There is a place in New Mexico, a few miles outside Carlsbad, you should go. Just because you can see the Seven Rivers country from one of the overlooks in Living Desert State Park. You can watch a bobcat have a bath, rub an elk's nose, study more than 40 species of Chihuahuan desert native wildlife at your own pace -- and for a reasonable price. You can see these folks, at their house, too.
-- and some really impressive birds, too
as well as wolves easily as endangered as Yellowstone's own,
a wide variety of plants,
and when the time is right, Native American ceremonies.
Carlsbad is more than the caverns. I didn't even go to the mescal roast although it's definitely on next year's calendar.
On the way back from there yesterday, I saw salt mining on enormous spreads of nearly-dry desert lakes, the water having left behind sparkling expanses of crystal that winked in the sun, reflecting the rainbows from the storm clouds ahead.
Driving the last hour and a half home in a spectacular thunderstorm capped a perfect getaway.
Maybe the best thing about it is I didn't go anywhere near an Interstate.