The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, which reopened earlier this month, will be open Friday for New Year’s Day visits, but tickets must be purchased in advance.
The 80-acre property at 47900 Portola Ave. features outdoor animal exhibits, a plethora of hiking trails and botanical gardens.
Gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., with last admission an hour before closing.
As part of the zoo’s reopening plan, strict coronavirus protocols are in place, which include required face coverings, a cap on guest capacity and required advanced reservations.
All food and beverage areas remain closed, along with indoor exhibit spaces, outdoor play spaces, giraffe feeding, private tours and shows, and other aspects of zoo operations that typically see groups of people gather.
The gift shop is open with a 20% cap on guest occupancy.
WildLights, the zoo’s seasonal light show, also was canceled.
The zoo has closed two separate times since the pandemic began. It reopened most recently on Dec. 17 after a successful lobbying effort by local stakeholders. The Living Desert is classified as an “outdoor recreational facility” instead of a zoo under the state’s stay-at-home order, allowing it to remain open despite tight restrictions on other businesses.
Most of the zoo’s animal exhibits are also housed outside.
The regional stay-at-home order, spurred by an uptick in coronavirus infections, went into effect Dec. 6 for the 11-county Southern California region, and was extended Tuesday. The order will be in place indefinitely, given the lack of ICU space, which remains at an estimated 0%.
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