The Living Desert is more than just a zoo. Housing exhibits, gardens, activities and animals from deserts all around the world, The Living Desert showcases species that have developed useful adaptations to endure extreme desert conditions, like how to avoid or dissipate heat and retain or acquire water. The botanical gardens at The Living Desert represent more than 1,500 species indigenous to the arid areas of North America and Africa. A children’s discovery center and playground, live animal shows, endangered species carousel, G-scale garden railroad, and many other special features make The Living Desert a significant attraction of the Coachella Valley.
General Information & Hours
The Living Desert
47900 Portola Avenue
Palm Desert, California 92260
Hours: Oct. 1 to May 31, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed Christmas day). Summer Hours: June 1 to Sept. 30, daily from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visit their website and print out a coupon for $3 off admission.
The animal and plant exhibits found in the North American area of The Living Desert come from all four deserts in North America. Along the pathways in North America, visitors will encounter birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures. Visitors can also spot mammals such as coyotes, badgers, wolves, mountain lions and bobcats. Make sure you walk through the Walk-Through Aviary for a one of a kind experience.
The Miriam U. Hoover Discovery Center
The Discovery Center is an indoor facility where children can cool off and roam, explore and get hands on with interactive exhibits. Entrance is included in park admission and is open during regular park hours.
Gecko Gulch Play Park
The Gecko Gulch Play Park is a one-acre outdoor playground that encourages children to explore, play and most of all have fun.
Endangered Species Carousel
The carousel features 30 gorgeous animals represented at The Living Desert. It is open during regular park hours and the cost is $2 per person. Children under 42 inches must be accompanied by an adult at no extra charge. The carousel is wheelchair accessible.
Tennity Wildlife Hospital & Conservation Center
The Tennity Wildlife Hospital & Conservation Center is a state-of-the-art wildlife hospital facility that allows visitors to interact with hospital staff and observe medical procedures and examinations taking place in the Animal Treatment Rooms.
The animal habitats and gardens in the African area of the Living Desert reflect some of Africa’s most arid deserts such as the Sahara, Sahel, Namib, Kalahari, and the Horn of Africa. Visitors can see more than 30 species of exotic African plants as well as endangered slender-horned gazelles, cheetahs, warthogs, meerkats, weaver finches and more.
G-Scale Model Train
The popular “large scale” G-Scale Model Train exhibit runs seven days a week with at least seven trains running continuously on the layout. The train runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Oct. 1 to May 31 and from 8 to 11 a.m. between June 1 through Sept. 30.
The Living Desert’s Village WaTuTu is an authentic replica of a village found in northeast Africa complete with authentic African music, grass thatch-roofed, mud-walled huts, Petting Kraal, shopping, food and plenty of shady spots to cool off.
Starry Safari Overnight Adventures
Camp under the desert stars in a teepee tent village with the entire family during The Living Desert Starry Safari Overnight Adventure. Each Starry Safari will feature up-close animal presentations and a nighttime guided walk through the park. For ages 5 and up.