Bend lies on the westernmost edge of the Great Basin, a region that stretches from the Cascade Range to the Rocky Mountains and is often called the high desert. Through the use of historical exhibits, live animal displays, and reconstructions of pioneer buildings, this combination museum and zoo, one of the finest in the Northwest, brings the cultural and natural history of the region into focus. In the main building is a walk-through timeline of Western history, as well as a fascinating exhibit on the region's Plateau Indians. The natural history of the region comes alive in the Desertarium, where live animals of the region can be observed in a very natural setting. Outside, frolicking river otters and slow-moving porcupines are the star attractions, but the birds of prey center is just as interesting. A pioneer homestead and a forestry exhibit with a steam-driven sawmill round out the outdoor exhibits. Informative talks are scheduled throughout the day. The museum's cafe is a good place for lunch.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010