Living Desert Zoo Activities for Kids

Living Desert Zoo Learning Adventures for the whole family

Are you looking for a fun and educational adventure for your family? Look no further than The Living Desert Zoo! With over 1,200 acres of desert landscape and over 450 animals, this zoo is a true gem in the heart of Palm Desert, California. But how can you make the most of your visit with your kids? Here are 5 exciting ways to discover the wonders of The Living Desert Zoo with your little ones. From animal encounters to interactive exhibits, your family will leave with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the desert ecosystem. Don't miss out on this unforgettable experience - read on to find out how to make the most of your visit to The Living Desert Zoo!

Living Desert Zoo Pro Tips

  • Season: Fall, winter, and spring when temperatures drop 
  • Difficulty: Easy, but like most zoos, be prepared to walk.
  • Time: Day trip
  • Go to The Living Desert Zoo as early as possible, desert animals are most active before the heat of the day.
  • The Living Desert Zoo is split into three main areas: North America, Africa, and Australia. Visit the Australian and North American Desert side first and do the scavenger hunt while everyone is full of energy.
  • The Australian Adventures area lets you walk around the trail with wallabies and parakeets freely roaming around. You can sit on the large flat rocks and sketch them or even laugh with a laughing kookaburra. 
  • 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.

Kids watching a giraffe at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.
David Powell​​

The importance of educational family outings

As a parent, you always want the best for your child. One of the best ways to ensure their success is by providing them with a quality education. However, learning doesn't always have to take place in a classroom or at home. In fact, some of the most valuable lessons come from real-life experiences like visiting The Living Desert Zoo. That's why educational family outings are so important. They provide an opportunity for children to learn in a fun and engaging way, while also creating lasting memories with their loved ones. 


The Living Desert Zoo is the perfect place for a family outing that is both educational and fun. With a variety of exhibits and attractions, your children will have the opportunity to learn about the animals and plants of the desert ecosystem, while also experiencing firsthand the importance of conservation efforts.


The Living Desert Zoo offers a unique experience that is not only educational but also enjoyable for the entire family. Your children will have the opportunity to see animals up close and personal, learn about the different habitats of the desert, and participate in interactive exhibits that will leave them with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and diversity of nature.


If you love exploring the California Desert with you kids, you really should check out the California Desert Activity Book. It includes our Top 10 destinations (including The Living Desert Zoo) to explore nature with kids with activities such as coloring pages, word hunts, scavenger hunts, earth science activities, and more for each location. It also includes a sticker poster and badge! It's like a Junior Ranger program for each location. 


Animal encounters at The Living Desert Zoo

One of the most exciting ways to experience The Living Desert Zoo is through animal encounters. The zoo offers a variety of encounters that allow visitors to get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating creatures of the desert. From feeding giraffes to interacting with a cheetah, there is something for everyone.


One of the most popular animal encounters at The Living Desert Zoo is the giraffe feeding experience. Visitors have the opportunity to feed the giraffes from a raised platform, providing an up-close-and-personal experience with these majestic creatures. The giraffes are gentle and friendly, making this experience perfect for children of all ages.


Another popular animal encounter at The Living Desert Zoo is the cheetah run experience. Visitors can watch as the cheetahs sprint at top speed across a wide-open space, showcasing their incredible speed and agility. This is an unforgettable experience that will leave your children in awe of these magnificent creatures.


Favorite Animals at the Living Desert Zoo?

Mountain Lion

A mountain lion has large, specialized eyes that allow it to see in the dark. Its fur is sandy in color so it can stay camouflaged from its prey. When hunting, it pounces and bites its prey’s neck so it can’t get away. It eats eight to 10 pounds of meat a day to survive.



Image of a mountain lion
pexels

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep can go without drinking water for weeks or months during the cooler parts of the year, and up to seven days in the summer heat. They have padded hooves that enable them to climb steep desert mountains quickly to escape predators. Make sure to see them climbing the rocky hillside at The Living Desert Zoo.



Image of a mountain lion

Kit Fox

Kit foxes get all of their water from their prey. They can drink but don’t need to. The pads of their feet are very hairy, which helps them walk on the hot desert floor and gives them traction on the sand. They also have very large ears that help hear rodents underground.



Image of a Kit Fox
ReneeGrayson_Flickr

Chuckwalla

A chuckwalla doesn’t need to drink water; it gets all its water from the flowers, fruit, and leaves that it eats. When threatened, it will dive into a crack in the rocks and gulp air until its body inflates and becomes so wedged between the rocks that it cannot be pulled out.



Image of a Chuckwalla
Gilamani_Flickr

Desert Tortoise

The desert tortoise is a diurnal animal, meaning it is active during the day. It uses its strong forearms and tough nails to dig burrows where it can stay cool. When these tortoises drink, they store the water in their bladder. If needed, they can go up to one year without drinking. Keep a close eye out for this exhibit at The Living Desert Zoo its hidden near the oasis.



Image of a Desert Tortoise
BLM Nevada_Flickr

Scavenger Hunt Booklet for field trips

A fun part of YouTopo's Explorer Desert Adventure Activity is the Living Desert Zoo "Scavenger Hunt" pages that you can cut out (or print) and fold as a miniature booklet. This is great to keep kids engaged when you're walking around and on the lookout for the creatures to find. It's nice because they can also learn fun facts and store the booklet in their pocket.




Image of a Desert Tortoise
BLM Nevada_Flickr

Interactive exhibits for kids at The Living Desert Zoo

The Living Desert Zoo offers a variety of interactive exhibits that are perfect for kids of all ages. These exhibits provide a hands-on learning experience that is both educational and fun. From the Gecko Gulch playground to the Discovery Center, there is something for everyone.


One of the most popular interactive exhibits at The Living Desert Zoo is the Wildlife Wonders show. This show features a variety of animals, including snakes, birds, and mammals, and provides an up-close look at their unique characteristics and behaviors. Your children will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the animals in a fun and engaging way.


Another popular interactive exhibit at The Living Desert Zoo is the Village WaTuTu. This exhibit provides a glimpse into the daily lives of the Maasai people of East Africa. Visitors can explore traditional Maasai homes, learn about their culture and traditions, and even participate in a Maasai dance.


Guided tours and experiences at The Living Desert Zoo

The Living Desert Zoo offers a variety of guided tours and experiences that allow visitors to learn more about the animals and plants of the desert ecosystem. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide valuable insights and information about the zoo's inhabitants.


One of the most popular guided tours at The Living Desert Zoo is the Behind the Scenes tour. This tour provides visitors with an exclusive look at the zoo's animal care facilities, as well as the opportunity to meet some of the zoo's animal ambassadors up close and personal.


Another popular guided tour at The Living Desert Zoo is the Caravan Safari. This tour takes visitors on a journey through the African savannah, where they can see a variety of animals in their natural habitat, including zebras, giraffes, and ostriches.


Additional attractions and activities at The Living Desert Zoo

In addition to the animal encounters, interactive exhibits, and guided tours, The Living Desert Zoo offers a variety of other attractions and activities that are perfect for the whole family. These include:


1. The Endangered Species Carousel: This carousel features beautifully crafted animals that are endangered or threatened.


2. The Camel Rides: Visitors can take a ride on a camel and experience the desert landscape from a new perspective.


3. The Wildlife Hospital: This Living Desert Zoo facility provides medical care to sick and injured animals, and visitors can watch as the veterinarians care for the animals.


Supporting conservation efforts through your visit to The Living Desert Zoo

The Living Desert Zoo is committed to conservation efforts and educating the public about the importance of protecting the environment and its inhabitants. By visiting the zoo, you are supporting these efforts and helping to ensure the survival of endangered species.


The Living Desert Zoo also offers a variety of programs and events that focus on conservation, including workshops, lectures, and outreach programs. These programs provide a valuable opportunity for visitors to learn more about conservation efforts and get involved in making a difference.


Other family-friendly activities in Palm Desert, California

Palm Desert, California, is a beautiful city with many family-friendly activities and attractions. In addition to The Living Desert Zoo, here are some other places to visit:


1. Palm Desert Aquatic Center: This water park features pools, slides, and a lazy river, making it a fun and refreshing place to cool off on a hot day.


2. The Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert: This museum features interactive exhibits and programs that focus on science, art, and culture.


3. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: This tram takes visitors on a stunning ride up the San Jacinto Mountains, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.


The Living Desert Zoo is a family destination

The Living Desert Zoo is a must-visit destination for families looking for a fun and educational adventure. With a variety of exhibits, attractions, and activities, there is something for everyone. From animal encounters to interactive exhibits, your children will have the opportunity to learn about the animals and plants of the desert ecosystem, while also experiencing firsthand the importance of conservation efforts.


By visiting The Living Desert Zoo, you are supporting conservation efforts and helping to ensure the survival of endangered species. This is a valuable lesson that your children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.


So why wait? Plan your visit to The Living Desert Zoo today and discover the wonders of the desert with your family!

Back to blog