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Family Fun In The Desert Sun
The coolest summer vacation is right here in the desert! The Coachella Valley offers a variety of fresh and exciting ways to spend quality time with the family. This summer take an evening hike with glow-in-the-dark scorpions, score a hole in one with a soccer ball or join the fandemonium at Comic Con Palm Springs. Your one-of-a-kind summer vacation is waiting! Read on to find the best ways for your family to maximize your adventure in the desert.
For newcomers to the area, check out our “kid tested, mother approved” attractions like The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert or The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. These activities are fun for all ages and are a great way to get acquainted with the desert way of life. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens spans over 1,200 acres and features wild animals and botanical gardens from desert terrains in North America and Africa. Enjoy wildlife presentations or visit the Tennity Wildlife Hospital and watch an exam being performed on one of the many wildlife species. Don’t forget to stop by and take a peek at their newest additions, a 6’3” baby giraffe or their jaguar cub, Mema.
After exploring the desert from the ground level, check it out from a bird’s-eye point of view. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway provides a great vantage point from the San Jacinto mountain range for vistas of the Coachella Valley. Be amazed as you take a ride up this majestic mountain in the world’s largest rotating tram car over 8,500 feet to their Mountain Station. With temperatures approximately thirty degrees cooler than the valley floor below, you can comfortably walk along their scenic nature trails or journey on into the wilderness to explore over 50 miles of hiking trails and wildlife.
The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert (CDMOD) is a great place to let your little ones discover and play. CDMOD offers over 80 hands-on exhibits including Toddlertown which is designed for children 4 and under. Toddlertown features different activities Monday through Friday like Music and Movement, All Day Messy Play or Science and Nature. Other exhibits include the Rock Climb, Archaeological Dig, Artifacts, Animal Tracking Station, Grocery Store and Pizza Parlor.
For families returning to the desert, here are some ideas that will ignite and delight your sense of adventure. Kick off your vacation, literally, with FootGolf at Desert Willow Golf Resort! FootGolf is a combination of soccer and golf and is played with a soccer ball on an 18-hole golf course using 21-inch diameter cups. This hybrid sport is entertaining for all ages and a fantastic way to engage your family. Play for fun or compete to see who will be your family’s FootGolf champion.
Need more for sports fans in the family? Enjoy one of America’s favorite past times at the historic Palm Springs Stadium. Palm Springs Stadium, formerly known as Angels Stadium, was previously used for spring training by the Angels, San Diego Padres and Seattle Rainiers and is now home to local baseball team, the Palm Springs POWER. The POWER is a summer collegiate team made up of college players from around the country, including, but not limited to USC, Washington, Oregon State, Iowa, Michigan and many more! Games take place in the evening and are throughout the week through June and July. Don’t miss your chance to watch and take photos of the league’s brightest stars before they go pro!
Bright stars are also in abundance at Palm Springs ShortFest. Now in its 23rd year, ShortFest is the largest short film event in North America. ShortFest receives around 4,200 submissions from over 100 countries around the globe and approximately 325 shorts are selected and screened in 90-minute themed programs. They have presented more than 100 shorts that have gone on to receive Oscar® nominations and/or awards. While predominately geared toward an adult audience, each year ShortFest includes a family-friendly themed program for viewers 10 years of age and older. These films typically include animation shorts and other feel-good films that are delightful and entertaining to watch.
Also delightfully entertaining to watch are the McCallum Theatre’s Summer Institute performances. Expose your children to the arts with these live shows intended for audiences ages 7 and up. This year the Institute presents three performances, The Children of Willesden Lane, PIX-ing – A Storytelling Adventure and Snowflake: Performed by Gale LaJoye. Filled with hope, determination, imagination and courage these three stories will captivate and inspire the whole family.
As the night descends, the adventure begins with Monument Night Adventures at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. Take a guided stroll along one of the local hiking trails to uncover the desert’s nocturnal creatures including, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, lizards, owls, jackrabbits, snakes, coyotes and more. On select nights, observe the night sky come alive when The Astronomical Society joins the event with their telescopes and knowledge to provide attendees a view of the stars, planets and even the Milky Way.
Every 4th of July, we’ve got our own kind of stars in Palm Desert. Celebrate the holiday at Palm Desert’s beautiful Civic Center Park. The excitement begins at 7:15pm with the National Anthem, followed by live entertainment at 7:30pm. Vendors are also onsite with drinks and goodies for purchase. Bring a blanket, chairs and a picnic and find your perfect spot for the show. At 9pm, the show begins and the sky illuminates with a kaleidoscope of colorful fireworks of all shapes and sizes, complemented by patriotic and contemporary music. You can also watch the show from the Palm Desert Aquatic Center located in the northeast corner of Civic Center Park. Children and adults can swim and play during the day and keep cool in the pool during the fireworks extravaganza. Whether in the pool or at the park, this night of patriotic bliss is sure to be full of good times and brilliant fireworks.
Good times at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center aren’t just on Independence Day, they’re all summer long! The Aquatic Center features slides, lap and recreational pools, diving boards, toddler splash pool and more! This is a great place to take the family for a nominal entrance fee when the kids are looking for more than just a pool.
If you’re looking for a full day water park experience, then Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs should fit the bill. Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs includes water and raft slides, lazy river, wave pool, Kahuna’s beach house and their newest attraction, The FlowRider. And, during the month of July and the first Friday of August, stay after hours for Dive-In Movies when the water park stays open later to show a family-friendly film at the wave pool. You can save on admission tickets by visiting their website and purchasing your tickets in advance at a discounted rate online or check out Groupon for promotional offers on reduced tickets and parking.
So what else is new and exciting? How about a second year of amazing artists, creators and celebrities like Marvel’s founder, Stan Lee, and Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, at the Second Annual Comic Con Palm Springs. Comic Con will have you chillin’ like a villain, as you cruise the area filled with awesome vendors, professional and amateur cosplayers, writers, producers, authors and thousands of fans. Festivities also include exhibits, autograph/photo ops, costume contest, Lego room, celebrity booths and much more. This event offers free admission to children 12 and under, so be a super hero and get your family’s tickets today!
Palm Desert is packed with photo-worthy fun and tons of opportunities to create irreplaceable memories on your unparalleled desert adventure. This summer, experience and explore the oasis of activities the desert has to offer that will have everyone eager to come back.