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Celebrating 50 Years of Adventure
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.

Covid-19 updates

Updated December 16, 2020

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens has reopened daytime operations as an outdoor recreation facility on Thursday, December 17. Under the State of California’s December 6th regional stay-at-home order, outdoor recreational facilities are permitted to operate with additional safety precautions. Set on more than 1,200 total acres, The Living Desert features miles of hiking trails and paved garden pathways, allowing guests the opportunity to pursue physically distanced, personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise.

To adhere to the State of California’s outdoor recreation facility operating requirements, The Living Desert will close all food and beverage outlets, areas of gathering, indoor exhibits, giraffe feeding, and the carousel. Advanced reservations are required for all admissions including members and guests. In addition, face coverings continue to be required for all guests over 3 years of age.

The original mandate from the State of California included zoos, however, The Living Desert does not fit the traditional zoo definition with its vast hiking trails and more than 50 botanical gardens. The cities of Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and Rancho Mirage, along with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) wrote formal letters to Riverside County stating that The Living Desert officially meets the criteria and intent of an outdoor recreation facility. After legal review, the City of Palm Desert issued a determination that The Living Desert was officially classified as an outdoor recreation facility. Therefore, The Living Desert has outlined a revised COVID-19 reopening strategy with the following modifications:


Reopening Preparedness Plan

Key Modifications: 

We will be providing updates via LivingDesert.org/health, our social media channels, and through email. 

Thank you for your understanding and patience.  

- The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Team 

Please note that these precautions, modifications, and closures are temporary, but are subject to change at any time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to provide the safest and best experience possible, and navigate state and local public health directives. Guests assume the liability for the potential of exposure to COVID-19.


FAQs – New Operations 

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