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Palm Springs, 2005, of Palm Canyons and a Zoo
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Palm Springs, 2005, of Palm Canyons and a Zoo

Original Article and Photographs by Kenneth A. Larson © 2007 - 2017

In the Spring of 2005, my wife and I made a day trip to Palm Springs. Besides the warm winters that have made Palm Springs so famous, there are museums and scenic wonders to entice you away from the pool. We were both "between jobs" and had passed by only a few days earlier on a three day trip to Yuma, Arizona. Today we were going to stop and see Palm Springs. We left early on what is about a three hour drive east from northern Los Angeles, arriving about 10 am. We drove up the main drag to the south end of town where we found the entrance to the "Indian Canyons."
There are four canyons: Tahquitz Canyon, Murray Canyon, Palm Canyon, and Andreas Canyon. We visited the later two. Tahquitz Canyon is entered from about the middle of Palm Canyon Drive, the main street of Palm Springs, the others are at the south end of the drive.
These palm trees of Palm Canyon are not like the tall graceful ones planted around your favorite mall. These palms have been growing here naturally for thousands of years. Some are twisted, some grow horizontally along the ground. Some are large and some are babies. Some are thick and green, others are burned out. They grow along the stream and from cracks in the rocks. The trail is mostly shaded as it twists around the trees and follows the stream. We followed the main Palm Canyon trail for some distance before returning to the car for the short drive to Andreas Canyon. Andreas Canyon is similar but a bit shorter and has a very relaxing water fall at the end.
From here, we drove east about 10 miles to Palm Desert to visit Living Desert which is a zoological park. They had two types of giraffe, live and metal sculpture. The live giraffes were graceful as they stretched and arched back their necks, the metal giraffes were a little stiff. There were some of the usual animals you expect in most zoos, but also animals from desert climates from around the world. There is a reproduction of an African village with various interpretive signs. This was a weekday but it seems that this space is used on weekends for interpretive presentations and shows.
Toward the back is a large open area which we didn't have time to explore, but signs explained that we were only a few hundred feet from the infamous San Andreas Fault which divides the North American Plate from the Pacific Plate. If an earthquake really did send California into the sea, this desert sand would become beach sand. But this can't really happen and in a few millions years, Living Desert will be shrouded in San Francisco fog.
While not at all related to a zoo, I particularly enjoyed a rather large garden model railroad just inside the entrance. There were mountain ranges, curves, bridges, tunnels, buildings, and water ways. All in all, this is a unique and wonderful zoo in the desert near Palm Springs.
It was almost closing time and would be dark soon. Neither of us like driving in the dark, so we headed west, chasing the sun, but losing the race. It was already dark by the time we passed the giant dinosaur sculptures at Cabazon, beside the I-10. Only two sculptures were built but others were lanned before the death of the artist, Claude Bell. We drove on in the dark, munching on almonds to keep awake.

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This page last updated: Friday, 28-Apr-2017 12:54:07 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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