PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS — One of the desert’s most popular and beloved treasures is re-opening.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens  has been authorized to reopen by the State of California Resilience Road Map and the Riverside County Department of Health with specific COVID-19 precautions. The Zoo and Gardens will first open for two special members-only days on Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14, and will open to the general public on Monday, June 15, 2020.

“We look forward to welcoming our community to safely enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces of The Living Desert,” Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. said in a statement. “The health and wellbeing of our guests, staff, and animals remains our top priority. We have been working diligently on our reopening plans to ensure that we follow all CDC, WHO, and local health and safety recommendations and orders.”

In collaboration with Riverside County Public Health Department, the following protocols will be implemented as conditions of entry to visit:

Guests are required to:

  • Refrain from entering if they are showing any signs of illness, including fever and flu-like symptoms
  • Wear face coverings (mask, bandana, or neck gaiter) while on grounds and in the parking lot for all guests 3 years and older; Face shields are acceptable for those who cannot wear other face coverings
  • Maintain proper social/physical distancing of at least six feet
  • Refrain from congregating with others that are not within their household
  • Obey all posted signage, conditions for entry, and staff instructions
  • Reserve advanced timed entry tickets for all guests and member visits

“Situated on over 80 acres, The Living Desert affords visitors ample opportunity to follow social distancing practices when they visit,” said Mark Miller, Director of Park Services and Guest Relations. “We are requiring guests to purchase their tickets in advance so they can utilize our contact-free admission process of showing their ticket on a mobile device. We will also be limiting the number of guests who can enter the Park each hour to reduce congestion.”

Guests are encouraged to maintain proper personal hygiene including frequent hand washing and utilize hand sanitizers available around the Park. Furthermore, food and beverage outlets are take-away only and the following areas and programming of the Zoo remain closed: keeper chats, carousel, Gecko Gulch Play Park, Wildlife Wonders Show, Village Reptile Show, and Tennity Wildlife Hospital.

“Our members, donors, and the community at large have been so supportive during these last two months,” said Jan Hawkins, Director of Development at The Living Desert. “We are so grateful for their donations, membership renewals, and messages of support and encouragement during these challenging times.”

For the full list of closures, conditions for entry, and additional safety procedures, please click here. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with last admission at 1 p.m.


About the Living Desert:

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit, accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, ensuring the highest standards of all aspects of animal care, education, conservation, public service, and operations. The Zoo is active in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs and education initiatives around the world, as well as in its own community. The Zoo has been a top destination in the Palm Springs area for 50 years. The Living Desert is located at 47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or click here. 


Image Sources

  • Bennetts wallaby: Living Desert