Here in the Greater Palm Springs Oasis we are so fortunate to have more than a few places that merit multiple visits. The Living Desert is certainly near the top of that list of attractions.
Located in Palm Desert just a stone’s throw from my home in Rancho Mirage, this zoo devoted to desert flora and fauna is one of the most unique desert conservation sites in the United States. It was founded in 1970 with the primary mission of desert preservation, education, and appreciation. And appreciate it, you will!
The lay of the land has changed tremendously in the last four decades, growing from 360 acres to more than 1800, one thousand of which remain in their natural state. But what makes this spot such a treasure is that it’s about much more than earth and plants—it’s also about the amazing birds and animals found throughout the deserts of the world.
The first big decision you’ll have to make is whether to head to “Africa” or hang out in “North America.” It seems I always go clockwise and start on the latter side. Either way you’ll be treated to spectacular animal exhibits, aviaries, and gardens the likes of which you’ve never seen. Just a few of the star animal attractions include African wild dogs, cheetahs, giraffes, Mexican wolves, ostriches, zebras, and a marvelous new meerkat home.
Spend a morning or afternoon, or even camp overnight. There are hiking trails, food and beverage offerings, and even a huge model train exhibition. Special events throughout the year—including the ever-popular holiday festival appropriately called “Wild Lights”—will keep you coming back again and again. www.livingdesert.org