Cool Things to Do in Palm Desert (& Area) with Children

We have just arrived home from our seven weeks away. You may have thought that you escaped any further Palm Desert posts. Not so! One of the highlights of our trip was spending quality time with family. Below Charlie (3) and Jordyn (2) model things to do in Palm Desert with children.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Ride the world’s largest tramway for 2.5 miles as it travels up (and back down) the Chino Canyon. The views are spectacular! Jordyn loved the ride….and loved asking Grandma for pennies so that she could ‘make wishes’ by throwing them off the edge of the lookout. (Don’t worry we didn’t throw them far…and the coins are later collected).  More Info.

The Living Desert:  The Living Desert’s mission is: “Desert conservation through preservation, education, and appreciation.” It is a unique zoo/botanical garden that specializes in deserts of the world. Here you can find cheetahs, mountain lions, and zebras amidst many other awe-inspiring animals and plants. Charlie highly recommends feeding the giraffes…and the lorikeets. More Info.

Sunnylands: At this 200-acre winter residence in Rancho Mirage, Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg entertained well-known leaders, thinkers, and personalities. This estate ground is now open to the public. A variety of programs, changing exhibits, guided walks and estate/house tours are on offer, including free yoga classes at 12:00 noon ever Friday (modeled by Grandpa). While we were there, we took advantage of the Día de Muertos celebration, which is one of Jordyn’s favourite festivals. More Info.

Palm Springs Air Museum:  This unique museum offers exhibits, displays and historic aircraft from World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam War. Many of the planes are still in flyable condition. If money is no object, private flights can be arranged. It was hard to tell who enjoyed this event the most — Charlie, his parents or Grandpa!  More Info.

And What We Loved Best of All — Just Hanging Out! Being surrounded by great weather, inviting pools, awesome food, and a remarkable compound (Sun City) meant that we never ran out of cool things to do. We loved every minute of this family (and friend) time together. We look forward to having more of this at Jordyn’s upcoming birthday (November 24), followed by an even larger family reunion this Christmas. Stay tuned!

90 Replies to “Cool Things to Do in Palm Desert (& Area) with Children”

  1. Oh my word! You would have had to leave me at the top of those steps…or the bottom…whichever wouldn’t require me to move. I’m deathly afraid of heights.
    Charlie and Jordyn are so adorable! I’m so happy you had a nice time, Donna.

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  2. Thanks, Donna, for sharing your recap and photos. Looks like a fun-filled seven weeks for you all. I’ve recently returned home from Morocco, still have some catching up to do, including blogging 🙂

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  3. Dear Donna,

    I have three grown children plus their spouses (6 adults) plus their kids (8 total grandchildren) and when they visit at different times of course (we don’t have a big enough place to house everybody at once 😂), our favorite things to do are everything you mentioned! The tram, living desert, swimming, and the Air Museum is especially a favorite and we get to chat with the WW2 vets who volunteer there, which is such an honor. For those of a golfing age, the “First Tee” is a good place to bring kids, too. There’s a little nine hole course and driving range. And putting area. The visitors center and hiking opportunities for young and old at Thousand Palms near Sun City is also a big winner since the trails are easy peasy.

    As much as I love to do all that, hanging out in the backyard, barbecuing and swimming, watching the kids horse play creates warm fuzzies for me too.

    Since I live in Sun City I will share that Donna’s presence here for the short bit she visited brought extra sunshine and vitality into our environment. I bonded with her after the first gracious and warm hello she gave me in yoga class, and I will continue to follow her varied adventures!

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    1. Hi, Susan – I just found this comment in my Spam Folder. I’m so sorry, I just realized that you needed to make this comment twice. Thank you so much for your persistence in doing this. I’m not sure why your comment went to Spam since you have commented here before. Ah, the many mysteries of the blogging world!

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  4. Hi Donna,

    What a great recap and photographic chronicle of your family visit! I love it when my family comes to visit because it takes me out of my comfort zone and I get a chance to refine skills of patience and acceptance! (I have 8 grandkids, and no they don’t all come at once, thank goodness). I’m also happy when they leave and we get our space back to ourselves, ha ha. It takes a couple of days of wash, and cleaning to put things back in order, and of course there is the follow-up extra rest that seems to be needed. I’m not as young as I used to be, hee hee. I wish I was but it ain’t going to happen 🙂

    However, it’s always a blast and the young-uns keep me on my toes and allow me to visit the places of the desert that you mentioned and appreciate the wonder and excitement in the grandkids’ eyes. I just love being outdoors with them, which the Living Desert and the Tram ride and hike at the top allow us to do. Yet, the Air Museum is a particular favorite because the kids get to engage with WW2 vets who volunteer there. It is such an honor to speak to them, always! For those of a golfing age, there’s the First Tee of Coachella Valley that is family and kid friendly, with a little 9 hole course, range and putting area. We also take them to Thousand Palms near Sun City where there’s a relatively easy hike to a beautiful palm tree oasis, and the educational visitors center there is a plus as well. My 8 grandkids range in age from 9 months to 14 years old, so of course we are always looking for appropriate venues and things to keep them busy and engaged.

    But the best part of family visits, is indeed hanging out in the afternoons by the pool, watching the kids swim and horse play, barbecuing and relaxing.

    As an aside, I was privileged to meet Donna during her 7 week stay here in Sun City, Palm Desert and she left a hole with her departure. Our community was definitely enhanced and invigorated by her presence. I will continue to eagerly follow her many adventures and shares. She’s a great lady and human being.

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    1. Hi, Susan – What a kind and thoughtful comment you have left! Reading it made me want to teleport myself (like the Jetsons) back to Sun City immediately! 🙂 At the beginning of our Palm Desert trip, I had asked a few locals for their recommendations on kid-friendly activities. Next time, I will definitely ask you as well! Richard would love to do some golf with the grandchildren…and the hikes! Now you’ll just have to make a trip to Vancouver Island so that we can continue our conversations. We have plenty of room….and there’s tons of stuff for kids to do here if any of your grandchildren would like to join you!! I look forward to your next post.

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      1. I had to rewrite my comment because it disappeared 😩.

        I may just have to give me, myself and I the gift of a trip to Vancouver Island one of these days.

        Thank you for the kind invitation!! I definitely love meaningful conversation, scenic views and laidback lifestyles!

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  5. Cool is not a word I would associate with Palm desert but it looks as though you had a great time with your grandchildren. Will you be going home to snow? I have just got a new grandchild daughter. I had my first cuddle yesterday.

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  6. You will have to take another journey with the grand kids to the children’s museum on Gerald Ford in Rancho Mirage….friends spent five hours there with the grand kids and they cried when they had to leave…..everyone that I have met said it is a must see! However looks like you had a great time exploring. Was good to connect for lunch, hope it is not another 20 years before the next meeting 😍. Enjoy your time at home before your next adventure ❣️

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    1. HI, Georgia – I LOVED meeting up with you in Palm Desert. You are very wise and insightful! I agree — let’s not make it another 20 years before we meet up again.
      Good tip about the Rancho MIrage Children’s Museum. I will add it to my list!

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  7. Hi Donna – looks to be amazing … the kids are delightful too … love that you had so much to do with them and could ‘just hang out’ = sometimes the best – lovely photos and ideas – cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary – I loved the mixture of having interesting things to do….and simply hanging out. I just glanced out the window here and noticed that it is now raining. Although I love being home, I already miss the steady sunshine! 🙂

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  8. oh yugh – not down here yet … yet!! Actually Wednesday is when ours is meant to arrive … yes I miss the steady sunshine, but love the rain too – when it doesn’t inconvenience me!! Here’s to some happy days of sun at home!!

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      1. Hi Donna – if I ever make it to being independently wealthy I’ll be on a plane over to see you – I’ll give you enough notice to get the guest room ready 🙂
        Thanks for sharing this on MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

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    1. Hi, Karen – You are absolutely right. Spending time with family and friends is best of all! Being able to do so in a warm, sunny climate is an incredible bonus! I’m hoping that you have ‘this way’ (Vancouver Island) marked as a place to visit. Our temperatures don’t get as hot…but our hiking is fabulous!

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  9. The best allure of retirement is spending quality time with the grandkids. A life bonus. Working on my escape/retirement plan.

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    1. Hi, Antoinette – Richard and I were fortunate to retire just in time for our grandchildren to come along. I did also greatly enjoy my final years of work before retirement. It can be the best of both worlds! I hope that your school year is going well.

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  10. I liked the Tramway and I’m not a kid. I’ve never thought of Palm Desert as a place for kids, but you’ve found some good spots. You’ve come to think of Palm Desert as a second hometown? You seem comfortable there.

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    1. Hi, Ally – You busted the secret of these activities! They were ALL things that the grownups wanted to do. Being able to experience them with our children and grandchildren made them that much more special. We’ve greatly enjoyed our time in Palm Desert. We are always torn when making our travel plans. So much beautiful world to see out there!!

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  11. It looks like you took advantage of every moment in Palm Desert, but all good things must come to an end, right? Hope the weather back home hasn’t been too much of an adjustment for you. We are looking forward to getting back to a warmer climate.

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  12. Hi Donna! I was so sorry we didn’t get to spend more time with you while you were in town but it is obvious why from reading this post–you were having plenty of fun without me. Thank you for sharing your wonderful perspective on the place I call home. I agree that it is spectacular for about 6 months of the year. Not only are there lots of great things to do–but the weather is pretty darn near perfect. I can’t imagine you won’t be back next autumn????? And yes to getting together in your neck of the woods this summer. ~Kathy

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    1. Hi, Kathy – I am absolutely convinced that you live in Paradise…. at least for the majority of the year. I loved the time that we had together and was sad that we did not have more. We’ll just have to make up for it on Vancouver Island — which I greatly look forward to!

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  13. Hi Donna, isn’t spending time with grandchildren just the best? I love to explore new places with Ethan and I can see that you had a wonderful time in Palm Desert discovering places of interest to children. Of course, just being together is the most special time isn’t it? Thank you for sharing with us at #MLSTL and also providing some interesting ideas for those visiting the area. Have a great week! xx

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  14. Hi Donna,
    We are new to this retirement thing, but one thing we do know is that we love to spend time with family! Can’t wait to see grandaughters in 3 weeks when they come with son and d-i-l to spend a week with us in Florida! We plan on doing the hangin’ out thing as well…but going to Disney is on the list, too! I think I’m as excited as the girls as I’ve never been to see Mickey.
    Love to read your posts,
    Nancy

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    1. Hi, Nancy – Your comment deeply resonated with me. For all of the activities that my family enjoyed in Palm Desert (including a side trip to the San Diego Zoo) I believe that the adults were just as excited as the children. Bottom line – family time is the best. Experiencing this time in sunny Florida or California is the icing on the cake! I am off to visit your site now.

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  15. Hi, Terri – I am glad to hear that your area received their much needed rain. This time of year, Vancouver Island always has rain to spare. It’s unfortunate that there is no way to redirect it — or package it up and send it to those in need.
    Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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  16. Ya know, I don’t have children or grandchildren but I would still love to do the stuff that you’ve shared in this post, especially the tramway and living desert. I am blessed with two godchildren and lots of ‘nieces and nephews’ so maybe I will get lucky to bring them along when I make my way there, but if not, my inner child would be delighted to visit these places. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

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      1. 🤫 Your secret is safe with me. Spent Thanksgiving enjoying a wonderful meal courtesy The Captain in a condo overlooking the Indian Ocean. We are doing a couple of weeks of land travel with friends and family visiting. Back to the game parks tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend 😘

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  17. Thank you Donna for linking up with us at the #BloggingGrandmothers End of the Year Link Party 2018! Party ends January 5, links are unlimited so feel free to add more!

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