• Kathy Condon

Visit Palm Springs and Educate Your Family about our Desert Animals

Updated: Sep 9, 2019


The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens remains one of Coachella Valley’s premier family attractions. It is located on 1800 acres; 1,720 acres are left, in a natural state in Palm Desert, 15 miles from downtown Palm Springs, California.


This beautiful attraction is often referred to as The Zoo. Its mission is to help preserve and protect endangered species. A great deal of their effort goes to educating the public about the fragile balance of the desert ecosystem of its plants and animals. There is also an animal hospital on the grounds.


If we have visitors and they are staying for a bit, it very high on our list of suggestions for an attraction not to be missed. Noticed I started by describing it as a family attraction. I confess. There are many times I have gone there on my own to see special exhibits. Or leisurely wander in an environment which is bound to make you smile.


When you ready to make the journey, here are some tips to enhance your visit.


1. Wear sunscreen.

2. Wear a hat.

3. Water is available throughout the park. However, it is easy to become mesmerized watching the animals. You may not want to interrupt your viewing time because you are thirsty.

4. Your camera or phone to capture the antics of these amazing animals.

5. Food if you have special dietary needs, but otherwise there are places to purchase lunch.

Children's Play Area and Picnic Area

There are also picnic benches in Gecko Gulch if you want to picnic while the children are playing on this outstanding play area.

6. You can purchase a ticket for a shuttle, which frequently stops within the zoo when you buy your ticket or any shuttle driver.

7. Strollers and wheelchairs can be rented.

8. All areas are handicap accessible.


Access to the Park


From Highway 111, you want to turn west on Portola Avenue and travel approximately 1.5 miles. The entrance and parking lot are on the left. There is plenty of space, and parking is free.


Entrance Gates


If you have been to The Living Desert, but not since November 2018, you will be a little disoriented. The brilliant and beautiful new entrance has been moved from the far left of the parking lot to the center.


As you approach, delightful music greets you and invites you to stop and marvel at the entrance’s architecture. Signage is good, so you can easily see where to buy tickets and receive a detailed map. Restrooms are located before you head through the gates.


The Adventure Begins


If you are an early arrival to the grounds, head to the Africa Area. You will, most certainly, have the opportunity to feed the giraffes.


There is a charge to feed them. However, the viewing area has been expanded. You will have ample opportunities to capture one of these magnificent creatures extending their huge tongue, while they accept a piece of romaine lettuce. Did you know giraffes eat 70 pounds of food a day?


Each night the giraffes, which are an endangered species, are housed in a gigantic, high-tech barn. It is hidden on the other side of the ridge visible in the feeding area. This is done in order to protect them from predators, which might find their way into the enormous open land where the giraffes happily graze during the day.


So much to Explore


Take your time exploring the area known as Africa and the plants and animals that

MeerKat after an exhausting "watch."

inhabit that area of the world. Then head over to North America. A favorite is the meerkats who never disappoint. See if you can figure out who has been designated the “watch."


The plan is for the opening of a new, expansive, area called, Australia, in November 2019. Each area has its distinct charm. So schedule your time, so you have no schedule. The paths are well marked, and various seating areas beckon you to soak in this beautiful, restful desert environment.


As you head to the car, you can stop at the gift shop or linger in the courtyard and marvel at the giant palm trees watching over the area. Imagine the stories they have to tell.


Kathy Condon is a freelance travel writer and blogger. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide Her book It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist by US Book News Kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094 http://www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com




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