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How to Visit the California Living Museum in Bakersfield
By:James Barnett

The California Living Museum, or CALM, is located along the Kern River in northeast Bakersfield. The Living Museum is really a small zoo that has a collection of native animals to Kern County and the southern California area. There is an aviary that houses an impressive collection of predator birds and a snake house. The California brown bear exhibit is also well worth the visit.

The Bakersfield Zoo

Plan the visit anytime of the year, however, note that winter can be extremely foggy. There is a nominal fee for entrance.

Begin the exhibit at the snake house. Two walkways extend behind a waterfall and down to the entrance. There is an excellent collection of snakes and other reptiles.

Exit the exhibit and continue on the path to the raccoon cage. Generally, there are three raccoons playing and active in the early morning or later in the day. In the afternoon heat, they are usually asleep in the hammock.

Veer right to the aviary. This stop-sign shaped structure is netted and houses several hawks, owls and golden and bald eagles.

Follow the directional signs in a counter-clockwise loop and visit the deer. Several of the deer are very friendly and will walk up to the fence.

Check out the exhibit where foxes, bobcats and skunks are caged. All are local to the Kern River watershed.

Continue and check out the brown bear exhibit. It was originally created for two cubs, a brother and sister, whose habitat was destroyed in a forest fire. The two became local celebrities, but one has since died and another bear has been added to the exhibit.

Continue around to the pond area. Geese, mallards and other waterfowl crowd this pond during migration season.

Stop in the petting zoo. There are goats and sheep, a donkey and a Shetland. The animals remain fenced, so petting is allowed through the openings. There is food to feed the animals and sanitizer is provided.

Check out the turtle exhibit. At times hard to locate, the turtles are generally burrowed underground near the windows. Outside, several roadrunners and owls can be seen.

Walk through the gardens. A path follows a stream down over a bridge and back to the zoo entrance.

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