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You woke up in Palm Springs — what a great way to start the day! You may be wondering, what kind of things are there to do other than shop, eat, and soak up the rays poolside at my wonderful boutique resort? 

Tons, people, tons! And these are all outdoors so you can enjoy the spectacular weather. Here are some suggestions, ranked in order of how much energy you’re willing to part with.

I’ve got about an eighth of a tank

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
This could belong in every category depending on what you choose — the red pill or … nah, no pills involved, except perhaps Dramamine; the gondola can sway a titch. For the ‘not too active,’ shop in the gift store, ride the gondola up, have lunch, check out the views, ride the gondola back. For the very active, get a list of the trails and stick around. If you do some planning before you go, you can hike just about anywhere. But that’s for a very aggressive day, which I hear some people like. You need a full tank and a generator for those.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Downtown Park
By the Palm Springs Art Museum. Peep the Marilyn statue, the babies, the car, and snap some very cool photo ops. Highly Instagram worthy.

Sunnylands
Bird walks and outdoor films. Truly gorgeous grounds.

Palm Springs POWER baseball
Not a lotto game, but our baseball team. Games start in June. Wear a hat.

Living Desert
It’s a beautiful zoo — the animals are well cared for, and you can feed the giraffes. FYI: They’re not walking around willy-nilly and you feed them a leaf in passing, during supervised feeding times. Sorry if I crushed any dreams.

The Living Desert. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Red Jeep Desert Tours
Take a ride in a Jeep and go see things. They’ve got plenty of options.

Path of the Bighorn (self-tour of bighorn sheep sculptures)
Scattered all over the Coachella Valley are 33 bighorn sheep sculptures. The Peninsular desert bighorn is an endangered species, and the Path of the Bighorn gives visitors the opportunity to appreciate incredible art and the beauty of the animal. I haven’t seen an IG story about them yet, so someone get on that.

A bighorn sheep in the wilds of Palm Springs. Photo credit: Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Hot Air Balloon Rides in Indio
Is it romantic, is it thrilling, or will it scare the birthmark off of you? You decide. But the Coachella Valley is spectacular from the sky.

Skywatcher star tours
State-of-the-art telescopes give you views of the cosmos, while “experienced guides weave together the myths and legends behind each constellation,” Skywatcher’s website states. These tours combine “breathtaking views and awe-inspiring astronomy with the heroes, lovers, and tragic figures from cultures around the world.” Also, they’re pretty.

The Dinosaurs Exhibit
Artist Ricardo Breceda’s public art installation Jurassic World consists of 11 life-sized dinosaurs, complete with name tags (one’s name is Steve, he’s a T-Rex. Okay, that’s just what I call him). This one is courtesy of Museum of Ancient Wonders and Cathedral City. Brecada also has sculptures in Borrego Springs.

I’ve got at least a half a tank

Boomers
Fun for all ages: Go-karts, three mini-golf courses, batting cages, bumper boats, arcade games, and a rock wall. I went here for my birthday one year and I’m an overgrown adult.

Bucket of balls
At Indian Canyons Golf Course. They’re like $8, and after you’re done, you can have a cocktail at the full bar and eat a tasty lunch in the clubhouse. And the grounds are stunning.

Palm Springs Historical Society walking and biking tours
So many to choose from! Put on some comfy shoes, pick your decade, and giddy-up.

Full tank and four-wheel drive

Smoke Tree Stables
Probably should have saved the giddy-up for this sentence. Instead, I’ll tell you that there are three ride options, but one is on hold. Prices per person are $80-$200, depending on your choice. Closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.

If you’re enjoying riding one of the bikes provided by your hotel and want to go exploring, then check out the City of Palm Springs bicycle routes map.

Guests at Talavera Palm Springs can use these bikes to tool around town. Photo credit: Talavera Palm Springs

Bring your balls

In bold are the sporty things you can do at our local parks.

DeMuth Park
4200 E Mesquite Ave., in Demuth Community Center
Colorful playground, four lit tennis courts, baseball fields, and a youth center.

Ruth Hardy Park
700 Tamarisk Rd.
This 22-acre park features tennis, basketball and sand volleyball courts, plus picnic tables and grills.

Sunrise Park
480 S Sunrise Way
Basketball court, baseball field, picnic tables, grills, drinking fountains, restroom facilities, and play structures, including water-squirting turtles. Also here: Library Center, Swim Center, Palm Springs Stadium, and Palm Springs Skate Park.

Baristo Park
296 S Calle Encilia
Local two-acre park with play equipment, a basketball court, picnic tables, and grills.

You’re not my mom. No, I’m not, but I care. So wear sunscreen, always have water on hand, and drink it (rinse, repeat). Also, throw a few snacks in the backpack. No one likes a hangry hiker. Especially not the (ridiculously handsome) EMTs who have to rescue your sorry tush because you didn’t hydrate.

If you think about it, tag us in your photos. We love seeing your adventures, and with your permission and photo credit, we’d love to share them here if that’s cool with you. 

Speaking of cool, no — you are.

It’s June, and you know what that means — it’s time to forget Father’s Day! 

One year, my dad skipped church (I’m kidding, he never went to church) so my mom and my sibling and I went and learned it was Father’s Day. Gah! If it had been at the Baptist Bible school my parents sent us off to in the summer, we could have made something out of glue and macaroni, but this was the Presbyterian church, and they weren’t crafty. It was also the 1960s, and on Sundays nothing was open, so there was no way to remedy the situation. We went home defeated and, I’ll admit, a little nervous.

When we got there, Dad was moving the lawn. One look and we knew that he knew we didn’t know, and then he just wiped his brow and continued riding his mower (we had less than three-quarters of an acre, so that was kinda boujee). I now realize that is exactly what he wanted to be doing on that day, yard work, because it was away from the three females who vexed him 365 days a year. 

I hear they’re making dads a little bit more cuddly these days, so they’ll likely appreciate doing something with their kids, and I’m here to help you out. If you’re grown, you don’t need my help. Everyone knows it’s brunch for mom and dad gets to watch sports and drink beer all day.

For dads who have young’uns and like spending time with them (hopefully all of you!), bring the family down to the most laid back and grooviest little big place in the state of California: Palm Springs.

Quick note: I’ve pre-sorted a list of all of our family-friendly resorts for you here. There’s quite a few, and I’d love to tell you about all the wonderful and unique things offered by each, however this is about what to do once you score your stay. I encourage you to click and peruse, as well as add your own amenity filters. 

Now, if everyone’s gone tinkle and buckled up, let’s get this motor running and get out on the highway, looking for adventure…any more of that and I may have to pay royalties, so away we go:

Edutainment

Museum of Ancient Wonders — Comprised of 375 artifacts and fossils (many are replicas), the Museum of Ancient Wonders provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages to immerse themselves into the mesmerizing life of a pharaoh, the legends of Greek mythology, and ancient African mysticism, and to experience the international fossil record in one of the most comprehensive and diverse fossil collections ever assembled and rarely seen outside of their respective museums.

Windmill Tours — From golf cart tours to self-driving tours, it’s all about the energy of these turbines, how they work, and how much electricity they produce. I hear it’s marvelous. Likely not for toddlers, though. 

Palm Springs Air Museum — Climb aboard old planes, see memorabilia from the flyers, and even ride on an old warbird.

Next year, Discovery Children’s Museum of the Desert will be open again, and it’s full of wonder. They won’t let you in without a kid, but I got a tour once, and I wanted to play with everything.

Fascination

Create Center for the Arts — It’s hard to believe we have a place this special in our little valley, but we do. Formerly a high-end doggie and people spa, it’s been repurposed into a feast for creativity. Please, do yourself and your kids a favor and check out their website and just go. I can’t tell you everything here, but if there’s a smidge of an artist in you and you’ve got imagination, this place is a dreamcatcher. On top of that, one of the best bakeries in the valley, Aspen Mills, has a satellite shop there, and there is an art store. The whole place feels like an elegant castle. Bonus — they kept the salt cave!  

Rancho Mirage Observatory — The witching hour is 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Starts in the lobby of the library. There is no cost and no registration. Tours are limited to about 20 people. Also check out their stargazing at night.

Silly Fun

Cabazon Dinosaurs — Mr. Rex, Dinny, and their more than 50 dinosaur friends provide perfect photo ops. The dinosaur walk features a dino dig and fossil panning that kids will enjoy. 

 Jurassic Wonders — I guess we love dinosaurs? This is a new installation on Highway 111 in the vicinity of the Mary Pickford Theater. They’re pretty ferocious looking — not like Dino from The Flintstones. Great photo ops.

Boomers — Are you a golfing dad? You can scratch a little of that itch at Boomers mini-golf, and maybe hit some video games and the go-carts. They also have a batting cage, but I’ve never seen anyone use it.  

Living Desert — Real live exotic animals doing real life stuff so you may have to explain, “When two lions love each other very much….” Or, you can get them interested in feeding the giraffes instead.

Get Air Trampoline Park — Something for kids of all ages. Seriously, go to their website and check it out and tell them I sent you. They have no idea who I am. It’ll be fun!

Skate Park — If you’re an action parent with an action kid, this is where you want to be.

Into The Wild

Lake Arrowhead — Take a ride on the Lake Arrowhead Queen (it’s a boat), and/or take water skiing lessons. Go to Santa’s Village where you can zipline and learn to fly fish. Or just have lunch and an ice cream.

Magic Mountain at Big Bear Lake boasts:

The Alpine Slide, Southern California’s only authentic, year-round bobsled experience. Take a chair lift ride to the top, then control your speed as you twist and turn down a quarter-mile-long track. Check the website for ages/heights. 

The Soaring Eagle, where you whoosh through the air at incredible speeds.

The Mineshaft Coaster is the first and only mountain coaster in California. On the way up, check out the breathtaking views, then you control your speed through thrilling hairpin turns, dips, tunnels, bridges and 360-degree corkscrews on a mile long track.

There’s also go-karts, an 18-hole mini golf course, and … drumroll please … a double water slide!

Whatever you decide to do, can I go with you? Asking for my inner child. And please have a very happy Father’s Day!

“Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again.” — The Addams Family

Halloween is a great time to spend the weekend in Palm Springs. The weather is cooler, but not cold, and the food and entertainment are hot! Also, if you weren’t already aware, Halloween is a HUGE deal here in Palm Springs. Arenas is all about creativity in costumes, music, drinks and reverie — it’s quite the kiki.

Halloween is so big in LGBTQ+ culture that it’s called Gay Christmas. And on Arenas it is FUN, it is FABULOUS, it’s a CELEBRATION, and it is PAGEANTRY! It is a scene, baby!

A writer for The Advocate had some musings about why Halloween is such a big deal in gay culture and hoo boy, they were pretty dark, and not in a spooky way but in a way that sucks all of the gaiety out of fright night. So we’re not going to focus on the hocus pocus and go with another suggestion from him that rings true, “Halloween is the one time of year when everyone is allowed to be whoever they want to be.” That gets a bubbling, piping hot cauldron full of “yes!”

If you’re not gay, who cares? Everyone is welcome everywhere. For those who have an aversion to crowds, and it will be crowded on Arenas, there’s still plenty’o-ween to be had in smaller doses.

(If you’d like to read a detailed history about Halloween and Gay Christmas go here. Or you can come back to it after you read about all the spooktacular ((sorry)) goings on in Palm Springs 2022).

Halloween revelers in Palm Springs. Photo credit: Kay Kudukis

Party in the U.S. Gay:

Oct. 30: Arenas Halloween  — There is SO much to do and see, you’re going to have to click the link and check it out. If you don’t wear a costume, you can still go, but you’ll feel horribly out of place. Here are some shopping spots to find your spooky boo you. Or just find a fun mask.

Oct. 12, 19, and 26: A Classic TV Halloween at Quadz. On Oct. 19th, stop by for 1970’s HORROR FILMS: A Nod to The Classics in Palm Springs, or check out The History of Horror/Scariest Short Films Part 2 on Oct. 26. 

Oct. 20: Hey Boo! at Oscar’s, is described as such: “Heklina, international drag queen extraordinaire, will be ‘HELLina’ with her spooky parody songs and hocus-pocus tales. Heklina’s spine-chilling performance will remind you that this podcaster, actor, emcee and ghost buster is more than just a pretty face. Deven Green & Ned Douglas are the boniest award-winning performers this side of purgatory. Brought back from the dead for one night only, their live music and songs with inscrutable words will make you soil yourself with frightful laughter.”

Families with kids

Oct. 29: Spooktacular Halloween – Rancho Mirage Library — Enjoy an afternoon of trick-or-treating and a costume parade through the library. Christopher T. Magician will also be on hand to perform his Halloween magic show in the Community Room. 1 to 4 p.m.

Oct. 29 and 30: Howl-O-Ween at the Living Desert. Kids are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes and enjoy one of the many exciting activities planned for the weekend, including more than 20 trick-or-treat stations, a monster maze, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin decorating, animal encounters, meeting Living Desert zoo mascots, storytelling, face-painting, bounce houses, craft workshops, and more. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free with paid park admission.

Oct. 30: Cathedral City Spooktacular — This free event features trick-or-treating with more than 40,000 pieces of candy. Kids will have a spooktacular time participating in activities like Halloween costume contests (two bikes are being given away each hour), police and fire exhibitions, and games. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Charity events

Oct. 8: House Party For A Cause — $100 but well worth it. Debbie Boone (the ’80s), Steve Knill (The Voice), Alix Korey (Broadway) and my favorite, DJ ModGirl.

Oct. 30: Be a Hero For Kids — If you’ve got a little bit deeper pockets, check out this event presented by The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs. It’s poolside!

All the rest

Escape Room — Vampire’s Lair, Jack The Ripper, and Merlin’s Magic Room are three of the spooky adventures awaiting you and your besties. The object? Just like Jordan Peele’s scary film: Get Out.

Oct. 16, 20, and 27: Palm Springs Cultural Center — Tim Burton “festival” with Ed Wood, Beetlejuice, and Nightmare Before Christmas. If you didn’t know, PSCC/Camelot Theatre has a 58′ screen, and the finest projection capabilities in the valley. It’s truly an experience to see a film in this theater.

Oct. 28: The Hilton’s Palm Springs Halloween Comedy Mashup.

Oct. 28, 29, and 31: PS Underground “Bite: Vampire Circus” — Always a frightful night in the best possible way. It changes every year, but it’s always wonderful. From the top-notch entertainment to the fantastic food to complement the evening. Expect the unexpected.

Oct. 29:  Mogo Silent Disco Monster Mash — Dance like nobody’s watching (even though they all are, because you’re dancing down the street to curated music with a bunch of people wearing headphone). Always fun.

Stay safe, buddy up, take rideshares, and don’t forget to hydrate. Love, A Witchy Woman

Creative Halloween costumes abound in Palm Springs. Photo credit: Kay Kudukis