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A winter get-a-way in The Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens

A visit to the desert communities during the early months of the year offers cooler temperatures from the intense heat of the summer months, making it more comfortable for visiting the many events and attractions to be found there.

Wa Tu Tu village aninals
Wa Tu Tu village aninals
Map of the area

One of these is the Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Gardens, about 15 minutes from Palm Springs at 47900 Portola Dr, Palm Desert. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until May 31, after which the summer hours go into effect. During this time they offer extensive programs and events, some of which take place after the regular hours.

Visiting during the cooler days of March allows one to enjoy all the "Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens has to offer, one of these is the fascinating 'Ant Lab' ,and depending on when you go there are two special events one is ' The Park after Dark' on Mar 7, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Find out what the animals are up to when the lights go out, take guided walks through the zoo, go scorpion hunting using ultra violet lights, then sit around a roaring campfire.

Here are a few more exciting activities:

(1) Go on a Safari without leaving California, visit the authentic replica of a village in Africa - Wa Tu Tu - with it's mud-walled and grass thatched huts, where you can hear the rythmic sounds of Africa as you listen to the master storytellers weave spellbinding tales. The kids can help groom a dwarf goat, see camels, hyenas, and leopard to mention a few of the wildlife from Africa.

(2) The kids can have a merry time on 'Marilyn's Merry-Go-Round' where 30 of the animals found in the Living Desert are depicted. There is a separate fee of $2 per ride and tickets can be purchased at the admission window of the carousel.

(3) Gecko Gulch a 1-acre playground where kids can make there own fun among the over sized snake and lizard sculptures, the Saguaro cactus slide, gold panning trough, sand dunes, or just relax in the shaded area set aside for parents with toddlers


(4) The exciting Jaguar exhibit showcases the largest 'cat' that is native to America. One gets to the Monarch of the Desert throught a sub-tropical forested trail where an old abandoned silver mine, a miner's cabin and rusty truck are located in the foothills of the Sonora Garden.

(5) On six sunday afternoons the 'Jazzoo Concert Series' was held beginning in December. The last show is scheduled for Mar 23 featuring Tommy Dorsey Songbook. Light snacks will be sold and concert goers can bring their own wine. All shows are at either 3 pm or 5 pm. Jazz tickets must be purchased separate to the admission into the park . As they sell out quickly it is best to purchase online.

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