High Desert Museum

The High Desert Museum reveals the culture of the West’s High Desert through artful exhibits, alluring animals, engaging programs and meaningful history. Otters, porcupines, owls, oh my! 

This cultural gem that has been inspiring families since 1982 and consistently rates as a top Central Oregon attraction by Trip Advisor. With 135 wooded acres and more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, it’s a “must see” for anyone traveling through the area. 

See raptors, otters, porcupines and reptiles up close. During the summer, experience birds of prey swooping just overhead on the Museum’s grounds during our Raptors of the Desert Sky daily flight program. Stop at the 1904 High Desert Ranch Sawmill and engage in a lively conversation with living history characters who believe it’s still 1904! Explore ever-changing exhibits throughout the year. Journey through the history of the Plateau Indians. The Museum weaves together history, culture, art and natural history to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the High Desert.

Enjoy lunch in the Rimrock Café, which serves salads, sandwiches and snacks featuring many locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to stop in Silver Sage Trading stocked with books, educational toys, jewelry, art and more!

The High Desert Museum is a proud recipient of the nation’s highest honor for museum and libraries with the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2021 National Medal. It is awarded to institutions that make exceptional contributions to their communities.

The Museum is open daily except for Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Visit the website for hours, rates, current exhibits, events and the daily schedule of programs.

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Traveler Rating based on 1950 reviews


  • TripAdvisor Rating
    November 10, 2022

    Worth the trip

    There is such a variety of things to do there. You can see period displays, art collections, animal habitats, live animals and a raptor demonstration.

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    November 1, 2022

    We love Bend

    We had a great time in Bend. We stayed at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes river. A beautiful location, right on the river, with a restaurant overlooking it. Hiking out of a park nearby, all along an incredible canyon. Also great shopping in town in 5 minutes and many choices of breweries. We will definitely come back.

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    October 3, 2022

    Highlight close to Bend

    It's only a short trip from Bend and well worth it. This museum is very well done. There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits and dog kennels if you have your dog with you. You will learn a lot.

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    September 24, 2022

    One amazing exhibit after another

    This was not a casual stop-by place. We enjoyed two presentations (an overview and a raptor encounter). Many surprises: frolicking river otters, pioneer area, art, sensitively done native American exhibit, fascinating pioneer exhibit, attractive gift shop, decent restaurant sandwiches (limited options as they were short staffed). Well worth it!

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    August 22, 2022
    Mindy F

    Amazing museum!

    Fantastic museum with both inside and outside exhibits. Loved all the animals and the exhibits are the best I’ve seen outside of Smithsonian! Truly feel like you’re walking back in time. Don’t miss the pioneer logging camp outside exhibit. Huge amount of pride and care goes into this museum and it shows. They even have outdoor shaded really nice dog kennels for free with water where you can leave your dog safely while you visit the museum. Must do with in Bend for all ages!

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