Connect with us

Native American Culture

Discover Navajo Nation: Navajo Nation Zoo & Botanical Park

The Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Park located in Window Rock, Arizona isn’t just any ordinary zoo, it’s the only Native American Zoo in the U.S. This magical zoo was officially dedicated as a zoo on July 4th, 1977, and has been blossoming ever since. The zoo is a Navajo Nation Government Program that is within the Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

The Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Park are situated on land called, “Tse Bonito Tribal Park” which the Navajo Zoo occupies nine acres of the 36 acres on the Tribal Park. The zoo started with one single orphan black bear which was donated to the Navajo Nation in the early 1960s before the zoo became official. As time went on, the zoo has grown, people and organizations have donated more and more orphaned animals to the Navajo Nation Zoo. 

Credit Navajo Zoo Facebook Page. In attendance were President Jonathan Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez; Vice President Myron Lizer and Second Lady Dottie Lizer; Natural Resources Division Director Dr. Rudy Shebala; Department of Fish and Wildlife Manager Gloria Tom, and Navajo Zookeepers.

Since starting from one single black bear to over 100 animals of 50 different species including culturally important domestic animals including churro sheep, horses, domestic fowls, etc. The majority of the resident animals are Native to the Navajo Nation and were found orphaned or injured on the Navajo Nation. With the fact that these animals were found orphaned or injured, unfortunately, they are unable to live in the wild. Fortunately, and luckily they have a second chance and are able to live their life to the fullest at the Navajo Zoo which provides daily professional care for these sweet animals. 

Credit to the Navajo Nation Zoo Facebook

The zoo has grown and developed over time into such a magical place. Changes are continuously being made to better and to showcase how unique and one-of-a-kind this zoo really is. The Navajo Zoo wants visitors to come and relax, have fun and not only learn but also to make a connection with the native animals of the NavajoLands. The zoo’s setting couldn’t be more perfect, it’s set among the natural sandstone terrain of Window Rock. It’s definitely a peaceful and quiet atmosphere with 50,000 annual visitors to enjoy and soak in.

Credit to Navajo Zoo Facebook

The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 sq. mi in parts of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. It’s the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. There is such a unique and diverse landscape that brings in various animals and plants. You’ll find exquisite canyons, buttes, gorgeous red rock cliffs, high mountain forests, and low ‘badland’ deserts. The Navajo Nation’s landscape of land is unique and like no other.

Are you curious to know what exactly you’ll be seeing at the Navajo Zoo? I can’t spoil everything but I will give you some insight. You’ll see mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.

Mammals

  • Desert Bighorn Sheep
  • Elk
  • Mule Deer
  • Black Bear
  • Black-Footed Ferret
  • Bobcat
  • Cougar
  • Coyote
  • Grey Fox
  • Mexican Gray Wolf
  • Red Fox
  • Raccoons
  • Porcupine
  • Chipmunk
  • Squirrels
  • Prairie Dogs
  • Rabbits

Birds

  • Canadian Goose
  • Gambel’s Quail
  • Golden Eagle
  • Horned Owl
  • Red-Tailed Hawks
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Scaled Quail
  • Swainson’s Hawk
  • Wild Turkey

Reptiles

  • Gila Monster
  • Collard Lizard
  • Leopard Lizard
  • Red-eared Sliders

Amphibians

  • Leopard Frog
  • Collard Lizard
  • Woodhouse Toad
  • Spadefoot Toads

Fish

  • Bluehead Suckers
  • Flannelmouth Suckers
  • Razorback Sucker
  • Speckled Dace

Invertebrates

  • Black Widow Spiders
  • Scorpion
  • Tarantulas

While you’re visiting the Navajo Zoo don’t forget to visit the Navajo Nation Golden Eagle Sanctuary and Education Center. Take a look at these majestic birds of prey in their beautiful sanctuary. This is home to injured, non-releasable Golden Eagles. I promise you they are living their best life with natural landscaping, a peaceful, tranquil environment, and have many perching opportunities within the 4,000 sq. ft. open-air building. Their sanctuary is breathtaking and you’ll feel at peace, they have a gorgeous pond and waterfall that provides a natural background sound.

If you’re interested in becoming a zoo supporter or want to make plans to visit, make sure to check out their website and follow them on social media for all of the updates. Interested in planning a trip to explore everything the Navajo Nation has to offer? Check out our last article on Navajo Nation Parks.

Howdy, I'm Megan deFabry, I grew up in Reno, Nevada & I now live in Austin, Texas. I'm very passionate about digital marketing and journalism, especially within the western industry. I have a love for rodeos, country music, and maintaining the country way of life!

More in Native American Culture