While many of the enticing aspects of The Living Desert Botanical Zoo are located outdoors, there is plenty to be found indoors as well.
Even though school is underway or close to starting across the Coachella Valley, it’s still hot out and here’s a great way to extend the classroom to a family-based outing.
The Miriam U. Hoover Children’s Discovery Center is an indoor, interactive exhibit space, “where visitors of all ages can experiment and discover how sun, wind, sand, and only a little water work together to make the Coachella Valley such an amazing desert,” says Nyla Patzner, marketing and public relations manager at The Living Desert.
Why Your Kids Will Love It
• Children can run, crawl, and play in a sand-colored, carpeted darkened room with sounds of a desert oasis at night among animal projections and star constellations that glow.
• They can feel the force of a sandstorm making a dune.
• Open drawers to find secret skeletons of desert dwellers (think creepy bugs and snake skins!)
• Create a rubber stamp picture of a desert animal with colored pencils.
A “replica of bones and skulls of Pleistocene desert animals is presented on a fossil wall,” Patzner says about the exhibit that allows kids to touch and feel what they see.
Very Cool, Very Hot
Kids will also love getting a feel for the dark, hot and cold desert in an exhibit that gives the temperature of the earth at different levels underground.
Your kids will be in awe of the 8-foot tall giant ground sloth skeleton (pictured right) that dominates the Discovery Center.
Bang for Your Buck
Entrance to the Miriam U. Hoover Children’s Discovery Center is included with park admission and is open during park summer hours from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (last admission at 1p.m.). Check The Living Desert website for a $3 of fcoupon.
Check with the hotel you’re staying in to see if they are part of a discount program. AAA also offers discounted admissions as does the Palm Springs Visitor’s Center.
Doesn’t seem possible during the hot months, but The Living Desert Botanical Zoo sponsors a monthly First Saturday Zoo Chill program (the next one is Sept. 7) where the first 200 adults admitted into the park receive a free cooler. There are free rides on the Trackless Train Ride from 9-11 a.m., and the giraffes will receive a special frozen treat from 10-11 a.m. Also mention the word “Chill” in the café, grill or gift shop and receive 10 percent off your purchase.
The Living Desert, 47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert, (760) 346-5694 or www.livingdesert.org