Information on:

The Living Desert

47900 Portola Avenue

Our Mission:
The Living Desert’s mission is desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation.
The objectives of The Living Desert are:

  • to preserve a portion of the Colorado Desert in its natural state;
  • to foster, through interpretive exhibits, programs and publication, an awareness of, and an appreciation for, the variety of plants and animals in worldwide ecosystems;
  • to build up under controlled conditions, populations of various species of desert animals and plants threatened with extinction in the wild state;
  • and to foster through cooperative research and educational programs, biological studies contributing to the protection of desert species in a wild state.

Our Organization:
We are a non-profit, 501c3 (exempt from taxation) organization with a volunteer Board of Trustees (40), and a paid CEO/President.
The Living Desert’s Board of Trustees is made up of business and community leaders who work with the organization to secure gifts for capital, programming and endowment expansion. Its purpose is to support and enhance zoological programs by providing facilities, funds and advice. The President and the Trustees oversee the Zoo Endowment which helps to provide long-term stability for The Living Desert.

The Living Desert was established in 1970 by several trustees of the Palm Springs Desert Museum who foresaw the impact that resort development would have on their local desert ecosystem. This foresight led to an interpretive nature trail and preserve in Palm Desert. Among the trustees was Philip L. Boyd who also founded the Riverside campus of the University of California and the Deep Canyon Research Station in Palm Desert. Among his first tasks was to hire a resident naturalist. This person turned out to be a young woman with energy, intelligence and ambition, as well as experience as a zoo keeper and park ranger, plus graduate work in wildlife biology. Karen Sausman was President and CEO of The Living Desert for forty years and has recently retired. The vision that built The Living Desert and the love of the desert shared by Phillip Boyd, Karen Sausman, our members, volunteers, staff, trustees, and friends, will be carried forward by our new President and CEO, Allen Monroe.

For almost four decades The Living Desert has been engaged in the important work of preserving, conserving and interpreting the desert and all its varied plant and animal life. Even as we take immense pride in our accomplishments over the last forty years, we remain as dedicated as ever to the goals that initially inspired us when we first began operations in March of 1970.


Local Friend

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
The zoo is good for young kids. My 3 and 4 year old really enjoy it. I suggest the camel ride and feeding the giraffes. There is a lot of walking and does get very hot, so do not forget water and sunscreen. Price wise, very reasonable...Costco has 2 adults for $22 and you can buy kids (at site) for $10. If you plan to stay there for a few hours with kids, I suggest the all day wristband to ride camel, carousel, feed giraffes, etc., for $18 or $19. I prefer this zoo to the Los Angeles Zoo, it is a lot less crowded and good variety of animals.

Lotus Flower

Saturday, March 10, 2018
This place is perfect in many ways. Really gorgeous environment. Many activities and some nice shows. I bought the membership many years in a row and went with my loved nephew time after time. Some packed lunches and some bought meals, always an easy trip with lovely animals to see. All in good condition despite the fact that it is a zoo. We fed the giraffes, pet the goats, had the butterflies fly around us, rode the camel. All and all a really lovely family day, always.

Arielle Parfait

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
My kids and I had a great time here. It was pretty hot the day we went but there are a lot of places with shade to stop and cool off. My kiddos enjoyed the camel rides, feeding the parakeets and the carousel. The model trains weren't all running so this was a little disappointing. There were many interesting animals there though and we were able to see them all. I would like to go on the hiking trails they have there the next time we go but it was just too hot when we went this time.

Teresa Moore

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
This was a GREAT park. I was totally more interested in the flora than fauna - but enjoyed both. There was plenty of shade available. The shuttle was well worth the $6/per person. We got there kind of late in the day and take g the shuttle around once helped me decide where I wanted to spend my time. Would definitely go back when in the area again.

Allison Hughes

Monday, March 12, 2018
We went to PS just for the day, a friend recommended we check out the Zoo! Wow, what a great place...we stayed all day! It's a unique place! More intimate with the animals and lots of variety! We were really impressed how many animals we were able to actually see in action and how up close but extremely safe and well designed everything was! I highly recommend this's unlike any others I've been to! C We can't wait to go back when they finish the Lion expansion they are building now! * **Stop at the Visitor Center on Hwy111 when coming into PS from the North side at the tramway turn...they have $3 discount coupons to the Zoo when you but your Zoo tickets there! (2.26.18 Perfect weather and not hot!)

The Living Desert is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media