Since they don't fit in pockets and can't be carelessly sealed in Ziploc bags and thrown in the freezer beside the push-up popsicles and meatloaf "for tomorrow," animals must be beheld in their natural habitats or natural habitat-like captivity. Witness them in the wilderness with today's Groupon. For $25, you get a one-year family membership at Wildlife West Nature Park (a $50 value). This membership includes unlimited year-round access for every member of the family as well as five guest passes for visiting friends or friendly visiting strangers. As always, children under five are free.
Sprawling across 122 acres outside of Edgewood, Wildlife West showcases local critters within their native ecosystems. Approximately 40 animals—including black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, javelinas, elk, deer, birds of prey, and the cast of Jersey Shore —scramble, frolic, roll, and flap through the sustainable xeriscaping and wide, spacious enclosures. The park hosts a variety of free or low-cost cultural events throughout the year, including chuck-wagon suppers and a green-energy fair. And with this membership, you'll receive a subscription to the park's newsletter as well as a bumper sticker.
All of the park's animals are, by injury or hard luck, unable to live in the wild. Wildlife West makes it their mission to rescue these cuddlesome critters, rehabilitate them, and educate them about the finer things in life, including caviar, peacock feathers, and avoiding tranquilizer guns. Animals return to their natural behaviors in their native environment after attention from Wildlife West's friendly staff of volunteers and members of the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps. Graduates of Wildlife West's educational program include a bear who was elected Congressbear from New Mexico's second district and a jackalope who studied law and exonerated himself from implication in an infamous 1993 hop-by goring. Wildlife West is open year-round.
- Wildlife West Nature Park has big plans for 2010. One of the biggest draws for the park will be its three new Mexican gray wolves, said Roger Alink, director of the park. – Lee Ross, Mountain View Telegraph
Wildlife West Nature Park
Roger Alink has never owned a television. As a kid, he was too busy with the pigs and cattle that roamed his 160-acre home, and this love of animals and the outdoors only grew over time. In the early '90s, Alink decided to share this love with others, so he and a team of volunteers spent 30,000 hours establishing Wildlife West Nature Park.
In addition to the wild creatures, migratory birds, and GPS-lacking manatees who settle at the park, representatives of the region's indigenous animals and plants live and grow on its 122 scenic acres, much of which hasn’t been altered since the park's inception. Elsewhere, 30 wildlife exhibits mimic the natural habitats of the black bears, deer, pronghorn antelopes, and birds of prey that inhabit them. Two miles of trail connect each habitat, and each enclosure is specially designed for the particular needs of its residents. The same custom care goes into feeding the animals: to keep the beasts psychologically spry, staff members provide challenges that echo the animals' instinctual eating habits, placing meals up in treetops, burying snacks that need to be sniffed out, and arranging candlelit dinners for mountain lions who forgot their wives’ birthdays.
Sustainable practices such as recycling, organic farming, and water harvesting turn the park into an educational example of eco-friendliness. Facilities such as the amphitheater and the heated, enclosed Bean Barn also welcome special events ranging from music festivals and bird-handling workshops to the kite-spangled Wind Festival and the ursine Bear Fair.
87 North Frontage Road
Edgewood, New Mexico 87015Get Directions