Kids can feed the giraffes from 8 a.m. to noon during the summer months and through September.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTINA FRARY
The bad news is we have to wait until December for the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert to reopen. Because the Rancho Mirage attraction offers a “hands-on” experience, it closed as soon as the pandemic hit in March 2020. Since then, CEO Cindy Burreson says her team has been reimagining the museum, which is preparing to introduce 40 new exhibits and activities.
Meanwhile, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert is a perennial favorite. A pair of black rhinos recently joined the menagerie that also includes giraffes, zebras, and bighorn sheep as well as an Australian Adventures habitat, which introduces wallabies, kookaburras, tawny frogmouths, emu, and other exotic animals from Down Under. Like everything else at The Living Desert in August, it’s advisable to go when the attraction opens at 7 a.m. and leave by 10 a.m. Aside from cooler temps, you’ll witness morning feedings, particularly the elusive cheetahs by the entrance to the African Village.
Likewise, you should visit public parks early in the morning. The best spots include Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs, Civic Center Park in Palm Desert, and the 46-acre Bagdouma Park in Coachella. The public swimming pool at the latter is especially popular in the summer.
Speaking of water sports, check the family into the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage for the weekend (or get a day pass) and enjoy access to Splashtopia, with two waterslides and a 425-foot lazy river. Reserve a cabana for cooling misters and shade. The HyTides Plunge Waterpark at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa also has two twisty slides and a lazy river that’s 25 feet longer than Splashtopia’s.