Let's visit the donkeys in Oatman, ArizonaSituated at elevation 2,700 feet and on the 38th parallel, the old Gold Rush town of Oatman in Arizona is on the original, now defunct, Route 66. Started in 1906 as a tent camp, its mines had produced 1.8 million ounces (worth about $60 million) of gold by 1931. The boom was over by the mid-1930s, and in 1942 the few remaining mines closed after being declared nonessential to the war effort.
|sign for Sidewalk Egg Fry in Gold Rush town of Oatman, Arizona
Now this historic mining town is a sort of "living ghost town," with about 100 permanent residents. A mine shaft opening can be entered at no cost, and shootouts on main street are scheduled daily.
|mine shaft in Gold Rush town of Oatman, Arizona
|shootout in front of Oatman Hotel in Gold Rush town of Oatman, Arizona
But most people come here to see the burros, which are also known as small donkeys.
|adult burro in Gold Rush town of Oatman, Arizona
Though it is wise to keep a safe distance from them because they are wild and will sometimes bite and kick, that is almost impossible to do. Especially the babies, which are too, too cute and just beg to be petted. You can buy inexpensive feed for the adult burros—just watch that they don’t come after you for more and take a nip out of your shirt or purse by mistake—but you’re reminded by a note attached to their foreheads not to feed the babies. They are still nursing and regular food is detrimental to their health.
|baby burro with do not feed note on forehead
in Gold Rush town of Oatman, Arizona
Burros were brought to the area by early prospectors. They were used inside mines for hauling rock and ore, and outside for hauling water and supplies. Eventually, when the mines closed, they were released into the surrounding hills.
|restaurant at Oatman Hotel in Gold Rush town of Oatman, Arizona
Oatman, Arizona, is 28 miles southeast of Laughlin, Nevada. Getting there takes you along Route 66 through the scenic Black Mountains. They are dotted with cholla plants and tumbleweeds, some of which bear the wind-blown remnants of decorations bestowed upon them by schoolchildren at Christmases past.
More information about Oatman, Arizona.
Things to do in nearby Las Vegas, Nevada.
More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.
images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers