Weekend Trip: Visit the Mojave Desert’s Exotic Animals
By Stephanie Jones
If you’re looking for a way to entertain the whole family, you can plan a day filled with exotic animals without leaving the Mojave Desert.
The Hesperia Zoo, which opened in 2001, boasts a wide variety of animals for a small-town zoo. I went there on a Saturday and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. As the tour guide escorted our group around the grounds, I marveled over a cute little white fox, a gorgeous lion, and playful primates.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the zoo visit was a Bengal tiger. After feeding the tiger a piece of meat, our tour guide mentioned that the tiger can get bothered by visitors – and, as if on cue, the tiger hissed, then jumped up and growled. I think everyone on the tour was terrified for a second! That moment certainly made the visit memorable.
If you’d still like to see more big cats when you’re done at the zoo, head to Rosamond, a small community near Palmdale and Lancaster. There, you will find an amazing collection of exotic felines tucked away in a quiet, rural area.
The Exotic Feline Breeding Compound’s Feline Conservation Center, humorously referred to as “The Cat House,” is home to myriad big cats. From the jaguars and leopards to bobcats and cougars, the compound cares for 70+ endangered felines.
However, The Cat House isn’t the only unlikely collection of animals in a rural part of the desert; in Oro Grande, you’ll find the O.K. Corral Ostrich Farms near the Roy Rogers Double R Bar Ranch.
While driving past the ostrich farm, I took a moment to observe the ostriches. These odd-looking birds are fascinating to watch, and you might hear a noise that sounds like drumming. I wondered if there was a concert going on! In fact, it turns out that this is a noise ostriches make sometimes.
If you do stop to look at the ostriches, keep your distance, as ostriches can be dangerous.
Note: To get to the feline compound, be sure to review the directions on its website.
O.K. Corral Ostrich Farms: 8308 E. Puritan Street, Oro Grande, CA
Hesperia Zoo: 19038 Willow Street, Hesperia, CA
EFBC Feline Conservation Center: 3718 60th Street West Rosamond, CA
Do you have a hankering for something sweet? Do you want a fun family place to take your kids, your winning (or losing) team? Do you want a unique treat for your next party? Well Barstow has the place for you, Num Nums.
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I’m a 21 year Barstow resident, with 35 years of Broadcast experience at various radio and TV stations in L.A., Ventura, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Palmdale/Lancaster, and the Victor Valley, finally landing for 12 years in Barstow at Highway Radio.