It’s hard to resist lounging the day away at Santiago’s swimming pool, but if you’re in the mood to see some of the Desert’s other wildlife you’ll want to check out The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Here you’ll become immersed in the desert habitats of the world and get up close with some of the creatures that live there. Go nose-to-nose with giraffes in the African Savanna, admire the pronghorns of Baja, or wander among the wallabies in Australia Adventures.

And coming late fall 2021, Living Desert will welcome two endangered eastern black rhinoceros to a new $17-million four-acre Rhino Savanna complete with a mud wallow and watering hole. There are fewer than 5800 black rhinos left in the wild, and matchmakers are hoping these two youngsters will find their surroundings conducive for a fruitful long-term relationship!

Living Desert also offers a Wildlife Hospital & Conservation Center, a nature preserve with easy to adventurous hiking loops (open October 1 – May 30), and a fleet of G-scale model trains chugging around on outdoor tracks. Private and behind-the-scenes tours are available.

Insider Tips: Get your tickets in advance, go early in the day when the animals are most active, and plan on spending at least a couple of hours taking part in some of the hands-on activities like feeding the giraffes (yes, it costs extra, but it’s worth it!). Afterward, stop off for lunch on El Paseo (aka “the Rodeo Drive of the Coachella Valley”). There are lots of great restaurant choices on this list, but we’re always partial to the funky comfort food at Wilma & Frieda’s.