A casual visitor to CEDO may enjoy a self-guided tour of our botanical garden, take a close up look at our 55 foot fin whale skeleton, learn about our fisheries program through a video exhibit and browse the books and treasures in our gift shop. Some of the highlights:

Gran Desierto de Altar Botanical Gardens

gate sunset horizontal for top of page

Visitors’ entering CEDO from the lower parking area stroll through a botanical display of the unique flora of Gran Desierto de Altar, the driest sub-region of the Sonoran Desert.  We expect this exhibit to flourish with new signage and more plants illustrating the transition between dune and coastal environments.

Desert Pupfish Pond

You’ll find a living pond replete with endangered desert pupfish. The desert pupfish is a species of freshwater fish endemic to the Sonoyta River basin and in danger of extinction. Originally found in the Colorado River basin in Mexico and the United States, in the Salton Sea (United States), and in the Gila and Sonoyta river basins in Sonora and Baja California (Mexico) and Arizona and California (USA). Nowadays it is possible to find it in small areas of the Colorado and Hardy Rivers, Santa Clara and Doctor Swamps, the Salton Lagoon in Mexico and the Salton Sea and its runoff in the United States. You will have to pay close attention because they are very small and evasive.

Fin Whale Skeleton


In 1984 a fin whale washed ashore at Estero La Pinta. Volunteers helped CEDO collect and display the skeleton of this mighty creature.  The second largest of all whale species, this teenage fin whale measured only 55 feet in length (maximum adult size is 75 feet). Come to a natural history talk to learn more about how these creatures filter food using their baleen plates and other insights into the life of the largest animals on earth.

Earthship Visitor’s Center


Used tires, recycled cans, and sand are the primary ingredients of an “earthship,” an energy efficient structure. CEDO’s Visitor Center is a complex of two above ground earthships, one round and domed, and the other long with a flat styrofoam roof. The two connect to create the primary visitor entrance to CEDO.  Details on earthship construction are available here and in books in our gift shop, located in the round earthship. Our second earthship functions as a classroom and auditorium for CEDO activities. Read more about the construction of our earthships, spearheaded in 1992 by Jeanette Clifton , who donated her energy and spirit to create a model for alternative building.

Eco Gift Shop

You won’t want to miss a visit to the CEDO gift shop to get a fin whale t-shirt or a CEDO hat to protect you from the sun. The best bookstore in Puerto Peñasco, the gift shop carries natural history books in English and Spanish, posters, maps, and tide calendars for the curious naturalist. Our newest gift items include indigenous art and crafts from Oaxaca, Chiapas and Chihuahua. CEDO supports local communities striving to live in harmony with the environment. We carry beautiful baskets from the Tarahumara and the splendid pottery from Mata Ortiz, a community that has revived an ancient ceramic art. You won’t want to leave without a famed piece of pottery from Mata Ortiz. Click on the link above to visit our online Eco Shop, which includes Tide Calendars, and Vaquita earrings and T-shirts.

Exhibition Hall

A traveling exhibit on CEDO’s work with Puerto Peñasco’s commercial divers is housed in the classroom Earthship. It illustrates some of the challenges that CEDO and fishers of the region face as they work to fish more sustainably. A video highlights commercial divers that harvest rock scallop and snail and their commitment to creating marine reserves. The divers won Mexico’s National Conservation Award in 2003 for their pioneering conservation approach to fishing. Click here to visit our Fisheries webpage. You can also find several showcases with bones of different species from the desert and the sea.

Edificio Agustín Cortés


Also known as “the castle,” this Greek monastic style building houses CEDO’s main offices and field station. It is named for Agustín Cortés, a pioneer in Puerto Peñasco who developed many collaborations between Mexican and US scientists. The building is also CEDO’s Biological Field Station, which receives classes and researchers in residence who are studying the region. To bring a group to the field station check out our Visit Us section. CEDO maintains a laboratory and library open to the public.

Henry Harris Memorial Library

The Henry Harris Memorial Library is located in the Edificio Agustín Cortés and is open to the public. It is not a lending library, but we invite visitors to come in to browse or do research. The library contains 1,350 books and 800 journal articles, student papers and clippings focused on local ecology, geology and history. We also have many maps and videos.
– All of our bibliographic records will soon be available electronically.

Sea of Support


CEDO celebrates the biodiversity of the open ocean and the contributions of our many supporters through the ‘Sea of Support’ exhibit.  This painted tile exhibit in the courtyard of our main building (Edificio Agustín Cortés) highlights the creatures of the Northern Gulf, from dolphins to rock crabs. Each group of tiles bears the name of an individual, family or group whose contributions have made this exhibit possible. The courtyard columns depict the unique fauna of the Gulf’s islands, giving visitors a preview of CEDO’s Isla San Jorge Sojourn. Future tiles will feature creatures from the rocky tidepools and estuaries. Click here to join the “Sea of Support,” contribute to CEDO’s facility growth, have your name displayed and help expand this biodiversity exhibit. Purchase your tiles now.