Celebrating 50 Years of Adventure
Visitor informaiton to help you plan your day inside The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Visitor informaiton to help you plan your day inside The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

Plan Your Day

Calendar of

Find out what’s going on today, tomorrow, and later this month you social butterfly.

See What’s Happening


seasonal hours

Open Daily October 1 – May 31
8am – 5pm

Last admission at 4pm

Closed December 25th

summer hours

Open Daily June 1 – September 30
7am – 1:30pm

Last admission at 1pm

  Free Parking is Available

where to eat

Tasty options!

Treat yourself at one of our many dining options open daily:
Kookaburra Café
Featuring fresh, made-to-order sandwiches and salads, beverages, snacks and desserts.
Thorn Tree Grill
Featuring American cuisine, salads, beverages and more.
Churro Stop
Serving fresh, made-to-order churros, soft-serve ice cream, and beverages.
Safari Soft Serve
Serving soft serve ice cream with toppings, milkshakes, fresh fruit smoothies, ICEE beverages, coffee drinks, draft beer, fresh popcorn and more.
Picnic Areas
There are a number of picnic areas for guests on a first-come, first-serve basis. No outside alcohol permitted.
Water stations
Available throughout the Zoo.

take home more than

Located in the entry plaza, Suzan and Bill Appel Gift Shop is open daily and features a curated selection of zoo memorabilia, souvenirs, unique gifts and more to remember your visit.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the Appel Gift Shop is currently closed.

New - The Appel Gift Shop is now online! Check out the webstore and place your order today!

Shop Now

park shuttle
zip around

For the safety of our guests, our public shuttle service will not be running.


Frequently Asked Questions


  • Accessibility

    People of all abilities are welcomed at The Living Desert. The zoo offers wide, paved pathways throughout, making exploring accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.

    Child and adult strollers are available* to rent for $5. A handicap shuttle is available to provide transportation for guests in a wheelchair.  Please call us 2 days in advance of your visit to reserve it so that we may schedule a driver.

    *subject to availability

  • Service Animals

    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.

  • Helpful Information
    For your safety

    The First Aid Station is located in the entry complex.

    All staff are equipped with radios. If you encounter any problem or emergency, please contact any staff member throughout the park.

    Please wear appropriate attire, including sturdy shoes, hats, sunglasses and cool clothing.

  • General Park
    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.

    How much is parking?

    Parking is free.

    Can we bring our own food in?

    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.

    How much time does it take to see the entire zoo?

    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.

    Can I smoke in the zoo?

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

    Who do I contact to make a donation for my upcoming fundraiser?

    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.

    Can I bring my dog?

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

  • Policies and Zoo Rules

    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.
    • To ensure the health and safety of our guests, staff, and volunteers, there will be certain precautions, modifications, and conditions of entry for COVID-19. Learn more>>
  • Photo and Video Image use Policy

    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.

  • Media Policies

    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 help us keep The Living Desert a fun, safe place where we can continue our important mission of desert conservation through preservation, education, and appreciation. Have a Wonderfully Wild day!

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