Palm Springs

Venture off to explore exotic and rare species

The botanical gardens and other exhibits at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California, represent the great diversity of flora and fauna found throughout the deserts of North America

a flowering cactus

At The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California, you will find everything from exhibits and wild animals to live shows, a children’s discovery centre, a kids' carousel, tranquil gardens, a butterfly pavilion, hiking trails and the garden centre’s G-scale model train display. Since 1970, The Living Desert has been engaged in the important work of preserving, conserving and interpreting the desert and all its varied plant and animal life.

For the birds 

Nine years after the grand opening of The Living Desert, an aviary for native bird species was constructed; it includes a walkway that allows visitors to explore the captivating sanctuary.

Nyla Patzner, marketing and public relations manager of The Living Desert, strongly suggests venturing through the 1,200 protected acres of desert environments representing North America and Africa.

Caring for creatures

In addition to the plant and bird exhibits, an animal care centre was completed at The Living Desert to accommodate the increasing animal collection as well as injured and orphaned creatures. The Living Desert has made the safety and well-being of these animals a top priority.

The small animals exhibit showcases small desert animals, and these are mostly nocturnal. Insects and lizards abound along with a chuckwalla, the desert's largest lizard. Bats, scorpions, screech owls, mice, lizards and snakes all seek the coolness of the evening temperatures to hunt for food. This exhibit provides visitors with an opportunity to see these elusive critters up close. 

Get to know the desert ants

A unique section of The Living Desert is the new ant lab, stationed at the discovery centre. It is home to about 10,000 desert ants, who work diligently at building tunnels, cleaning house, taking out garbage, caring for their eggs, larvae and pupae, and dismembering and transporting their insect prey. It is fascinating to observe the ants' organizational strategy in their colony.

Inspired by the desert 

A very popular part of The Living Desert is the Palo Verde garden centre.

"Our Palo Verde garden centre has evolved into having one of the most complete selections of southwest desert plants in the state,” said Patzner. “We carry more specimen plants than ever before and have many hard-to-find, rare, desert natives as well.”

The Palo Verde garden centre has a vast array of desert garden books, as well as pottery, charming and whimsical garden accessories and other unique gifts. This garden centre employs friendly, informative and knowledgeable staff, who are here to ensure that you have an incredible time while exploring The Living Desert.

What are you waiting for? Come check out the desert habitats, wildlife, gardens and shops at The Living Desert. 

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