Many of us have let our imaginations run wild about what happens after the lights go out at the zoo, but now the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens in Palm Desert is allowing guests the chance to find out firsthand. On Friday evenings through March 7, this forever fascinating and perennially popular attraction will be open from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to show people just what happens after the sun goes down.
This family friendly event, called “Park After Dark,” is perfect for kids of all ages. Some kind of nocturnal animal (I just can’t imagine “whoooo”?!) will greet evening guests, and tour guides will be on hand to point out some of the native animals that can be found scurrying around the post-twilight zoo, including rabbits, snakes, owls, and geckos. There will even be ultraviolet lights to help find one of the more elusive nighttime desert creatures—the scorpion!—which glows in the dark when illuminated by such “black lights.” (I have it on highest authority that this is perfectly safe as long as we all “look-but-don’t-touch” these super cool critters.) After your desert safari, a roaring campfire—complete with s’mores and silly songs—will await.
The Living Desert is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is home to hundreds of exotic desert animals, birds, and reptiles, as well as a rich array of desert plants from around the world. It has always been one of my favorite places to visit, either on my own or as an amateur tour guide for out of town friends. Open year round, this is one of the jewels in the Palm Springs Valley’s crown, and shouldn’t be missed! www.livingdesert.org