Desert Beasties by Night: Park After Dark

Owls, wolves, and other animals get the Living Desert after-dusk spotlight.

EXPLORING AFTER SUNDOWN: As children, we master one- and two-syllable words first, though a few big grown-up multi-part terms tend to sneak into our language, surprising adults around us. One word that many kids hear early on, at school and on zoo field trips, is "nocturnal." And it is a pretty easy one to grasp, if the tot understands that some animals, like owls and cottontails and coyotes, don't keep an early bedtime. Rather, they live by night, hunting and surviving, as opposed to all of the animals that seem to keep more closely to a human's schedule. The desert boasts many a beastie who stretches its wings and/or tail come sundown, but this isn't a side of things we always get to see, mostly because few of us venture into desert areas after dark (which is a shame, given that they're so beautiful and the stars above tend to do that blanketing thing).

GOOD NEWS: The Living Desert in Palm Desert will change that up, though, on Friday nights from January to early March. The animal park, which is devoted to the cacti and critters of our more arid California landscapes, is presenting Park After Dark, which'll take guests on an "evening safari" of sorts.

NIGHTTIME KNOWLEDGE: "(A)n animal of the nocturnal kind" greets guests upon arrival, and after that? More by-moon looking around, meaning an ultraviolet light will be brandished at some point. Those are handing in ferreting out scorpions, which glow by black light. Wait, is "ferreting" right? Or do we mean scorpioning out scorpions? S'mores, a campfire, a song, and more moonlight merriment is in store.

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