Updated May 17, 2021
At The Living Desert, the health, safety and wellbeing of our guests, staff and animals remains our top priority. Since the onset of the pandemic last March, we have steadfastly followed the recommendations and orders from the CDC, CA Department of Health, and local health organizations. As new guidance becomes available, we are working diligently to evaluate and implement policies and safety protocols to ensure guest, staff and animal safety.
Covid-19 Preparedness plan
Timed Ticketing for Contact-Free and Expedited Admissions: All tickets must be purchased in advance using our online system to enable us to control capacity and limit the number of guests who are inside the Zoo at any given time - including current Zoo members. Reserve your tickets online in advance for contact-free and expedited admissions!
Face Coverings/Masks: Per the CDC, masks are not required outdoors if you’re fully vaccinated or if you’re able to maintain proper social distance from others. For the safety of others, please continue to wear a mask indoors.
Hours of Operation: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is operating under Regular Park Hours. The grounds and gardens open at 8 a.m. for both members and non-members and will remain open until 5 p.m. with the last admission at 4 p.m.
Physical Distancing: All guests must maintain at least six feet of social/physical distancing and refrain from congregating with others that are not within their household.
By entering The Living Desert, you agree that:
- You will stay six feet apart from others
- You are healthy and symptom free
- You assume all risk while on grounds.
We look forward to welcoming you to The Living Desert.
- The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Team
FAQs – New Operations
ARE YOU OPEN AND WHAT ARE THE RULES OF ENTRY?
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is open daily from 8:00am - 5:00pm, with last admission of 4:00pm.
Per the CDC, masks are not required outdoors if you’re fully vaccinated or if you’re able to maintain proper social distance from others. For the safety of others, please continue to wear a mask indoors.
Guests are required to:
• Not enter if they are showing any signs of illness, including fever or flu-like symptoms
• Maintain proper social/physical distancing of at least six feet
• Refrain from congregating with others that are not within their household
• Obey all posted signage, conditions for entry, and staff instructions
Guests are encouraged to:
• Maintain proper personal hygiene including frequent handwashing
• Utilize hand sanitizers available
ARE THE CONCESSION AND RETAIL OUTLETS OPEN?
Yes, the Kookaburra Cafe and Thorntree Grill are open for outdoor and indoor dining. The Appel Gift Shop is open.
WHAT IS THE LIVING DESERT DOING TO KEEP ME SAFE?
The Living Desert has implemented several additional safety protocols to ensure guest, staff, and animal safety.
• Select buildings and tactile exhibits remain temporarily closed.
• Hand sanitizing stations are placed in 8 locations around the Zoo.
• Touchable surfaces including counters, doors, restrooms and drinking fountains are disinfected regularly.
• The Zoo exit has been modified.
• Ticketing/admissions has been moved to contact-free. Guests are encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets online or at one of the ticketing kiosks. Each guest will then present their ticket to be scanned at the admission gate. A clear, acrylic shield has been installed at the admissions windows to minimize contact between staff and guests.
• Staff and volunteers are required to follow OSHA and CDC health guidelines and are not to report to work if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
I HAD TICKETS FOR A DAY YOU WERE CLOSED. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?
Anyone with general admission or WildLights tickets during our temporary closure of December 7-17, 2020, should have received an email with information on how to reschedule, receive a refund for their booking or donate their unused tickets back to the Zoo. For more information, call (760) 346-5694 between 8:00am-5:00pm daily.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THE LIVING DESERT?
As a non-profit organization that relies on earned revenue (tickets, memberships, and sales) for 75% of our budget, we are relying on the generosity of our supporters. Now, more than ever, your support makes an immediate difference. Your gift, in any amount, ensures our animals are safe and well cared for through this crisis and beyond.
THERE ARE A VARIETY OF WAYS TO SUPPORT THE LIVING DESERT:
I AM A VOLUNTEER, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You will receive ongoing communications from the Zoo regarding next steps.
WHAT ABOUT PRECAUTIONS FOR ANIMAL CARE?
Animal Care Staff are taking extra precautions to keep animals healthy and safe. Staff encountering animals use additional Personal Protection Equipment, and more thorough cleaning of equipment necessary for care has been implemented.
Making the most of your visit
HOW SHOULD WE PLAN OUR VISIT?
Although your visit may be a bit different, we look forward to welcoming our community back to The Living Desert. Advanced reservations are required for members and guests and can be made here >>
OW DO I STREAMLINE ENTRY INTO THE ZOO?
Members are asked to have their membership tickets out and ready to be scanned once they approach the gates.
Ticketed guests are asked to pre-purchase their tickets online. You may present your mobile device with your tickets or print the individual tickets at home. Guests may also utilize the ticketing kiosks located in the Grundhofer Entry Plaza. One staffed ticket window will be available. Upon entry, each guest will be asked to hold their ticket to be scanned.
WILL STROLLER AND WHEELCHAIR RENTALS BE AVAILABLE?
Yes, strollers and wheelchairs are available. Rent fee is $5 and available for first come first serve.
ARE PRIVATE SAFARI AND BEHIND THE SCENES TOURS AVAILABLE?
Private Safari tours are available. Learn More>>
Behind the Scenes are not available at this time.
How to Purchase Timed Admission Tickets
Timed tickets must be purchased in advance using the Zoo’s online system by selecting ‘General Admission’ in the purchasing categories.
Guests may choose their date and preferred entry time for each visitor up to two weeks in advance. Entrance times have limited capacities, and tickets will only remain valid during the specified window of time.
After selecting the correct time/date, add the ticket purchase into the cart and complete the checkout process. An email from eGalaxy Store (email@example.com) will arrive with the confirmation and tickets as an attachment.
Tickets may either be printed and presented at the admission gate, or scanned from a mobile device.
How to Reserve Tickets as a Member
Members’ timed tickets must be reserved in advance using the Zoo’s online system by selecting ‘Membership Reserve Tickets’ in the purchasing categories. Members that have not reserved a timed ticket will not be allowed entry.
Enter the Membership ID and click ‘Validate Membership Card ID’. (Note: Membership IDs can be found on the back of the membership card beneath the barcode. If the Membership ID cannot be located, please call 760-346-5694 for assistance!)
Choose the desired time and date of entry for each visiting member up to two weeks in advance. Entrance times have limited capacities, and tickets will only remain valid during the specified window of time.
After checking that the time/date is correct, add the reservation into the cart and complete the checkout process. An email from eGalaxy Store (firstname.lastname@example.org) will arrive with the confirmation and tickets as an attachment.
Tickets may be printed and presented at the admission gate, or scanned on a mobile device.