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Burro Sanctuary

A refuge for both donkeys and urban dwellers.

To inform the Urban Burro Sanctuary project, I conducted on-site research at the Forever Home Donkey Sanctuary in Benson, AZ. The visit proved invaluable, providing firsthand insights into donkey care and sanctuary management. Guided by the spirited 80-something owner, the tour became an interactive experience, offering stories that enriched my understanding of the unique needs and personalities of these creatures.

Introducing the Urban Burro Sanctuary, an oasis nestled in the heart of downtown Phoenix at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Born from a commitment to the well-being of Arizona's burros, this groundbreaking concept addresses the challenges of population control and limited adoption options, reimagining the landscape for both the animals and city dwellers.

Designed based on the concept of Paddock Paradise, the sanctuary provides a holistic environment for the burros, offering enrichment features such as dust baths, healthy treats along a track to encourage movement, wallow pools, and climbing hills. These elements not only enhance the well-being of the burros but also create a unique urban retreat where city dwellers can connect with nature.

Beyond the physical elements, the site incorporates a museum chronicling the rich history of donkeys, offering visitors an opportunity to deepen their understanding of these incredible creatures. An Air BnB is seamlessly integrated, inviting guests to stay and immerse themselves in the tranquility of this urban oasis.

Taking inspiration from the mining days, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds transforms into a space where humans and burros can train for burro racing. This unique activity fosters a connection between humans and donkeys, creating a space where the spirit of collaboration and shared experiences thrives.