WildLights

Every year The Living Desert in Coachella Valley mounts a light display they call WildLights. Tonight we’re going for the first time, and I’m excited! I love light displays, and I love the Living Desert.

Until maybe a year ago, I didn’t even know there was a “zoo” in the desert. I put “zoo” in quotes because it’s more of a habitat. Only the birds are in cages.

But it never occurred to me that there would be a zoo in the middle of the desert. When I heard about it, I was surprised, but then thought, well, of course, a whole lot of animals around the world are desert natives. So why not?

I know zoos can be a controversial subject, and if it was up to me, there wouldn’t be any zoos. Maybe it makes me a hypocrite, but if the zoo is already there, and there’s nothing I can do about that, I may as well go. But I’m usually disappointed and depressed by zoos. The Los Angeles zoo is nice but ultimately sad, as is the big zoo in San Diego.

So I had very low expectations for a zoo in the desert, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Living Desert is awe-inspiring.

As I mentioned, it’s a vast habitat, so the animals have room to roam. You may well walk up to the path-facing part of an animal’s habitat and not see anything. The animals will just be gone. Too bad for you, good for the animals.

The first time we went we took a guided tour, which turned out to be a good choice. Our guide pointed out a lot of animals that we would have totally missed seeing.

And we also had a lot of luck on our side, as we got to see all of the animals up close that day (and feed lettuce to a giraffe, which sounds as weird as it feels).

desert giraffes

Anyway, that’s where we’ll be tonight, more for the light show than the animals. Though there are two new Rhinos that weren’t there when we went last, and I’d like to see them. But if not, it will be fun anyway.

If I get any good pictures, I’ll post them.

day 18

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