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Palm Springs-The Living Desert

The Living Desert in Palm Springs is a zoo and botanical garden spread over 250 acres. Giraffes, mountain lions, wolves and cheetahs are just a few of the incredible animals that take you from Africa to North America. You'll see remarkable plants, animals, places and natural wonders.
Ticket Type
Child age: 3 to 12 yrs old. Under 3 are free.
The Living Desert is now reopened in a limited services capacity as an outdoor recreation area to enjoy walking through the park and hiking trails.
A zoo and botanical garden all in one with over 450 animals, specializing in conservation of endangered species and plants of the Sonoran and Colorada desert. The Living Desert is more than a collection of habitats. Over 1200 acres which include the nature preseve trails as well as the zoo and gardens representing the Colorado and Sonoran Desert.


  • Wildlife Wonders Shows
  • Wild animals from Africa to America
  • Two restaurants, plus two specialty outlets
  • Petting Kraal
  • Wildlife Hospital.
  • One of the largest G-scaled model train displays in California
  • Carousel, Butterfly/Hummingbird Pavilion, Camel Connection (open seasonally, extra fee applies)
  • Guided Tours available
  • Shade trees and misted rest spots throughout the park
  • Shuttles to get you around inside The Living Desert (now extra fee)
  • Indoor interactive exhibits
  • Trails to hike the Eisenhower Peak (open seasonally)
A zoo and botanical garden spread over 80 acres! Giraffes, mountain lions, wolves and cheetahs are just a few of the incredible animals that take you from Africa to North America and coming in early 2020-Austrailia.

Visitors who come to The Living Desert in the early morning are in for some delightful surprises! In the cool of the morning, most of the animals on exhibit are at their peak activity. Playing, some eating breakfast, catching the wind for the scent of other nearby animals, stretching and prowling.

As the day warms up, so do the birds of prey, fanning out their huge marvelous wings to the sun. The tortoises and lizards come out of their hiding places to feel the gentle warmth. Warthogs and peccary rout and romp in the morning hours, contentedly grunting during nap time in the midday sun. Even the goats in the Petting Kraal enjoy nuzzling with visitors.

Meerkats seem to play all afternoon, each taking a turn being the lookout, while the others scamper about. Late afternoon is the wake up call to nocturnal creatures. The cheetahs climb to the top of their ridge and majestically watch the sun set, the sky turning as golden amber as their eyes.

Have lunch in one of the cafes or bring your own picnic. Feed the giraffes on the Savannah or meet the goats in the petting kraal or see one of the Wildlife Wonders Shows.

Let shuttles take you from the African Village Watutu to the interactive Wildlife Hospital or view one of the largest G-scaled model train displays in California.

Don't forget your camera. The animals and gardens at The Living Desert and the surrounding vistas present some breathtaking photo opportunities!

Please remember that this is a desert and as such has extreme temperatures. You should plan your visit according to the season in which you are visiting and the forecasted day's temperatures and dress accordingly. There are many shade trees and misted rest spots throughout the park for your comfort, and even an interactive indoor (nice and cool...the desert at night) Discovery Center the kids will surely enjoy!

So many things to see and do! So get your eTickets now. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert will inform, motivate and entertain you beyond your expectations.

Operating Times

Oct 1st through May 31st: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with last admission at 4:00 pm.
June 1st through Sept 30th: 7:00 am to 1:30 pm with last admission at 1:00 pm
Closed Christmas Day.

Reservation Notes

Reservations are now required in advance. Eticket will have details.


3-4 hours

Booth Location

The Living Desert 47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Nearest Intersection

Haystack and Portola


On grounds. NO Charge for parking.

Age Requirements

Child Ticket: 3 to 12 yrs old. Under 3 are free. Discount for Senior Age 62+ and Military


The Living Dessert asks that you abide by these rules:
+ Covid-19 additions for now: Masks for all visitors
+ One-Way Traffic: There will be a one-way traffic flow through the Zoo in a counterclockwise direction.
+ Indoor activities and keeper chats will remain closed
+ Visits will be walking on-own only as shuttles will not be operating
+ Food will be offered on a grab-and-go basis-no seated dining indoors or outdoors
+ Daily attendance capacity will be limited
+ Please do not feed or annoy the animals:
+ No smoking in exhibit buildings, cafe or gift shops:
+ Visitors are asked to stay on the marked paths and walkways:
+ Plants are for all to enjoy and are not to be picked or trampled:
+ NO PETS ALLOWED except for service dogs Do not brings pets and leave them in your car. Temperatures rise quickly in the dessert and can be life threatening to your pet!
+ Drink lots of water

Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes, preferably closed toe. Hats, sunscreen, even an umbrella is recommended for all seasons. Winter day temperatures sometimes warrant a jacket or sweater. Plan an early hour visit in the summer as temperatures can reach 100 degrees by noon. Paved pathways throughout The Living Desert make exploring accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. Adult wheeled strollers and Zebra-themed children's strollers are available for a $3.00 donation | First aid stations, baby changing stations, pay phones and ATMs are available No locker facilities are available Photo Credits: Bert Buxbaum, The Living Desert