Guests visiting the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens can stroll the sprawling property beginning an hour earlier next week, but the facility will also close earlier due to the summer heat.
Animal and plant lovers are invited to peruse the 80-acre campus in Palm Desert from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with last admission at 1 p.m., beginning Tuesday.
Until then, the zoo will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The start of summer zoo protocols also means the carousel, Wildlife Wonders Show and hiking trails will close until Oct. 1.
The zoo will continue to enforce COVID-19 safety measures including mandatory advance ticket sales, required face coverings and a cap on guest capacity.
The Desert Plant Conservation Center remains open for guests. The exhibit features a variety of desert plants, some of which will be used for regional habitat restoration projects.
Some of the exhibit’s offerings will be put to use in habitat restoration projects, including the desert pupfish habitat at Salt Creek, located near the Salton Sea. The center will also propagate other plant species to be used for creating native habitats for animals living at the Living Desert.
Zoo officials announced last week that two eastern black rhinoceros will soon be arriving as part of a new exhibit. The endangered hoofed mammals will live at the zoo’s new Rhino Savanna beginning in November after departing zoos in Michigan and Ohio.
Once completed, the $17 million, four-acre Rhino Savanna will also feature waterbuck, pelicans, naked mole rats, and mongoose.
The zoo is located at 47900 Portola Ave.