The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

#5 in Best Things To Do in Palm Springs
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens picture
iShootPhotosLLC/Getty Images

Key Info

47900 Portola Ave.

Details

Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is part-zoo and part-botanical garden, all in the extraordinary setting of a desert. Along with animals like mountain lions, bighorn sheep and meerkats, there are a handful of gardens that showcase more than 1,400 species of plants, including multiple varieties of cacti, prickly pear and agave.

Past visitors enjoyed seeing The Living Desert's animals but recommended arriving early, since the park offers little shade and temperatures often rise above 100 degrees. Many also suggested paying an extra $5 to feed the giraffes, and if you're traveling with little ones or don't want to walk between exhibits, consider purchasing a ticket for the property's hop-on, hop-off shuttle. Passes cost $6 for adults and $3 for children between 3 and 12.

From October 1 to May 31, The Living Desert is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the summer (from June 1 to September 30) the attraction is open every day between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. General admission is $19.95, but discounted rates are available for seniors and kids ages 3 to 12. Camel rides are also offered select months for $6 per person. Park tickets can be purchased on the property's website, but some extras (like giraffe feedings) cannot be booked in advance. In addition to the attraction's exhibits and gardens, you'll find a free parking lot, two gift shops, restrooms, a model train set, the interactive Miriam U. Hoover Discovery Center, a seasonal carousel and two eateries. The Living Desert is located about 17 miles southeast of Palm Springs in the adjacent city of Palm Desert.

See all Hotels in Palm Springs »

More Best Things To Do in Palm Springs

Coachella Valley Preserve
Joshua Tree National Park
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 8
#1 Coachella Valley Preserve

The Coachella Valley Preserve may seem like a barren desert, but keep your eyes peeled and you'll see that its 20,000-plus acres are more than just sand and brush. The preserve encompasses the smaller Thousand Palms Oasis preserve, which boasts more than 25 miles of hiking paths. Along the trails you'll spot rare wildlife, lush palm woodland oases and desert wetlands, which at different times of the year blossom with wildflowers.

Before heading out, past visitors recommend stopping by the visitor center – located in a log cabin at the entrance of the park – to pick up a map of the trails. You can also download it here. Additionally, some suggested arriving early before temperatures become unbearable and the small parking lot fills up. And if you visit between October and March, consider joining one of the preserve's free guided hikes.

Read more
Kit_Leong/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Palm Springs »

Explore More of Palm Springs

Recommended

12 Top Texas Wineries to Visit

From the Texas Hill Country to the Texas High Plains, the Lone Star State offers top-notch wineries for oenophiles.

Kyle McCarthyMay 23, 2019

The 7 Best San Francisco Bus Tours

Visit the top attractions in this hilly city without breaking a sweat.

Lyn MettlerMay 22, 2019

The 15 Best Washington, D.C., Tours

The nation's capital has more to offer than free museums and tons of history.

Kim Foley MacKinnonMay 22, 2019

10 Amazing Montana Vacations

Breathtaking landscapes and year-round outdoor adventures will inspire you to visit Big Sky Country.

Gwen PratesiMay 20, 2019

The 13 Best Savannah Tours

Experience real southern hospitality when visiting Savannah with these top tours.

John RodwanMay 16, 2019

The 15 Best Boston Tours

Get to know one of America's most historic cities with these tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonMay 14, 2019

The 18 Best New Orleans Tours

With so much to see and do in New Orleans, these tours will help you maximize your time in the Big Easy.

Claire LawtonMay 10, 2019

The 7 Best Chicago Boat Tours

These low-key tours offer unique views of a city famed for its skyline.

Holly JohnsonMay 9, 2019

30 Cheap Weekend Getaways in the USA

From beach destinations to amusement parks, these vacations are perfect for an affordable and quick trip.

Holly JohnsonMay 9, 2019

The 15 Best Chicago Tours

Foodies, boat enthusiasts and historians alike will appreciate any one of these tours of the Windy City.

John RodwanMay 8, 2019