high desert museum

Summer Fun at High Desert Museum

Hello Bend! With summer finally HERE, I wanted to highlight one of our family’s very favorite summer activities–visiting the High Desert Museum. Just re-opened to the public, and with summer camps in full swing (with COVID-19 precautions in place of course), the High Desert Museum is fun for people of all ages!


Discover the natural world and cultural history of the High Desert through artful exhibits, alluring animals, engaging programs and meaningful history! Amongst their permanent indoor and outdoor exhibits, the museum showcases changing, evolving exhibitions–they aim for 12 new ones per year. Their current rotating exhibits include “Infinite Moment: Burning Man on the Horizon”, “Natural Wanderment: Stewardship, Sovereignty, Sacredness”, and “Nature’s Resilience”. Nature’s Resilience is set to be changed on July 19, so go see it while you can!

Summer Camps

The summer programs offered at the High Desert Museum are amongst our favorites every year. Drew and Emmy have a great time and have been going ever since they were little! The pricing of the camps is also one of the most economical for a week-long camp, and members of the Museum receive a 20% discount on registration fees. There are so many exhibits to explore, the education aspect of the camps is phenomenal, and one of the kids’ favorite parts is when, every day at camp, a new museum critter joins to the group and they get to learn about them. For more Central Oregon Summer Camps, check out our comprehensive list on the blog!

The Museum has listed out the scheduled camps that still have remaining spots left in them conveniently for you here. It’s not too late to get your kiddo in on all the fun!

Non School-Day Camps

During the school year, the museum sometimes offers day camps on non-school days! Drew and Emmy got to go to the Halloween camp, and they went trick-or-treating throughout the museum. They thought it was a hoot (literally—there were owls everywhere!) With the ever-changing regulations with COVID, the best way to stay up to date on current and upcoming events and exhibitions is to follow them on Facebook and Instagram, and check in on their events page on their website.

Also, check back in with the Museum in Fall of 2020 for information on their Backpack Explorer’s program for young kiddos aged 3-5! It is a blast to see the kids learning hands-on at such a young age.

Adopt an Animal

You can adopt your favorite animal at the Museum and help provide the specialized care, food, and medical attention that they require. The animals available for adoption could not survive in the wild, with many of them having “non-releasable injuries”. As an adoptive parent, you are supporting the animals by the staff and volunteers that work closely with them to ensure they have a wonderful life. Animals available for “adoption” vary from bald eagles to river otters to desert tortoises! Check out the adoption page on their website for more details—what a fun gift for a kid!

Become a Member

Our family has so many great memories at the High Desert Museum (we even got to watch the 2017 complete solar eclipse at the museum), and the membership has been so worth it for us. The membership includes unlimited admission for one year, and amazing perks for your guests, not to mention the hefty member discount on camps and education programs. Check out their website for the tiered pricing—there is even an option for a nanny/caregiver add on! Pricing starts at $65. Right now, in support of front-line workers throughout the high desert community, the museum is offering ways to gift museum memberships and passes to those who are putting themselves at risk to serve the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Standing in solidarity with this program, Hello Bend will donate 4 passes to a deserving family nominated by our readers! Comment below to nominate a family for these tickets!

When considering a membership, remember that your membership dues are going towards the care and support of the wildlife. This is extremely important, as the majority of the animals being cared for have limitations that would prevent them from surviving in the wild.


Vulnerable Population Hours: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum is honoring Central Oregon’s vulnerable population, and creating a special hour every Sunday morning for those who are immuno-compromised. See their website or social media for more information.

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