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Top 5 Family Hits at The Living Desert Zoo

It's like Stairway to Heaven for people who love travel, art, nature, music, and getting outside for sweet adventures. Not much is better than an epic roadtrip and we've got just the ticket to get you ready.

Top 5 Hits for Family Adventures

  1. Check out Creature Chats. These are done in small, more personal feeling groups. Workers are knowledgeable and will answer questions.
  2. Weigh yourself and family on the creature scale by the giraffes.
  3. Sketch or nature journal at the giraffe viewing area. This enclosure has a mix of animals.
  4. Climb in large pots and explore at Village WaTuTu.
  5. Visit the onsite Tennity Wildlife Hospital and see an animal being cared for.

Pro Tips

  • Season: Fall, winter, and spring when temperatures drop
  • Difficulty: Easy, but like most zoos, be prepared to walk
  • Time: One day
  • The zoo is split into three main areas: North America, Africa, and Australia. Visit the North American Desert side first and do the scavenger hunt while everyone is full of energy.
  • Take time to sketch or nature journal when kids are tired or asking for a snack.
  • Walk to the car for lunch; the zoo is small, so it's not a long walk.
  • The African Desert side has more shade. Do this on the second half of your day.

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It can be tricky to see animals when visiting an actual desert. Most of the animal life will be hiding to stay out of the hot sun and avoid predators. You can see desert animals, though, at the Living Desert Zoo. This unique place focuses on animals that live and survive in the North American, Australian, and African Deserts. It was first built in 1970 as an interpretive nature trail and preserve in Palm Desert. Now, the Living Desert Zoo works to preserve, conserve, and interpret the desert and all its varied animal and plant life. Here, you’ll get the chance to connect with desert animals and plants. The “Animal Chats” at this zoo, for example, are fun, educational, and interactive (and by far the best we have seen at a zoo). Families are able to see the animals up close and ask any questions to trained knowledgeable workers. The zoo also offers many garden and hiking trails to explore, each focusing on a different plant ecosystem.

While you're here, take some time to observe each animal and its habitat. What is special about each animal that makes it possible for it to live in the desert? Does it sleep during the day? Does it blend into its background? Does it pant? Desert animals have special adaptations that help them survive in the heat of the desert.

When we go to the living desert zoo we are supporting conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs, and education initiatives locally and around the world.