The Living Desert

Location: 47-900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260. (some twenty miles SW of Palm Springs)

Phone: 760-346-5694 (Fax: 760-568-9685)


Hours: Open every day September 1 to June 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Last admission at 4:00 p.m. Closed December 25th Summer Hours: Open every day June 16 to August 31, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Last admission at 1:00 p.m.

Fees: Check website for current ticket prices, discount offers and combination packages.

Comments: This is a desert. It’s cooler in the morning! Plan the timing of your visit. The morning can begin quite cool but by noon, things can get a little uncomfortable.

Visitors who come to The Living Desert in the early morning are in for some delightful surprises! In the cool of the morning, most of the animals on exhibit are at their peak activity. Playing, some eating breakfast, catching the wind for the scent of other nearby animals, stretching and prowling. As the day warms up, so do the birds of prey, fanning out their huge marvelous wings to the sun. The tortoises and lizards come out of their hiding places to feel the gentle warmth. Warthogs and javelinas rout and romp in the morning hours, contentedly grunting during nap time in the midday sun. Even the goats in the Petting Kraal enjoy nuzzling with visitors. Meerkats seem to play all afternoon, each taking a turn being the lookout, while the others scamper about. Late afternoon is the wake up call to nocturnal creatures. The cheetahs climb to the top of their ridge and majestically watch the sun set, the sky turning as golden amber as their eyes. The web site list more than a hundred animals.

The Palo Verde Garden Center offers a variety of cactus, succulents, flowering ornamental, wildlife food, desert plants and arrangements, as well as landscaping and horticultural books, videos and garden ornaments. At the Wortz Demonstration Garden, enter rustic gates into a magical garden where soothing sounds of water splash into pools, sunlight filters through a green canopy of branches and lush desert plants are artfully arranged. Featured in Sunset Magazine, the Demonstration Garden gives homeowners and landscape architects ideas for using drought resistant plants in their own homes or projects. Further on, immerse yourself in our Cahuilla Indian garden and other botanical gardens containing plant specimens from the Sonoran, Mojave and other North American deserts.

Palo Verde Garden Center & Wortz Demonstration Garden is Open 9am to 5pm (Sept. 1 - June 15) and Open 8am to 1pm (June 16 - Aug. 31).

Directions: From Interstate 10 take the Monterey exit and turn south. Go south approximately 6 miles and turn east (left) on Hwy 111. From Hwy. 111 in Palm Desert, turn south on Portola Ave., go 1 1/2 miles, follow signs to main entrance. Plenty of free parking.

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