By Skylar Brown
Summer temperatures are already in the desert and that means summer break is almost here. Many will be traveling, but for those staying in the Coachella Valley for the summer there is plenty to see and do locally.
For anyone interested in nature and the outdoors there are plenty of hiking trails and also The Living Desert, which offer beautiful sights and information about desert wildlife. Some of the more popular hiking trails in the desert are those in the Palm Springs Indian Canyons. They offer a variety of hiking difficulties and many of the trails follow flowing streams and many fan palms that provide relief from the heat in the warmer weather. Another popular trail in the desert is the Bump-n-Grind trail in Palm Desert behind the Desert Crossing Shopping Center. This trail offers a number of paths and is a great cardio workout for anyone trying to stay in shape this summer. The Bump-n-Grind is very popular and can be filled with hikers, especially during the cooler periods of the day. The wide trails make it easier to spot rattlesnakes that appear during the warmer temperatures.
The Living Desert also offers some hiking trails but the main attractions are the animals present at the local zoo. There are 450 animals and a botanical garden, which offers information about desert wildlife and is an enjoyable family destination. General Admission is $17.25 and children under 3 get in free. Summer hours for The Living Desert are from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the last admission at 1:00 p.m., beginning June 1.
Some residents may want to escape the heat of the summer but are unable to make it out of the desert completely. Instead the Palm Springs Aerial Tram can provide a reprieve from the heat, where temperatures atop the tram can require a jacket even when triple-digit heat is affecting the valley. The ride up the tram alone provides breathtaking views which are continued at the Peaks Restaurant and Pines Cafe, overlooking the desert below. Adult tickets are $23.95 and hours of operation are Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For those looking to stay cool below sea level there is Knott’s Soak City in Palm Springs. This local water park offers a number of rides for all ages, perfect for a family day out, with regular ticket prices start at $34.99 for a single day and $59.99 for a season pass (non-season passes are discounted if purchased on-line at www.soakcityps.com).
There are a number of attractions in the desert that will appeal to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the Coachella Valley. Palm Springs has been host to a number of visionary architects since the early 1920’s and there are mid century modern homes to see. A guided tour can be taken by either van or segway. You can also view the homes on your own, just pick up a map of mid-century modern landmarks at the Palm Springs visitor center, formerly the iconic Tramway Gas Station designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers.
Another location to learn about history is the Palm Springs Air Museum. The Air Museum offers one of the world’s largest collections of flying WWII aircraft and the volunteers provide a wealth of information about the aircraft. Many aircraft are open to tour each day. There are also activities for children, including a child-sized control tower and flight simulators. The museum is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with prices ranging from $8 to $15, children 5 and under enter free, and the museum is “pet friendly” too.