There are a lot of beautiful places to visit in Phoenix, but many of them are desert and have a specific type of wildlife. If you are a bird watcher or general fan of less dry places, there is a park in Gilbert called Riparian Preserve. Riparian Preserve sports several man-made water basins that attract all sorts of interesting wildlife.

Avid bird watchers will find all sorts of birds that are uncommon in the rest of the desert, according to the Riparian website “Approximately 298 species of birds have been identified on the site.” Many of them are aquatic, like ducks and geese, and you can observe them swimming and hunting. 

Those interested in bird watching can join the Desert Rivers Audubon group, which offers free Family Bird Walks every third Saturday, October through March, from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. They will have an expert to answer any questions, so beginners will feel more comfortable trying out the hobby.

Not all of the birds are aquatic; in fact, I have seen quite a few hummingbirds zipping around. The way hummingbirds move around is fascinating, but difficult to photograph. Since there are so many, though, I was lucky enough to get a couple good shots.

Originally, I am from the midwest, and since I moved to Phoenix, I miss seeing squirrels and rabbits running around everywhere. At Riparian, little critters are running around everywhere and it feels like home. The rabbits are fearless and

According to their website, Riparian is focused on preserving and protecting natural wildlife. In an increasingly urbanizing world where many animals are suddenly displaced, places like this are becoming more and more important. Not only can a nature preserve like this help us appreciate wildlife, it can also motivate us to consider how our actions and lifestyles affect the world around us.

Riparian Preserve can be found at 2757 E. Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234. The hours the park is open are 5:30am to 10pm. Other information can be found on their website here.