National Parks / Natural World

The Living Desert Indian Wells

Where is it at?

View on Google Maps

The Living Desert
Palm Desert
Indian Wells
CA
92260
Tel: 760 3456 5694

Directions

We are conveniently located in the center of the Coachella Valley, just minutes from Palm Springs and Indio. 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. From Interstate 10 take the Monterey exit and turn south. Go south approximately 6 miles and turn east (left) on Hwy 111. Follow direction above when you reach Portola.

Where are we going today?

This tour through The Living Desert will show you how language has misled everyone into thinking of the desert as a surly, outlaw landscape instead of a fragile, interesting ecosystem. You'll see remarkable plants, animals, places and natural phenomena associated with deserts and learn how The Living Desert is helping to interpret and protect them. You will also find out about one of the most unusual institutions in the United States.

There isn't a single word to describe all that The Living Desert is and does, it offers showcases of world environments linked by the notion, and sometimes misconception, of 'desert'. It's a beautiful adventure, and you'll come away knowing more.

Email attraction

How much does it cost?

  • Adults$17.25
  • Children$8.75
  • Free Under: 3 years.
LAST UPDATED 2013

When can we go?

Open daily October 1 to May 31 9am to 5pm. Open daily June 1 to September 30 8am to 1:30pm

Any Top Tips?

Take a camera and weather proofing..

Doing our bit

To preserve a portion of the Colorado Desert in its natural state. The Living Desert has set aside 1,000 acres of natural desert habitat..

What people are saying?

  • by

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5

    Thoroughly disappointed. We left right away after taking my young son only to see offensive graphic/obscene displays of dead bodies hanging from nooses and severed heads/limbs on Oct. 27th, 2014. I feel that this is not a place with young children in mind, I have voiced my concerns with the management, there was no apology or sympathy, they just said, "No one else has a problem with it". I came to see animals, not an x-rated horror house.

  • by

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5

    Fantastic zoo. I love how they blended the desert and natural plants and the animals. There was no giraffes due to constructions bit the rest was top notch. You can even tour the animal hospital. The surprise was the giant model train set. They must have put so much effort into making it. In the summer they close early and for good reason. It gets so hot. Get there as early as you can.

  • by

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5

    Christmas 2013 will be the fourth time my wife, the kids and I come to visit the LD, my nickname. I used to come as a child with my mother in the late 80's and early 90's and it was great then. What it has become in the last two decades is truly remarkable. Hands down the best experience we have every time we visit the Palm Springs area and I'm looking forward to our trip if only to see the LD. The LD has room to expand and I see a bright future. Highly recommended for those interested in biodiversity, sustainability and the outstanding beauty...Read More

  • by

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5

    I went there for a scholl field trip this year in 5th grade and I loved it ive been there 2 times we might go today. YAY

  • by

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5

    First of all, Google has the name wrong. The place is "Thje Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Garden. I have no idea where the "Southern California" came from. If you just look up "The Living Desert", it is even worse. It has the street wrong... Portola Drive instead of Portola Ave., so it puts it at a house in Palm Springs. Ack!

    Google than shows a review from "last week" which complains that it closes at 1:30! That is only in the summer...June through September. It's open until 5:00 the rest of the year. for some reason people don't spend time there...Read More

Submit a review

by D Foley

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

Christmas 2013 will be the fourth time my wife, the kids and I come to visit the LD, my nickname. I used to come as a child with my mother in the late 80's and early 90's and it was great then. What it has become in the last two decades is truly remarkable. Hands down the best experience we have every time we visit the Palm Springs area and I'm looking forward to our trip if only to see the LD. The LD has room to expand and I see a bright future. Highly recommended for those interested in biodiversity, sustainability and the outstanding beauty of the southern California low desert. Great for kids, the elderly, the young, the single really all you need is an open mind and a curiosity in science and nature and you'll love this place. Also don’t miss the G-scale train model.

by Kevin Oberman

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

First of all, Google has the name wrong. The place is "Thje Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Garden. I have no idea where the "Southern California" came from. If you just look up "The Living Desert", it is even worse. It has the street wrong... Portola Drive instead of Portola Ave., so it puts it at a house in Palm Springs. Ack!

Google than shows a review from "last week" which complains that it closes at 1:30! That is only in the summer...June through September. It's open until 5:00 the rest of the year. for some reason people don't spend time there in the summer afternoons when the temperature is almost always over 100F.

I find The Living Desert to be a fascinating place with only desert plants and animals. The gardens are wonderful with different gardens for different deserts in Africa and North America as well as several dedicated to particular families of cacti.

As for the zoo, my favorites are the meerkats, the giraffes, the Ankole Cattle (huge horns) and the Cheetahs. That's just a few of the many.

Not found what you're looking for?