Palm Springs - things to do with kids

We're visiting folks in Palm Springs over a weekend in March and are looking for ideas of things to do with kids that's not too far to drive to. Let us know and thanks.

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I just got back the week after New Year’s from Palm Springs with my two boys ages 7 and 15. We had a blast! There’s so much to do! Both boys totally enjoyed the Air Museum and got to use the flight simulators in the upstairs library. They also really enjoyed the Pearl Harbor exhibit in one of the hangers where you push buttons and listen to a video and watch the ships light up that were bombed during the seige at Pearl Harbor, but it’s all wonderful. The volunteers there are so informative and helpful to the children. We spent about two hours there.

They also enjoyed seeing all the wild animals at the Living Desert.

We did not go up the tram because it was very crowded that week and  hard to make a reservation but that is something else that might be fun and interesting. I think our favorite trip (which was a bit of a drive)  was to Joshua Tree where they got to climb and scamper around on the rocks.

We also attended a free outdoor Street fair down the main street in Palm Springs where  they closed the street and had booths and music and food,. They also enjoyed swimming in the pool at the motel, the farmers market at Joshua Tree, and stopping at Anderson’s Pea Soup on the way down.

Oh, my family and I love to go to Palm Springs every year! There is so much fun to be had. My top recommendation is that you head out to Indian Canyons to hike and explore the creeks, swimming holes, and wonderful desert landscape! There are easy hikes and more challenging ones, so you can see how you feel. Head out early, before it gets too hot! Enjoy. We're heading there ourselves for our annual spring break trip!

Two suggestions: (1) Take the aerial tramway up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park and go for a short hike at the top (you'll probably find snow!). (2) Check out the Living Desert Zoo. 

The aerial tram up to the top of San Jacinto is really fun. It will probably be snowy at the peak, so be prepared for that. It's fun to go up in the afternoon and come down at sunset.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is nice. We've hiked Aqua Caliente before and liked it. We've also enjoyed horseback riding with guides (very gentle...for people with no experience), I think with Smoketree Stables.

I posted an earlier reply but forgot to mention one of our standby favorites:  a visit to Shields Date Factory!  This place is a trip!  First you enter through thesoda fountain and gift shop and walk through to the small movie theater where you will watch a short histopric black and white film on the cultivation of date palms and the history of Shields Date Farm.  Its fascinating.  Following the film I asked my kids a few simple questions which they had to answer correctly (talking points and fun, such as "are Dates grown anywhere else in the United States?  What country did dates originally come from?  do they still have dates there today?  do dates gow on ALL palm trees?). After that they are treated to a date milkshake, no kidding, they are delicious!  They are huge and come in one size, so we share.  Lastly, we go out to the gardens which have large grounds and the kids run around and read the signs and look at the Jesus statues.  Not quite sure the relationship to the dates but it is interesting and very southern California, at least to me!

Another interesting place I enjoying visiting is Sunnyland.  I do not go on the tour of the house but enjoy the front musem and the small cactus garden behind and the history told there.  Not that interesting to kids but very interesting for adults.  And it is small enough that a quick stop can be made.