Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Living Desert, Palm Desert, California

The Living Desert is more than a zoo, it is also a nature preserve and has miles of hiking trails. We went to day to enjoy the exhibits ~ both flora and fauna.

The Living Desert is separated into an Africa exhibit and North America exhibit, and we started with the Africa exhibit so we could enjoy the 10am giraffe feeding. We assumed that this to mean we watched the giraffes being fed by the keepers.

Nope, people were given small pieces of fruit (apples, bananas) and vegetables (carrots, corn cobs) as well as leafy greens to feed the giraffes. The was sort of fun and we both got a bit slimed by a giraffe tongue – didn’t expect that when we woke-up this morning!

Along with the giraffes as part of the Africa exhibits, we saw ostriches (who live with the giraffes), camels, zebras, a couple cheetahs, gazelles and wild dogs. 

We then ventured north (both literally and figuratively) to the North America exhibit where we really enjoyed the Mexican wolves (thus the many pictures, and these were culled from the numerous shots we, well, Suzanne, took), bighorn sheep, and jaguar.

Throughout the Living Desert are dozens of gardens showcasing plants of the area ~ these ranged from Madagascar, East Africa, Baja, Chihuahuan, and Mojave. Along with these gardens were areas established for specific species, such as the butterfly gardens and native bee garden.

A favorite exhibit of many visitors is a G-scale model train exhibit, which although we’re not “model train people,” this was quite interesting – they even had little people figures working on the railroad!

We had lunch at the Coyote Café which was surprisingly good, although not surprising, expensive. Since you are allowed to bring your own food, we would do that next time.

One rather cool exhibit was the Living Desert Hospital which is open to the public and exhibits animals in recovery (there were two desert tortoises there today) as well as the surgery rooms. According to the docent, surgery is generally performed on Wednesdays, and visitors on those days are welcome to watch.

The Living Desert is open every day October 1 to May 31, 9am to 5pm & open every day June 1 to September 30, 8am to 1:30pm.

Admission prices are:  General: $14.25;  Seniors (62+)/Military/AAA: $12.75;  Children (3-12): $7.75;
Children <3: Free

However, if you have a Bank of America card, then you can take advantage of their FREE admission on the first weekend of every month to certain museums throughout the nation, which is what we did! Here’s the link for those of you with bank of America accounts: Museums on Us.
Quite honestly, we probably would not have gone if it wasn’t free, but we did enjoy ourselves and had a good time. Plan about 3-4 hours to see everything, especially if you want to take-in a tour, show, or feeding. Be sure to go first thing in the morning, since that’s when the animals are most active.


Michael and Dee said...

Thanks for the info on the Bank of America free admission. We did not know that when we were there in December. Would have saved us some money! You were lucky to see so many animals awake! Must have been early in the day

Mike and Dee

Suzanne and Brad said...

Yes, we always go to zoos early in the morning - more animals awake and less loud children! :)

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