Plan Your Visit

All of the information you need to plan your perfect day at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

Hours, Location & Admission Information

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Zoo Hours

June 1 – September 30

Open Daily
7:00am – 1:30pm

Last admission at 12:30pm

October 1 – May 31

Open Daily
8:00am – 5:00pm

Last admission at 4:00pm

Closed December 25th
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Ticket Prices

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(General Admission, Ages 18+)



(General Admission, Ages 3 – 17)


Child Under 3


Military Discount

(Active & Retired)


Tickets must be purchased in advance in order to maximize your time for fun!

Enhance Your Adventure With Our Free Mobile App

Seamlessly navigate the park with the app’s GPS-enabled map, plan your day, enjoy interactive experiences, and stay updated wherever you are.

Download the App

The Living Desert's app overview screen
The Living Desert's app explore screen
The Living Desert's app plan screen
The Living Desert's app habitat screen

Today at the Zoo

Click to view today’s full schedule and plan your adventure!


Giraffe Connection at Giraffe Care & Conservation Center


Rhino Encounter* (Advanced reservations recommended)

8:00am - 12:00pm

Giraffe Feeding*


Rhino Connection at McCarthy Overlook


African Grasslands Connection at the Cheetah Habitat


African Painted Dog Connection at Their Habitat


Reptile Connection in Village Watutu


Wild Americas Connection in Eagle Canyon


Animal Connection at the Discovery Center

Programming and timing subject to change.

*additional cost.

The Kookaburra Cafe is currently offering snacks, ice cream, and beverages while the kitchen is under construction. Thank you for your understanding as we prepare to launch new offerings at the Cafe!

Things to Do

Tours & Experiences

Level up your adventure and create unforgettable memories with our interactive tours and experiences!

The cost of your experience tickets help support the Zoo’s world-class animal care and global conservation initiatives.

Rhino Encounter

This intimate encounter is a TON of fun! Come face-to-face with an iconic, and critically endangered species, the black rhino. During this up-close experience, you’ll be able to participate in the rhino’s feeding routine and hear fascinating stories directly from the team who cares for them!

Get ready to make life-long memoires and snap some Instagram-worthy photos!

*Advanced reservations recommended.
Rhino Encounter

Private Safari Tour

Embark on a memorable two-hour Private Safari Tour at The Living Desert, where you’ll be chauffeured around the Zoo in style on a private shuttle by your personal guide. Your guide will lead you through the park, sharing animal facts, Zoo history, and more for a fun and comfortable adventure tailored just for you.

*Advanced reservations required.
Private Tours

Giraffe Feeding

Feed your sense of adventure —and a giraffe! Come nose-to-nose with the world’s tallest animal for a unique opportunity to spend a moment with these graceful giants, create unforgettable memories, and take wild photos.

Tickets can be purchased at the giraffe feeding station inside the park.

*Walk-up opportunity.
Giraffe Feeding PlanYourVisit

Animals & Gardens

African Safari PlanYourVisit

African Safari

Take a trip to the African savanna where black rhino, waterbuck, and springbok roam together in the expansive, multi-species Rhino Savanna habitat. Across the bridge, watch graceful giraffe graze alongside greater kudu and ostrich in the sprawling plains, set against a serene mountain backdrop.

Australian Adventures

Voted #4 in USA Today's Best Zoo Habitats (2024)
Step into an immersive world where wallabies hop alongside you and colorful budgies fly overhead. You’ll also meet laughing kookaburra, impressive emu, and other Australian animals as you stroll through this unique habitat
mexican wolf

Wild Americas

Embark on a vibrant journey through the wilderness of North and South America, where you'll encounter species from our local desert ecosystems, all amidst the lush beauty of the native plants.
Humming birds

Hiking Trails

Explore the serene beauty of the Colorado Desert on our nature trails, ranging from the easy Discovery Loop through desert woodlands, the more challenging Adventure Loop with views of the San Andreas Fault, to the rugged Wilderness Loop for the ultimate hiking enthusiast.

The Gardens

With over 50 gardens, The Living Desert showcases roughly 1,200 plant species! Explore the unique flora of deserts from around the world, meander through pollinator gardens, where hummingbirds and butterflies drift through the air, or enjoy a picnic among one of the shaded pathways as you take in the breathtaking scenery.

Dining & Shopping

Accessibility Information

The Living Desert is dedicated to creating create a safe, navigable environment, so that visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy nature.

The Living Desert is proud to be a Certified Autism Center™ and is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and California Access Laws.

Accommodations for

The Living Desert aims to offer an inclusive experience for all, including those with sensory sensitivities. To support this mission, we provide ongoing training to our staff and offer the following resources and accommodations:

Sensory Resources

At no cost, guests can borrow sensory resources such as fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, weighted lap pads, and more. These items are available for checkout at our Admissions windows or the Guest Services Office, conveniently located just beyond the Zoo Entrance. Guests can leave an ID to borrow these resources.

Sensory Maps

Our Sensory Maps offer valuable information and highlight areas that may be loud, crowded, interactive, smelly, or dark, as well as quieter and more peaceful areas within the park.

The Zoo offers monoculars to aid our sight-impaired guests. If a sight-impaired guest is accompanied and needs assistance by an aid, the aid is offered a complimentary daytime admission ticket to the Zoo.

*These items require that our guests fill out an Equipment Checkout Form and provide an ID and credit card number. There is a $50 charge for any equipment that is not returned.

Only working service animals are permitted. If you require a service dog, you must notify the Admissions staff to alert our Animal Care Department. Certain areas of the Zoo are restricted. Please view our complete Service Animal Policy.

Pets are not allowed in the park. For safety reasons, please do not leave a pet in your car.

The Zoo features wide, paved pathways for strollers and wheelchairs. Rentals, including child strollers, wheelchairs, and electric scooters, are available at the entrance on a first-come, first-served basis. Availability and prices may vary.

Daily Rentals:
  • Single Strollers: $8.00*
  • Double Strollers: $10.00*
  • Wheelchair: $15.00*
  • Electric Scooter/Electric Convenience Vehicle: $30.00*
*All rental prices are plus tax.
Relevant Information

The Zoo offers an Assistive Listening Device that can aid hearing. If a hearing-impaired guest is accompanied and needs assistance by an aid, the aid is offered a complimentary daytime admission ticket to the Zoo.

*These items require that our guests fill out an Equipment Checkout Form and provide an ID and credit card number. There is a $50 charge for any equipment that is not returned.

For queries or needs, contact Guest Services at (760) 346-5694 or Optimal service is provided with a two-week prior notice. Your calls, comments, and suggestions are always welcome. Discuss special needs on the day of your visit at our Guest Services office near the front entrance.

Please note, that access is a field that changes frequently, as new information, technology, and laws evolve, we reserve the right to modify this guide and our accessibility policies as appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get to The Living Desert?

From Highway 111 in Palm Desert, turn south on Portola Ave., then it’s a quick 1.5 miles up the road. Take a left at the main entrance.

From Interstate 10, take the Monterey exit and head south. Go approximately 6 miles and turn east (left) on Highway 111. Turn south on Portola Ave., then it’s a quick 1.5 miles up the road. Take a left at the main entrance.

Parking is free.
Pets are not allowed at The Living Desert. For safety reasons, do not leave a pet in your car.

The Policy:

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens welcomes any well-behaved service dog in the company of its owner onto The Living Desert grounds. We are happy to comply with state and federal laws to allow this access.

Service Animal Definition:

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA).

In order to determine if an animal is a service animal, The Living Desert’s Zoo staff may ask only the following questions:

  • Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, only trained service animals are permitted on Zoo grounds. Pets, exotic species, therapy, or emotional-support animals are not permitted. Service animals in training are permitted into the Zoo with prior notification to the Zoo’s management team.

Regarding miniature horses, the Zoo will consider additional factors to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether it is a reasonable accommodation to allow a person with a disability to be accompanied by a miniature horse who is a service animal. Those factors: (1) the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate it; (2) whether the handler has sufficient control over the miniature horse; (3) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence in the facility compromises legitimate safety rules that are necessary for a safe operation.

General Guidelines:

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. The care and supervision of a service animal is the sole responsibility of the owner.

Restricted Areas:

The Living Desert is responsible for the health and well-being of a vast number of valued and, in many cases, rare and endangered species of animals. Because we are subject to stringent regulations pertaining to their protection, service animals are restricted from the following areas:

Petting Kraal habitat:

State of California Penal Code 54.7 allows this exception where there is not a physical barrier between the zoo’s population of animals and the service animal.

Australian Outback habitat:

State of California Penal Code 54.7 allows this exception where there is not a physical barrier between the zoo’s population of animals and the service animal.
Wild Prairies habitat State of California Penal Code 54.7 allows this exception where there is not a physical barrier between the zoo’s population of animals and the service animal.

Wildlife Wonders and Village Reptile Show:

Under federal guidelines -At a zoo, service animals can be restricted from areas where the animals on display are the natural prey or natural predators of dogs, where the presence of a dog would be disruptive, causing the displayed animals to behave aggressively or become agitated
The Living Desert will offer care of the service animal while the guest visits the restricted areas, and if necessary, offer an escort to the owner while in these areas.

In the event that a service animal’s presence could theoretically cause animals in our care undue stress or anxiety, or present the potential for injury, we reserve the right to designate some areas off limits, or to designate the area as sensitive and request that guests observe extra caution in these areas. Sensitive areas may be designated as a result of new births or hatchlings, nesting or breeding behaviors in progress, or new animals on exhibit. Zoo veterinarians, directors and animal care managers will determine whether special circumstances warrant restrictions on service animals in any areas.

Guest Responsibilities:

Responsibilities of the guests with service animals include:

  • To care for and supervise the service animal, including appropriately disposing of any service animal waste.
  • To maintain control over the service animal at all times and adhere to leash laws as applicable.
  • To refrain from taking the service animal into restricted areas.
  • To remove the service animal when a conflict or potential conflict may occur. This includes free roaming birds and zoo animals on walks with handlers.

The Living Desert does not require any surcharges for fees for service animals. However, the owner will be held liable (and charged as applicable) for any damage, injury or death caused by the service animal to the grounds, him/herself, the animal or plant collection, employees, or visitors to the same extent as others without service animals are held responsible or charged. Owners should also be aware that the nature of Zoo activities is such that service animals may be exposed to diseases of animals within the Zoo’s population, and this risk is assumed wholly by the owner when bringing the service animal on site.

If a service animal is allowed to be brought on site, and during the visit that animal becomes disruptive, the handler will be asked to remove the animal from The Living Desert and to a safe location for the animal. The handler will be free to return to The Living Desert afterwards. Disruptive animals may be disallowed from future visits.

Service Animals in Training:

We are not required to admit puppies or dogs that are in training as service dogs. However, we will usually treat these animals and handlers as a working unit. Service dogs in-training and their handlers will have to follow all the guidelines and responsibilities as a fully trained service animal and are allowed in any public area of the park, except the Kraal Petting Area and Australian Outback area exhibit and the walk-through aviaries. We do reserve the right to deny admission to any puppy or dog behaving in a manner that causes concern for animals in our care.

You can! We have multiple picnic tables throughout the park where you can sit and enjoy lunch or a snack. For the safety of other guests and the animals, please do not bring any glass containers or alcohol.
Reciprocal Zoo Admissions

Receive 50% off admission with an active membership card and valid photo ID to other reciprocal Zoos, Aquariums, and Gardens. Please note that we are unable to reserve reciprocal zoo admission tickets online or over the phone. To redeem the reciprocal discount, tickets must be purchased at the admissions window.

Museums for All

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is dedicated to fostering wildlife connections for everyone, regardless of economic status. We aim to be inclusive and offer affordable access to low-income families through two programs, ensuring everyone can experience our museum and cultural attractions.

Zoo Admission

To broaden access to everyone, The Living Desert is offering a special, reduced rate to SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders. Cardholders can simply show valid, SNAP/EBT card and valid form of photo ID at the ticket counter to receive a special zoo admission price of $3.00 per person, for up to 4 people. EBT cardholder must be present at the time of purchase to receive the discount.

Museums for All pricing is available to all SNAP EBT cardholders during regular zoo hours, excluding all special event days, special events, and evening hours.

Educational Promotions

Participants can register for any educational program during the 2024 season at 10% of the listed price. The SNAP or EBT card holder must be present at check-in with their card and a valid form of photo ID to receive the discount. Please see the details below to register.

*The P-EBT card is not valid for these promotions.

For the safety of our guests and animals, we maintain a smoke and vape free environment throughout Zoo grounds, which includes the parking lot.

You should allow 2-3 hours to see everything at a comfortable pace. Make sure to check our Daily Schedule prior to arrival to plan ahead.

For your safety, proper attire, including shoes and shirts, must be worn at all times. We highly recommended hats and sunglasses, as well as the use of sunscreen.
If you require first aid, encounter a problem, or have an emergency, please contact any staff member throughout the park.

For the safety of all our guests, animals and plants, the following rules must be adhered to while in or around The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. We reserve the right to restrict entrance or require a guest to leave Zoo grounds if these rules are not followed. We also reserve the right to restrict the use of any items or behavior which may be harmful to other guests, animals, or plants.

  • Please respect the animals and treat them as you would like to be treated.
  • Entrance into ANY animal exhibit including the crossing of any barriers, fencing, or gates is strictly prohibited and is considered unlawful under California Penal Code Section 602.13. Parents, guardians, and chaperones should pay close attention to their children at all times.
  • Pets of any kind are prohibited in the park and are not permitted to be left alone in vehicles for any amount of time. Working service dogs that perform tasks for their owners are permitted.
  • The Living Desert maintains a smoke-free environment.
  • The Living Desert is a natural reserve and home to a variety of native wildlife such as spiders, scorpions and snakes that come and go from our grounds and could pose a potential risk. Please refrain from turning over stones or logs and stay on designated paths. If you are fortunate enough to see some of this wildlife, please notify a staff member or volunteer to resolve any situation.
  • By entering the park, through membership or ticket purchase, you acknowledge that your photograph may be taken and used for marketing purposes.
Upon entering The Living Desert, you acknowledge and agree that you may be photographed or videotaped and any such image may be used for advertising or commercial purposes (including, but not limited to: social media, print, television, online, website, and promotional purposes) at the discretion of The Living Desert.

No person may sell or promote for commercial purpose, any image, video, or other medium taken while visiting The Living Desert without contractual permission granted by The Living Desert. The use of The Living Desert’s facilities for artistic purposes including commercials, TV shows, publication shoots, and model shoots must be approved and scheduled through The Living Desert’s Marketing and Public Relations Department. For more information, please call (760) 346-5694.

Please submit a Community Donation Request. Due to the large number of requests we receive, please allow 45 days from the event date for us to review and process the request. We are unable to respond to follow-up emails or phone calls. Phone, e-mail, mail and drop-in requests will not be considered.