Press Room


Groundbreaking Ceremony Held Today

Contact: Erin Scott
Sr. Marketing and Public Relations Manager
760-346-5694 x.2610

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens held a groundbreaking ceremony today to kick-off the first phase of Crossroads of Conservation – capital improvement and park expansion that will provide guests new opportunities to interact and learn about the world’s desert wildlife. The first of three phases will transform the visitor entrance to the park with new welcome plazas and visitor services, and will be home to the Living Legacy Endowment Garden.

The groundbreaking ceremony included guests from The Living Desert’s Board of Directors and the City of Palm Desert, as well as special four-legged friends – Teluk, a New Guinea Singing Dog, and Pharoah, a fennec fox.

“We are excited to begin this next phase of development working to exceed the needs and expectations of our guests and further our efforts as a world-class conservation organization,” said Allen Monroe, President and CEO. “As we begin this expansion, our mission of desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation remains at the heart of what we do, drives our current operations, and guides our future plans.”

Following the completion of the first phase, subsequent phases will include major animal exhibits featuring lions, rhinoceros, and hyena and a special events center. Funding for the Crossroads of Conservation project is provided by an ongoing $30 million capital campaign, titled Pride of the Desert. Lead capital campaign gifts to date include Patti & Jack Grundhofer and Connie & Bob Lurie.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks, and phase one will be complete by Fall 2018. Construction and development is not expected to affect park operations or guest experiences. The new entrance will be constructed near the existing Chase Administration building and will focus on enhancing the guest experience and meeting the needs of the zoo’s growing number of visitors. New features include a more centrally located entrance easily accessible to all parking, expedited ticketing with the addition of electronic kiosks, enhanced guest facilities and amenities including restrooms, an improved welcome center, as well as the Living Legacy Endowment Garden.

The Crossroads of Conservation is the first project outlined in the master plan designed to guide the organization’s development for the next 25 years. The master plan’s goal is to provide a road map for the long- term future for The Living Desert to fulfill its mission and connection to the residents and tourists of the Coachella Valley through new exhibits, enhancements, programs and amenities.

About The Living Desert

The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation. It is a family-friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for guests that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.