Since 1970, the focus of the Living Desert has helped provide a broader awareness of the importance of plant and wildlife preservation. Visitors can peruse and learn about a variety of fascinating birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles from Africa and North America, along with a diverse selection of flora.
With an assortment of animals ranging from aardwolves to zebras, the African exhibits cover a broad spectrum of Africa's desert life. In recent years, desert habitats have become more and more unstable due to the increased presence of man. Because of this a number of the animals at the Living Desert have been placed on the endangered species list including: the sand cat, similar in size to the common house cat; the mhorr gazelle, (now extinct in the wild) proudly featuring "S" shaped horns; and Kori bustards, an omnivorous bird famous for its loud "barking" capabilities.
Sections of the Living Desert showcase some local wildlife and flora within Palm Springs. Many desert birds are more active during the day such as hummingbirds, cactus wren and roadrunners. When it gets real hot during the summer months, many animals use the coolness of the night to hunt for food. The After Sundown exhibit presents lizards, snakes and owls that prefer a nocturnal lifestyle. Perhaps one of the rarest specimens in the North American section is the Peninsular Bighorn sheep. This remarkable sheep has incredible climbing abilities. If the opportunity ever arose, it could actually walk a tight rope at the circus.
Gecko Gulch - Family Activity Playground
The kids are going to love this hands-on portion of the Living Desert. Added in 2003 to encourage kids to further explore the desert, this playground features cactus slides, gold panning, climb-through turtle-tunnels, and best of all a "Discovery dig area". Be sure to get a photo riding the giant lizard. These are the family moments you'll cherish for years to come.
All eagle enthusiasts will drop their jaws in awe when they meet the majestic golden eagle of Eagle Canyon. (Did you know the golden eagle's wing span can reach nearly 90 inches?) A variety of lions, canyon cats and birds are also found in this section. Let's not forget the adorable fennec fox. This unique creature has a reddish cream-like fur, incredible leaping capabilities and grows to about 14 inches long.