Service Animal Policy


Welcome to the High Desert Museum! We want all our visitors who use service animals to have a great experience at the Museum. Given the unique environment and presence of other animals throughout the Museum, we provide these parameters to help ensure a safe experience for you, for your animal, for our wildlife and for all of our guests.


The Museum is committed to complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and strives to provide a safe experience for all. We strive to accommodate “service animals,” which are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person who experiences a disability. Non-service animals (i.e. a pet present for emotional support or comfort that has not been trained to perform a specific disability-related job or task) are subject to our policy prohibiting pets and cannot be admitted inside the Museum.


The Museum has a critical responsibility to the collection of animals in its care and must do everything it can to protect those animals. In view of this responsibility, the Museum has adopted policies that govern the admission of service animals onto Museum grounds. These policies are designed to provide the maximum safety for all visitors and animals in the Museum collection. The Museum may refuse entry to any service animal that poses a direct threat to health and safety.

1. To help avoid conflicts and maintain safety, visitors with service animals must check in at Admissions, read or be read this policy, and sign a hard copy of the policy.

2. Please maintain control of your service animal. A service animal must be under the control of its handler. It must be on a harness, leash or other tether.

a. A service animal must be housebroken and in visibly good health. This is important to keep potential health problems from spreading to the animals at the Museum.
b. A service animal that reacts aggressively to the presence of people, animals or sounds will be asked to leave the Museum.
c. If a Museum animal is visibly upset or agitated by the service animal’s presence, or Museum staff determine that the service animal’s presence is disruptive to the Museum animal, the visitor and service animal must immediately proceed away from that animal exhibit.
d. As with all guests, service animals may be monitored while on grounds by Museum staff to assure safety of the Museum’s animal collection and visitors.

3. Avoid restricted areas with free-roaming Museum animals or animals outside their Museum habitat. Service animals are not permitted to have any contact with Museum animals and are not permitted in certain areas that would have Museum animals within reach of the service animal. Restricted areas include, but are not limited to:

a. the Miller Family Ranch and Sawmill, which has free-roaming chickens;
b. the Desert Dwellers show;
c. the Raptors of the Desert Sky presentation; and
d. any presentation involving an animal outside its enclosure (e.g. Bird of Prey Encounter and the Otter Encounter);
e. All such areas will be pointed out to the visitor upon entry and circled on the Museum map;
f. Individuals who experience disabilities wishing to view the restricted areas may leave the service animal with another member of his or her party outside the restricted areas.

4. Visitors whose service animals have been denied entrance or asked to leave because of their behavior will be provided with an opportunity that day to enter the Museum without the animal. The Museum is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animals and cannot care for or supervise the service animal during the handler’s visit.

5. The service animal owner is responsible for all actions of the service animal including cleanup of all fecal material from the animal while on Museum grounds. In addition, the owner may be held liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the service animal to the grounds, him/herself, the animal or plant collection, employees or visitors.

6. The High Desert Museum is not responsible or liable for the actions or responses of your service animal as a result of being exposed to Museum animals. To the extent allowed by law, you agree to hold harmless the High Desert Museum for any damage, injury, or death caused by your service animal.