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

Press Room



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

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is proud to announce it received USA TODAY’S 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award, the only zoo in California to be honored.

According to the 10Best website, “North America is home to hundreds of zoological parks, including 230 facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Short of heading out into the world's wild places, nothing beats a visit to the zoo to foster an appreciation for the striking animal diversity of our planet. We asked a panel of travel experts to nominate their favorite North American AZA-accredited zoos–facilities that excel in the fields of animal care and enrichment, while also facilitating meaningful interactions between animals and human visitors.”

The Living Desert was one of 20 zoos nominated in this category. Voting was open to the public for one month. The top 10 winners in the category include the following:

  1. Saint Louis Zoo

  2. Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

  3. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

  4. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

  5. Fort Worth Zoo

  6. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

  7. Dallas Zoo

  8. Audubon Zoo

  9. Zoo Miami

  10. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

“It’s not only an honor to be nominated, it’s a true thrill to be voted one of the nation’s top 10 zoos by USA TODAY and the general public,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “We strive every day to give our guests the best experience and being a conservation-first organization, it’s great to be recognized by this group for our animal care and enrichment.” provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. The core of the site's uniqueness is its team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields and their cities, but also discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about so the content is constantly updated, and averages 5 million visitors per month.

USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY's mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. USA TODAY is the nation's number one newspaper in print circulation with an average of more than 1.6 million daily. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

The Living Desert is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about The Living Desert, visit, or call (760) 346-5694. The Living Desert has a free interactive app available to download on smartphones and tablets.

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. The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit