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 1939 reviews


  • TripAdvisor Rating
    June 30, 2022
    T F

    Erasing history!

    We will never go back, and don’t recommend it. Instead of staying to the history the museum is supposed to be about, they are now supporting and showing things “progressive “, that have absolutely nothing to do with history, and they’re getting rid of the things that have been there! Never again!!!

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    June 23, 2022
    bill s

    Over rated

    We had high expectations. Displays inside were largely very armature. Otters were missing in action. Lunch was expensive and service was slow. Entry was $20 per person. The whole facility looks like it was patched together. Too call it a museum is an overstatement. Likely good for kids under 12. Covid recommendations were not present.

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    June 9, 2022

    Excellent and informative

    This is an excellent museum, with dear Ramos and informative displays of the high Desert environment and peoples. It’s also like a zoo, with animals in outdoor living places. Great place for kids. Period

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    May 27, 2022

    Can’t miss it

    We love the high desert museum! We had a great time there today. Our kids (5 & 7) loved seeing a fox, turtles, otters, chickens and the living history exhibits. One of the costumed interpreters in the 1904 cattle ranch area showed them how to do chores such as gathering firewood, watering the garden and sweeping a cabin porch. The staff up front and in the gift shop was great. They also had a fun exhibit going on about cults/ intentional communities in Oregon (including rajneeshpuram if you are a wild wild country fan) which was really cool. The staff was telling us today that they’re working on making their living history and walk through historical exhibits more inclusive of indigenous stories. Overall a great visit!

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    April 20, 2022

    Great Place For Kids

    Plenty of outdoor areas to view nature at it's best. Granddaughter enjoyed everything as she could run from one exhibit to the other...Otters are the best...staff very informative and helpful. Plan on at least 3 hours of walking and observing. Will definitely return.

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