Turn the Desert Into a Playground With Family-Friendly Fun
Repetitive chimes of “Are we there yet?” aren’t nearly as penetrating when it’s only a two-hour drive. On the way to Palm Springs, that pressing question is just a reflection of the kiddos’ excitement for activities ahead! An itinerary full of off-road adventures, immersive escape rooms and family-friendly pools makes you a shoe-in for parent-of-the-year. A trip to Palm Springs is just what your family needs; there’s enough to do in this desert region to keep the kids entertained all week. These seven kid-friendly activities ensure everyone has fun on this vacay–including you!
Stay and Play at Renaissance Esmeralda
Make yourself at home at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells. Acres of land create a laid-back feel that allows kids to just be kids, yet the resort itself boasts amenities of a four-star destination. Tropical paradise awaits at the Sandy Beach Pool, where kids can wade into the water while you lounge with a margarita in hand! In the afternoon, whisk the kiddos to Camp Esmerelda to be inspired with storybook creativity. Get wild with animal face painting or glam up with hand-designed jewelry. Once decked out, continue to flex creative skills with slime, sand art and balloon pop games! But nothing is quite as captivating as immersive experiences. Kids can travel far and wide without ever leaving property grounds–or your sight! Renaissance Esmeralda’s Desert Glow Entertainment Zone offers virtual reality activations and arcade games, so you can pass on all that ‘90s wisdom. Bring the whole family to unlock the secrets of the Gold Rush escape room. It’s really all fun and games at Renaissance Esmeralda!
Location: Indian Wells
Get Wild at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Black rhinos and 14-foot tall giraffes call the arid wilderness home at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens—a not-for-profit zoo and botanical garden located in Palm Desert! Kids can get up-close and personal with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as getting to know the zoo’s most iconic animals, Nia and Jaali, which are The Living Desert Zoo’s two black rhinos who are available for exclusive morning meet-and-greets. Feed playful giraffes for nose-licking fun and meet dwarf donkeys at the petting kraal. Follow up these feedings with some Safari Soft Serve for yourself! A vanilla swirl is a sure way to beat the heat and restore your energy to finish up the zoo tour.
Location: Palm Desert
Have a future paleontologist on your hands? A trip to the Cabazon Dinosaur Park is sure to surprise and delight! Giggle as kids gawk at the massive life-size dinosaur figures. Painted in bright pops of color, these dinos make Cabazon Dinosaur Park one of the most iconic road-trip attractions. There are plenty of photo ops amongst the 70 dinosaur friends, including Mr. Rex, whose’ sharp, white teeth can be peered out of. Climb inside the tyrannosaurus rex and the bright-green apatosaurus for a dino’s eye view of the desert. The park also features a dino dig and fossil panning to discover artifacts of your own. Admission tickets are available at the door.
Get your wilderness fix in the heart of the desert on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Travel through diverse climates and terrains on the tram ride up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park. The 360-degree views of Chino Canyon from the tram car are absolutely breathtaking! Kids love to watch the city shrink below them as they reach elevations of 8,000 feet, and parents love to take a load off while on the ride up. A 10-minute tram journey ensures little ones don’t get too antsy on the journey up to Mountain Station. After you disembark, grab ice cream bars at Pine Cafe and enjoy them overlooking the Coachella Valley below.
Location: Palm Springs
It’s Sunday Funday at the Palm Springs Art Museum! A tribute to contemporary California artwork, this museum is known for modern exhibition halls that feature the latest art trends. Kiddos who aren’t quite ready to appreciate art yet can tap into their inner creativity every third Sunday of the month. On Family+ Sundays, gallery halls transform into makers markets. Artists and musicians come together and creative energy bounces off the walls. Parents can fuel up with Cafe Empatia Coffee while kids make their own yarn and contribute to collective pom-pom sculptures. Kids can even become the canvas for face-painting artists!
Location: Palm Springs
View this post on Instagram
Palm Springs is home to some of the largest escape rooms in Southern California. Pick among seven themed (and air conditioned!) rooms for a family-friendly challenge your kiddos will love. From unlocking spells at Merlin’s Magic School to finding a lifeboat off the Titanic, these escape rooms create immersive experiences that challenge families to play off each other’s strengths. Watch as siblings come together to overcome seemingly impossible odds for victory in under an hour with real-life riddles that promote communication and strategic problem solving. Escape rooms are appropriate for children as young as eight and are accessible for all abilities.
Location: Palm Springs
Off-Roading Experience with Red Jeep Tours
Embark on an Indiana Jones-style adventure through Indian Canyons. Open-air Jeep tours allow families to see the desert like never before. Buckle up for a bumpy adventure through unexplored pathways along the San Andreas Fault in a shiny, red Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler. Naturalist guides are well-educated on native plants, animals, geology and the history of the California desert and share fun facts along the way. During the three-hour journey, passengers will find themselves amidst a palm oasis that Cahuilla Indians used to call home. Passengers also have the opportunity to hop out of the vehicle and walk through the tectonic plate-formed canyon for spectacular views of Coachella Valley.
Location: Coachella Valley