosper within a desert climate. Visitors can expect to see tortoises, scorpions, and lizards among other animals.

Whose Home is an interactive exhibit designed for children. Children can climb, explore, and play within this house exhibit.

DeMoss Stagecoach is known as one of the historical icons of the West. You can view this authentic icon and learn about its history and significance.

Porcupines allows you to get up close and personal with porcupines. Bend, Oregon: High Desert Museum - Photo: High Desert Museum

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»More Permanent Attractions

More Permanent Attractions

The permanent outdoor exhibits include:

Miller Family Ranch is a replica of the 1904 Miller Family Ranch. In this exhibit, visitors can interact with characters, do chores, listen to stories, and even play games that are relevant to the Miller family and what life was like back then.

Donald M. Kerr Birds of Prey Center gives visitors an exclusive look into various birds, such as owls and falcons.

Autzen Otter Exhibit is an up close and personal look at the playful nature of otters.

Lazinka Sawmill allows visitors to explore what life was like as a sawyer almost 100 years ago.

Ranger Station gives visitors a general history of the High Desert Museum and allows them to interact with one of the Museum’s rangers.

Dig, Crawl, Climb is an interactive outdoor playground that allows visitors, mostly children, to pretend they are an animal that digs, crawls, or climbs.

Nature Walk is a half mile trail along the various scenery offered by the High Desert Museum.

Changing Forest allows visitors to learn about ecosystems, forests, logging, and other things. Each of things discussed at Changing Forest shows visitors how ecosystems and forests are forever changing and evolving.

Earth, Wind, and Fire Interpretive Trail takes visitors through the Pondersoa Forest and shows the effects of various weather elements, such as a forest fire. Bend, Oregon: High Desert Museum - Photo: High Desert Museum

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»Special Attractions

Special Attractions

The High Desert Museum regularly hosts many special attractions throughout the year. For an updated list of the special attractions at the High Desert Museum, visit the Museum’s official website.

Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky explores the history and significance of smokejumpers, who are people who jump out of the sky to combat wild fires. For over 70 years, smokejumpers have made significant strides in combating the negative effects of wild fires. Smokejumpers’ technology is continuously evolving to make it safer and more efficient for the smokejumper, as well as make it easier to control the fire. Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky will be featured until February 12, 2017.

The Buzzsaw Sharks of Long Ago explores the buzzsaw shark that once lived. Known for their unusual set of teeth that was in the shape of a buzz saw, hence the name buzzsaw shark, paleontologists have estimated this shark lived almost 290 million years ago. This exhibit explores the history and allure of the buzzsaw shark through science, art, and hands-on activities. The Buzzsaw Sharks of Long Ago will be on display until April 23, 2017. Bend, Oregon: High Desert Museum - Photo: High Desert Museum

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»Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities

Since the High Desert Museum was founded on a principle that stressed the importance of education, it’s no surprise the Museum has a variety of educational opportunities. The educational programs at the High Desert Museum include camps, classes, specialized tours, and field trips.

Back to: Bend, Oregon Address: 59800 S Highway 97, Bend, OR 97702, website, Phone: 541-382-4754 Bend, Oregon: High Desert Museum - Photo: High Desert Museum

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Bend, Oregon: High Desert Museum