Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Reopens Additional Amenities in Palm Desert

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Reopens Additional Amenities in Palm Desert

Taylor Martinez & City News Service

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert will reopen additional amenities to the public starting Friday.

The carousel, giraffe feeding and the zoo’s Wildlife Wonders Show are set to restart due to the recent revocation of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, zoo officials said. Most indoor and “high-touch” areas remain closed. Private safari tours and take-away restaurant service restarted last week.

“With the return of some of our beloved attractions, there’s now even more to experience during your visit to the Living Desert,” said Allen Monroe, the zoo’s president and CEO. “From the wallabies in Australian Adventures to the majestic views of our giraffe savanna, and exclusive access to our nature and hiking trails, there is always something new to discover.”

Newsom last week lifted his Dec. 6 stay-at-home order, which was based on areas sliding below a threshold of 15% available ICU space. He justified cancellation of the order by citing projections from the CDPH showing ICU availability recovering in the next month. Riverside County is still in the most restrictive “purple” tier of the governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.

The 80-acre zoo closed briefly after the stay-at-home order was announced in December, but reopened about a week later following a successful lobbying effort by local officials.

The zoo opened amid strict coronavirus-related protocols, which confined activities mostly to outdoor spaces — hiking trails, botanical gardens and the zoo’s animal exhibits, most of which are housed outdoors.

Certain aspects of zoo operations that typically see people gather were eliminated, until now.

Social distancing and other protocols aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus remain in effect, including required face coverings on all guests 3 years and older, a cap on guest capacity and required advanced reservations.

The gift shop remains open with a 25% cap on guest occupancy.

The zoo, located at 47900 Portola Ave., is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional information about the zoo’s coronavirus protocols can be found at LivingDesert.org/Health.

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