PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS – The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens has received the No. 5 position in USA TODAY’S 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award for Best Zoo Lights.

According to the 10Best website, zoos across the U.S. get into the holiday spirit with festive seasonal displays and The Living Desert was one of 20 nominated in this category. Voting was open to the public for one month and the contest closed on Dec. 2. Winners were selected based on readers’ votes.

The top 10 winners include the following:

  1. PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo
  2. Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo
  3. Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  4. U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo
  5. WildLights at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
  6. Christmas at the Zoo at the Indianapolis Zoo
  7. Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
  8. Philadelphia Zoo LumiNature
  9. Holiday Lights at California Living Museum
  10. L.A. Zoo Lights

“It’s the season to celebrate and we are enjoying our annual WildLights tradition,” Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert, said in a news release. “We now have even more to celebrate with the honor of being nominated and voted in the top 5, amongst our counterparts across the country. Now is the perfect time to come out and experience the WildLights.” provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. The core of the site’s uniqueness is its team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields and their cities, but also discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about so the content is constantly updated, and averages 5 million visitors per month.

WildLights takes place December 13-14, 20-24, 26-28. Event hours are 6 – 9 p.m. with last entry at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $14 per person; $12 for members, military (with ID); $10 for children ages 3-12 and free for those under 3. Some attractions require additional fees. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the main admissions gate.  For more information, click here or call (760) 346-5694.

The Living Desert is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the grounds and gardens opening at 8 a.m.



Image Sources

  • Tunnel of lights at Living Desert: Living Desert Zoo and Gardens