Navajo Nation Zoo & Botanical Park, Window Rock

#9 of 11 in Parks in Apache County
The Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park is located in Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the Navajo Nation. It is the only tribally owned zoological park in the United States and is notable among zoological facilities in that it labels its exhibits in a Native American Indian language. Having been operated by the Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation Department since its inception in the early 1960s, it became part of the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife in September 2006.
While its facilities have the unique mission of preserving and caring for the fauna and flora significant to Navajo culture, its existence has also sparked controversy among the more traditionalist elements in Navajo society.
The zoo's first specimen was a bear that had been left behind after the 1963 Navajo Nation Fair by a state organization, and the animal was named "Yogi the Bear," after the then-popular cartoon character. Since then, the exhibit has grown to about 50 different species on display, almost all of them native to the area. In 1976, the zoo, then named "Navajo Tribal Zoo," relocated to its current home and became part of the Navajo Tribal Parks & Recreation system. In September 2006, it was reorganized to be administered by the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The facility's current director and curator is Matthew Holdgate, a biologist from the University of New Hampshire with prior work experience as an animal research specialist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and with the U.S. Forest Service in California.
For travelers who use our custom trip planner, Window Rock holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Navajo Nation Zoo & Botanical Park and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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Navajo Nation Zoo & Botanical Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
38 reviews
  • I have worked for Parks and Recreation about 12 years ago and supervised staff at the zoo. Today, I see great improvement and would like to see some more marketing and development in the Zoo..  more »
  • Great way to see native animals upclose. The animals looked healthy, and well cared for, and the cactus garden with native plants was also well tended. I especially liked the eagle sanctuary and would...  more »

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