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The Palm Springs Area Zoo

"The Living Desert" - Family Friendly Vacation Fun for Everyone

Planning your Palm Springs Vacation and looking for things to do and see that the whole family can enjoy? Plan a trip to the Palm Springs Area Zoo and Gardens known as "The Living Desert" located in Palm Desert California on a beautiful 1,200 acre park setting.

This popular Palm Springs area attraction is a real people-pleaser. The zoo is a fun vacation thing to do to connect with the natural beauty of the Desert outdoors. It's family-friendly and perfect for kids of all ages - and adults too.

Desert animals large and small including camels, giraffes, zebras, sand cats, foxes, hummingbirds, butterflies - you'll find it all here at the Palm Springs Zoo. The Zoo and Botanical Gardens are located about 20 minutes east of downtown Palm Springs in Palm Desert, California.

The Palm Springs Zoo, "The Living Desert"

The Palm Springs Zoo is home to more than 130 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens offers interesting, inspiring and educational fun to more than 300,000 visitors each year. Giraffe feeding schedule. Parking is free!

The Zoo is one of the most popular Palm Springs area tourist attractions, second only to the Palm Springs Tram Cable Cars

Hours of Operation:

In-Season Hours:
October 1 - May 31
Open Daily 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Latest time for admission is 4:00pm.
Closed Christmas Day December 25

Summer Hours:
June 1 - September 30
Open Daily 8:00 am to 1:30 pm
Latest time for admission is 1:00 pm

Admission Cost/Rates

In-Season Rates

  • General Admission $19.95
  • Seniors (62 and up) $17.95
  • Children (3-12) $9.95
  • Children under 3 Free

Summer Rates

  • Cost of Admission
  • General Admission $17.25
  • Seniors (62 and up) $15.75
  • Military $15.75
  • Children (3-12) $8.75
  • Children under 3 Free
Discover over 450 fascinating animals and botanical gardens on you very own Private Safari!

Build you Guided Itinerary
  • Stroll through the Cahuilla Indian Gardens
  • Tour the state-of-the-art Tennity Wildlife Hospital
  • Explore the beauty of Eagle Canyon
  • Spend time at Village WaTuTu
  • Be a guest at the Wildlife Wonders Show
Special Group Tour Rates
  • Private Safari (Less than 10 people): $40 per adult and $20 per child (ages 3-12).
  • Walking guided tour (10 people or more): $18 per person.
  • Safari Riding Package (10 people or more): $20 per person.
  • Senior Safari Riding Package (10 people or more): $33.50 per person, includes box lunch.
  • Self Guided Tours (15 people or more): $12 per adult and $6.50 per child (ages 3-12).

All tours require a reservation in advance. For more information, please contact the Group Sales Manager at (760)346-9810 or email

What to See at The Living Desert
Exotic Animals, Learning, Gardens

When you visit the African wildlife sections at The Living Desert's Palm Springs Zoo, you'll see some of the most unique and fascinating animals native to what most people think as the "wasteland" of the world: the desert.

Here you'll see animals such as Arabian oryx, several species of gazelle, sand cats and fennec foxes - all whom call the desert home.

Almost all the animals you'l see here are endangered species, largely because modern hunting equipment - jeeps, helicopters, telescopic sights and automatic weapons - has given man a tremendous advantage over animals in the desert.

The team of volunteers and professionals at the Living Desert has worked diligently for many years to increase the world's population of endangered slender-horned gazelles, sand cats, addax and Arabian oryx.

Did You Know? Desert Zoo Info

A desert species, in general, has fewer members than, say, a jungle species, because the extreme and severe environment such as a desert climate cannot support large number of variety of animals. Because of this, human activity can push an already scarce desert species, such as the sand cat, to near extinction, as has occurred in the deserts of Pakistan.

Not all African species in our collection are endangered. Aardwolves, camels, dik diks, hornbills, meerkats, rock hyrax, warthogs and zebras, everything from A to Z, can be found in the African animal exhibits at The Living Desert.

Discover Nature by Learning at the Palm Springs Zoo

In the Discovery Room at the Palm Springs Zoo's Living Desert, visitors of all ages can touch, feel, compare and learn about the unique qualities and interesting facts about deserts.

  • How does a turtle store water?
  • What does an owl eat?
  • Why do cacti have spines?
  • What is good about a rattlesnake?
  • Who needs sharp eyes?
  • How did native people get food?
  • What kind of bird weaves a nest in palm fronds?

You'll find skins and plant pods, fibers and feathers, horns and barbs, bones and stems, insects and live animals plus other natural paraphernalia in the Discovery Room at the Palm Springs Zoo's Living Desert in Palm Desert California.

In addition, puzzles, puppets, books, games, drawings, models and sculptures all help tell the story of the nature of desert.

This interactive room at the Zoo, called the Discovery Room, is staffed with people to answer your questions and is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Places to Stay on Your Palm Springs Vacation

Model Trains at the Zoo

Model trains became a part of The Living Desert in 1998 during the annual WildLights holiday program that takes place beginning the day after Thanksgiving and continues until the New Year.

This popular zoo display, model trains, runs full time during the Zoo hours. The model trains that run on small-scale tracks trains are known as "G" scale, and are approximately 1/2 inch to the foot, about twice the size of Lionel trains. These trains are the most popular "large scale" model train. The locomotives, rolling stock, track, switches and most of the equipment are made by LGB. In fact, the letters "LGB" stand for Lehmann Gross Bahn or Lehmann's Big Train. Made in San Diego California, the LGB trains are made by a family company in business for more than 100 years with LGB, the world's first "G-scale" train, was born in 1968. The family history of LGB goes back to 1881, the LGB family has over 100 years of experience creating innovative products and serving demanding customers. LGB trains are one of the best selling big trains in the world.

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