Palm Springs with Kids: A Full Guide for Parents

Palm Springs with Kids

When it comes to planning a family vacation, Palm Springs is the perfect destination for fun-filled activities that will keep your kids entertained. From outdoor adventures to indoor attractions, there is something for every child to enjoy in this desert paradise. In this article, we will explore the best activities for visiting Palm Springs with kids, divided into different categories to help you plan your itinerary.

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors in Palm Springs, there is no shortage of activities for families to enjoy. In addition to the kid-friendly hiking trails like the Araby Trail and Tahquitz Canyon, there are also opportunities for children to learn about the local flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for desert wildlife such as roadrunners, jackrabbits, and even bighorn sheep as you traverse the trails. Encourage your little ones to engage with nature by pointing out different plant species like the iconic Joshua trees and vibrant desert wildflowers.

Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails

If your family loves spending time in nature, Palm Springs offers a variety of kid-friendly hiking trails that are perfect for little explorers. One such trail is the Araby Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. Another option is Tahquitz Canyon, where your children can learn about the history and culture of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians while enjoying the beautiful waterfall.

For families looking to delve deeper into the desert ecosystem, consider embarking on guided nature walks led by knowledgeable park rangers or naturalists. These educational excursions provide a wealth of information about the unique geology, wildlife, and conservation efforts in the Palm Springs area, offering a fun and interactive way for kids to connect with the environment.

Parks and Playgrounds in Palm Springs

Palm Springs boasts a number of parks and playgrounds that are great for kids to burn off some energy. Sunnylands Center and Gardens is a must-visit, with its expansive grounds and interactive exhibits. The Demuth Park has a spacious playground and picnic areas, perfect for a family outing. Don’t forget about Ruth Hardy Park, which offers a splash pad to cool off in on those hot summer days.

After a day of outdoor adventures, families can unwind with a leisurely picnic in one of the many picturesque parks scattered throughout Palm Springs. Let the kids run free on the lush green lawns, play a game of frisbee, or simply relax under the shade of towering palm trees. Take in the serene surroundings and enjoy quality time together in nature’s embrace.

Water Activities for Children

The desert climate of Palm Springs means that water activities are always a hit with kids. Visit The Oasis Water Park for a day of thrilling water slides and lazy rivers. Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs is another popular option, offering an array of water play areas for children of all ages. For a unique experience, take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and explore the cool mountain areas, which provide a refreshing break from the desert heat.

For families seeking a more laid-back aquatic adventure, consider renting paddleboats or kayaks to explore the tranquil waters of local lakes and reservoirs. Children can marvel at the diverse bird species that call these aquatic habitats home, from graceful herons to colorful ducks. Engage in a bit of birdwatching and teach your kids about the importance of preserving these natural spaces for future generations to enjoy.

Interactive Museums for Kids

If your kids prefer indoor activities, Palm Springs has plenty of interactive museums to keep them entertained and engaged. The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is a favorite among families, offering hands-on exhibits that encourage learning through play. Kids can explore a mini desert ecosystem, dig for fossils, and even try their hand at a mock archaeological dig. The museum also hosts special events like science shows and art workshops to make learning even more fun. Additionally, the Palm Springs Air Museum is another must-visit, where children can marvel at vintage aircraft and learn about aviation history. They can sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, try on pilot gear, and even participate in a flight simulation experience.

Indoor Play Centers and Arcades

For a day of active fun, head to an indoor play center or arcade. The Palm Springs Indoor Swap Meet is a great option, offering a mix of shops, food stalls, and arcade games. Kids can bounce in inflatable play areas, challenge each other in laser tag, and enjoy classic arcade games like pinball and air hockey. The Boomers Palm Springs amusement park provides a variety of attractions, including go-karts, mini-golf, and arcade games that will keep the whole family entertained. They can race around the track, practice their putting skills on the mini-golf course, and collect tickets to redeem for prizes at the end of the day.

Art and Craft Workshops for Children

If your child is artistically inclined, Palm Springs offers various art and craft workshops for children. The Palm Springs Art Museum offers art classes and workshops designed specifically for young artists, allowing them to explore various mediums and techniques. Kids can create their own masterpieces inspired by famous artists, learn about different art movements, and showcase their work in mini exhibitions. The Painted Pot is another fantastic option, where kids can unleash their creativity by painting their own pottery. They can choose from a wide selection of ceramic pieces, from mugs to figurines, and experiment with different colors and designs to make unique keepsakes.

When it comes to educational attractions in Palm Springs, there is no shortage of options for families looking to blend learning with fun. In addition to the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, there are several other science and nature centers worth exploring. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a unique attraction where kids can not only learn about desert wildlife but also interact with animals up close through various educational programs and feeding sessions.

Science and Nature Centers

For a deeper dive into the desert ecosystem, families can also visit the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. This center offers interactive exhibits on the geology, flora, and fauna of the region, providing a comprehensive understanding of the unique environment of Palm Springs and its surrounding areas.

Historical Sites for Kids

Delving into Palm Springs’ rich history, families can explore the Palm Springs Air Museum, which not only showcases a vast collection of aircraft from various eras but also offers educational programs and flight exhibitions. Another historical gem is the Palm Springs Historical Society, where children can participate in guided tours and hands-on activities that bring the past to life.

Planetariums and Observatories

For young astronomy enthusiasts, the Rancho Mirage Observatory is just the beginning of the celestial adventures awaiting them in Palm Springs. The College of the Desert’s state-of-the-art Planetarium offers immersive shows and educational programs that explore the mysteries of the cosmos, making it a perfect destination for families looking to spark curiosity about the universe in their children.

Zoos and Aquariums

To get up close and personal with exotic animals, head to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, a remarkable zoo that showcases desert wildlife. Explore habitats like Africa, North America, and Australia, and learn about the importance of conservation. The zoo is home to a diverse range of animals, including cheetahs, giraffes, and Mexican gray wolves. You can even participate in special behind-the-scenes experiences, where you can feed and interact with some of the animals under the guidance of knowledgeable staff.

If you’re looking for an underwater adventure, the SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium is another fantastic option. Located in the heart of Palm Springs, this interactive aquarium allows children to not only observe but also touch and feed marine creatures. From colorful tropical fish to majestic stingrays, the aquarium offers a hands-on experience that is both educational and entertaining.

Petting Zoos and Farms

If your children enjoy hands-on experiences with animals, don’t miss out on a visit to the Children’s Discovery Museum’s petting zoo. Here, they can interact with friendly farm animals such as goats, sheep, and rabbits. The petting zoo provides a safe and supervised environment for children to learn about animal care and develop a sense of empathy towards animals.

In addition to the petting zoo, the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium also offers a unique opportunity to explore a desert garden while encountering various species of plants and animals. This hidden gem is home to a wide variety of cacti and succulents, as well as resident birds and butterflies. Take a leisurely stroll through the garden and marvel at the beauty of the desert ecosystem.

Wildlife Tours for Kids

If your family loves adventures, book a wildlife tour to explore the natural beauty and wildlife of Palm Springs. Join an experienced guide and embark on a thrilling Jeep safari through Joshua Tree National Park, where you can spot bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and a variety of birds. The tour provides a unique opportunity to learn about the desert ecosystem and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

For a different kind of adventure, the Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours also offer exciting nature experiences. Hop aboard a rugged off-road vehicle and venture into the heart of the desert, where you can witness breathtaking landscapes and encounter elusive desert wildlife. From jackrabbits to roadrunners, the desert is teeming with fascinating creatures waiting to be discovered.


In conclusion, Palm Springs provides a wide range of activities for children to enjoy, from outdoor adventures in desert landscapes to indoor attractions that encourage learning and creativity. With its unique blend of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and interactive exhibits, Palm Springs is sure to make your family vacation a memorable one. So pack your bags, gather the kids, and embark on a journey of fun and discovery in this desert oasis.

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