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High Desert Museum expands, adds programs

BEND, Ore. - The High Desert Museum has opened the newly enclosed E.L. Wiegand Pavilion, doubling its educational space and allowing for new special new programs featuring soaring raptors and other live animals inside this new high-tech, warm, inviting area.

A significant grant of $250,000 allowed the Museum to enclosed the open-air pavilion at the Museum's Donald M. Kerr Birds of Prey Center. The project allows programs to be held there year-round and help meet the needs of the community and schools. The new space is called the E.L. Wiegand Pavilion in honor of the Reno, Nevada-based foundation which awarded the Museum a grant for the project.

The Museum opened the new pavilion on Nov. 17 for the kickoff of a new program, Survivor: Animals Adapt. The program continues at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Nov. 20-21 and 23-24. (The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day.)

The program features a Harris hawk and barn owl that flies over the audience to show the adaptations that allow these raptors to survive in the High Desert's environment. To demonstrate the barn owl's remarkable hearing, curators re-create the high-pitched squeak of a mouse, which cannot be heard with the human ear, luring the owl toward a morsel of mouse meat.

Also in the program is North America's second-largest rodent, the porcupine. This animal is usually quite elusive, so it's special to see this tree-dwelling species' and its fascinating adaptations for thriving in the High Desert – they are amazing climbers.

Our skunk sniffs out grubs, and a peregrine falcon, the world's fastest animal, also swoops over the audience. Kids are a part of the action as they come up on stage as curators highlight animal adaptations to dramatic environmental shifts in the High Desert.

Tickets for the program are $6 plus Museum admission. Members, $4. Day-of-show tickets are available at the Museum. Advance tickets sold online at:

The new pavilion features a stacking, moveable window system rather than walls, to maintain the connection between visitors and the outdoors. Windows allow views of the High Desert environment during cold months, and in warmer weather, can be pushed back to provide an open-air environment.

A new projector and screen system allow audiovisual elements to be added easily to any program, and to screen films. New theater lighting and backstage entrances also enhance special programs on the stage.

With more than 150,000 visitors annually, the Museum's education space had reached capacity, with the 1,475-square-foot pavilion a critical space for public educational programs for visitors of all ages.

Winter hours and lower rates are in effect: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through April 30. Adults, $12; ages 65 plus, $10; ages 5-12, $7; ages 4 and younger, free.

                                                              About the High Desert Museum
The High Desert Museum is nationally acclaimed for inspiring stewardship of the natural and cultural resources of the High Desert. It offers close-up wildlife encounters, living history performances, Native American and Western art, nature trails, tours and special programs for all ages. An independent, nonprofit educational institution, it is on 135 forested acres, five minutes from Bend on South Highway 97. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily May 1 through Oct. 31. Adults, $15; seniors (65 plus), $12; ages 5-12, $9; ages 4 and younger and all members, free. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily Nov. 1 through April 30. Adults, $12; ages 65 plus, $10; ages 5-12, $7; ages 4 and younger, free. Closed July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  

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