Located at the base of multiple mountain ranges, Palm Springs is a vibrant and modern oasis set in the desert. Just a quick 2-hour drive from LA, this city was a hot spot for classic stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra. The area provides tons of outdoor activities, a wide variety of restaurants, and fun for people of all ages.
It’s typically sunny and warm in Palm Springs, so many visitors make their way there simply to enjoy some pool time. Here are some of the best activities to do with kids in this exciting desert locale. Make sure to book a kid-friendly Airbnb in Palm Springs before your trip, then you’ll be ready to explore these options.
- Check Out the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum
- Swim at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center
- Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
- Take a Unique Covered Wagon Tour
- Go to the Moorten Botanical Garden
- Enjoy a Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Visit the Living Desert Zoo
- Go on a Stargazing Tour
1. Check Out the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum
The Cabazon Dinosaur Museum (once named Claude Bell’s Dinosaurs) is a famous roadside attraction in Palm Springs. It has an impressive souvenir shop, outdoor trail, and realistic dinosaur models named Dinny and Mr. Rex. You can check out fossils in the outdoor area or let your little ones climb inside one of the dinosaurs. While this place is mainly geared towards kids, adults will have a good time, as well.
You might want to choose a Saturday or Sunday to visit the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum. On weekends, the museum will feature the Wafflesaurus Truck, which serves ice cream. This museum is the perfect place to take a pit stop during your trip and snap some memorable photos with the family. Adults over 55 and kids younger than 2 can enter the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum for free. There are discounts available for military and senior citizens.
2. Swim at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center
Open year-round, the Palm Desert Aquatic Center has several slides, three pools, and diving boards. The 8-acre facility offers tons of activities, including swim lessons. But it’s also a great place to just chill out. You can rent a cabana for the family, do some laps, and soak up the sun. The Palm Desert Aquatic Center is open 7 days a week and has plenty of life guards around for your peace of mind.
The restrooms and locker rooms are nice and clean, and there are shady spots to sit and get out of the sun. This facility is suitable for swimmers of all ages and has an affordable admission fee. Don’t forget your sunblock.
3. Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
You might be surprised to find out that you can enjoy snow in the middle of the desert. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a popular choice for wintertime visits. Named “the world’s largest rotating tramcar,” this aerial tramway provides stunning views for people of all ages. You can go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing here (when the weather allows) while soaking up the scenery.
For the summer months, you can visit the gorgeous hiking trails and camping spots. Regardless of the season, the views here are spectacular. The Mountain Station has a gift shop, history museum, and a couple documentary style films about the area. When you get hungry, choose between one of the two restaurants at the station; a fine dining establishment or an affordable self-serve option.
4. Take a Unique Covered Wagon Tour
If you’re looking for something totally unique, look no further than mule-drawn Covered Wagon Tours in Palm Springs. This off-road desert tour provides excellent entertainment, unforgettable scenery, and delicious BBQ. Enjoy wildflowers, desert oases, and canyons in a 30,000-acre wilderness preserve as you travel (in comfort) like a real pioneer.
Then, head back to camp for live music and a satisfying meal, along with games, barn dancing, and other fun stuff. On this tour, you’ll learn about the local critters, the San Andreas Fault, and plant life in the desert. The experience includes a guided walk and will give you memories to cherish for a lifetime.
5. Go to the Moorten Botanical Garden
Plant lovers should set aside some time to visit the Moorten Botanical Garden, a living museum. The Moortens have opened up their beautiful Mediterranean style residence to share their enthusiasm for local plant life and other treasures. Established in the ‘30s and located in charming old Palm Springs, this arboretum gives families a chance to experience a wide variety of desert plant species.
You’ll also find trees and cacti of all sizes from all over the world, ancient fossils, and rocks. Take a look at the glittering crystals and relics from the gold mining and pioneer era. The Moorten Botanical Garden has more than 3000 plant varieties situated along a nature path. This is the perfect place to visit if your family is looking for a peaceful, tranquil stop during your vacation to Palm Springs.
6. Enjoy a Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you’re traveling with teenagers, this next option is an exciting prospect for your vacation to Palm Springs. With Fantasy Balloon Flights, you can take in breathtaking views of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains while flying over Coachella Valley. This family-owned business started in 1981 and has served more than 50,000 guests since then. Fantasy Balloon Flights provides a panoramic view of the desert resort area in Palm Springs.
While this might not be the most suitable option for families with small children, you won’t want to miss it, otherwise. The balloons carry between 2 and 10 passengers at a time, allowing them to see citrus groves, winter wildflowers, country clubs, and more. These rides are available daily early in the morning or just before sunset. The company includes hotel pickups and discounts for groups, families, and senior citizens.
7. Visit the Living Desert Zoo
Another fun option for families with kids is the Living Desert Zoo, a small yet exciting location to visit. The Living Zoo is great for walking around and has over 600 animals and interactive experiences that your little ones are sure to enjoy. It’s been a popular attraction in the area for almost 50 years and has a beautiful design, water fountains, and shaded areas.
The animals are well-cared for at the Living Desert Zoo and visitors will enjoy seeing wolves, cheetahs, sheep, and other exciting creatures. You’ll also find camel rides, a butterfly exhibit, and a chance to feed some giraffes. Your kids will love the model train display and playground at the Living Desert Zoo, as well. If your family likes animals, this location is a definite must-see in the area.
8. Go on a Stargazing Tour
Who doesn’t love to look at the stars? If you’re searching for a fun nighttime activity in the area, this next option is a great pick. Take your children on a tour with Palm Springs Stargazing, where they can search for constellations and learn about our solar system. Guided by experienced astronomers, the tour provides portable telescopes and laser pointers to guide viewers.
You’ll get to view shooting stars, star clusters, galaxies, and even landing sites on the moon. The guides will explain how constellations were named in ancient times and how people use them for navigation. The astronomers with Palm Springs Stargazing are exceptionally knowledgeable and will provide you with a highly entertaining night.
Now that you know about some of the top activities to enjoy in Palm Springs with your kids, you’re ready to have the vacation of a lifetime.