by Linda Benson
Since I am a longear lover, and since it was on my bucket list to see this place, when my husband and I had a few days to tool around the Southwest, we made a point of searching out the old mining town of Oatman, Arizona. Because I'd heard that wild burros come out of the hills here, and hang around the streets. How cool is that? I thought. As it turned out - very cool!
After a long and winding road (not nearly as bad as I had envisioned) I knew we were getting close.
Suddenly, we rounded another bend and it was pretty obvious that we had arrived.
Oatman is a delightfully funky little town, right on an ancient part of old Route 66, and it has capitalized on the appeal of these delightful donkeys. They might have come from feral stock, but this group of burros is not really wild at all, and have learned that they basically have the run of the place. (Hint: the word "burro" is an old Spanish term. Donkeys and burros are the same animal.)
They learn from an early age how to stop traffic.
And where to get food.
Actually, some of the donkeys become pests, as tourists hand-feed them alfalfa cubes (in truth, too rich for these desert beasts) but if they become too pesky, they are occasionally relocated to a rescue operation.
But most of the donkeys are quite mellow. This one is Harley.
And this one, a baby sleeping in the street, I just wanted to scoop up and take home with me.
Mama and baby donkeys are everywhere, and really, the best thing is not to try and hand feed them, but just stop and give them a good scratch (because donkeys like to be scratched anywhere.)
I had so much fun here, I could have stayed much longer. It's an old mining town with lots of history, and there are plenty of gift shops, restaurants, a museum, and much of it is donkey themed.
So if you're ever in NW Arizona, take the time to find Oatman. It could even be considered a long day trip from Las Vegas. And especially if you love donkeys, you've got to put this place on your bucket list, too.
In fact, I can't wait to go back.