Capital Campaign 2023

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Dear Supporter of The Living Desert,

There are two things at the heart of The Living Desert’s mission: educating people about the wonders of the natural world and preserving endangered animals from desert habitats around the globe. Over the last 52 years, we have become a beloved Coachella Valley cultural institution welcoming more than 12 million guests to our education and conservation campus.

Each year more than 100,000 school aged children visit The Living Desert from throughout Southern California. For many of them, this is their first opportunity to see both local desert wildlife and animals from deserts around the world. This visit begins a lifelong journey of empathy and caring about wildlife. We work collaboratively with teachers and school districts to provide science-based curriculum to support state education standards.

The Living Desert is currently involved in more than 50 conservation projects in 11 countries around the world. Our Community-Based Conservation Programs are the model for 21st century efforts to protect endangered species. In addition to financial support, The Living Desert sends veterinary, educator, and animal care specialists to support field conservation efforts.

We have been blessed over the years to have the broad support of our local community, which has allowed us to build, expand, and modernize our campus as we work to develop the conservation organization of the future. Thank you for joining us in exploring how your legacy can build on that foundation.

Over the last 52 years, we have become a beloved Coachella Valley cultural institution welcoming more than 12 million guests to our education and conservation campus.

For over 50 years, The Living Desert’s mission of desert conservation through preservation, education, and appreciation has remained steadfast. As we look to the future, the final phase of a three-part capital improvement initiative will support the growth of the organization, including the development of lion habitats, a state-of-the-art event and conference center, guest dining and marketplace, play and splash-pad, multi-departmental office space, and parking lot expansion.

The $90 million capital campaign, Pride of the Desert, began in 2016 and aims to raise the necessary funds to fulfill this portion of the Zoo’s master plan. The first phase, the Grundhofer Entry Plaza and Appel Gift Shop, and Phase Two, Rhino Savanna, are now complete. The final phase began Summer 2022, with staggered openings between Fall 2024-Fall 2025.

The Living Desert is a leader in the conservation and preservation of the world’s desert wildlife and wild places. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity of donors to sustain our operations and expand our commitment. Your gift to this campaign will enable us to further our impact on global wildlife initiatives and accelerate our ability to make a difference for the animals and plants we all love.



Donor Advised Fund (DAF)

IRA Distribution Stocks and Investments


Multi-Year Pledges


Planned and Estate Gifts



The Living Desert’s deepening commitment to wildlife conservation will be fulfilled through the construction of the new Lion Ridge. Featuring African lions, this stateof-the-art habitat will further interpret the conservation stories of Africa’s biggest cat. Just twenty years ago, it would have been unimaginable to think that the mighty lion would be facing the threat of extinction. However today, lions are facing increased pressures of human development and expansion, such as loss of habitat and prey, which threatens much of their home range, and human-wildlife conflict, which includes wildlife trafficking.

The Living Desert’s commitment to the conservation programs supporting African lions includes leadership and involvement in community-based conservation programs, public engagement and communication efforts, and participation in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which supports a genetically sustainable population of lions in human care.

The Living Desert’s new Lion Ridge habitat will share the depth of our conservation commitment and empower guests to make meaningful conservation actions to benefit all wildlife.

For available naming and funding opportunities, please refer to back of this page.

The Living Desert’s new Lion Ridge habitat will share the depth of our conservation commitment and empower guests to make meaningful conservation actions to benefit all wildlife.


Ridge #1



The Surround at Lion Ridge* $3,500,000 Ridge 1 Lodge $500,000 Ridge 2 Lodge

Palm Garden Retractable Wall $500,000

2 Viewing & Training Windows $300,000 each

Lion Care Team Center $250,000

3 Lion Catwalks $300,000 each

3 Climate-Controlled Boulders $250,000 each

3 Shade Structures with Window $250,000 each

6 Premier Viewing Windows $250,000 each

3 Signature Viewing Windows $150,000 each

*Indicates that the area will also be used as an event venue.

Naming Opportunity Investment
SOLD Ridge
$3,000,000 Ridge


The Living Desert’s four-acre Rhino Savanna habitat is an impressive and impactful multi-species habitat featuring black rhino, springbok, waterbuck, pelicans, and more. This state-of-the-art habitat delivers on its promise to be a dynamic and engaging experience for all those who encounter it—our animals, guests, and team. With its grand opening in November 2021, Rhino Savanna has helped The Living Desert reach record-breaking attendance, while also deepening our conservation impact in African communities and inspiring our guests to become Agents of Conservation themselves. For available naming and funding opportunities, please see below.

Naming Opportunity Investment Giraffe Savanna* $5,000,000 Living Legacy Garden* $5,000,000 Crossroads of Conservation Interior Plaza* $4,000,000 Conservation Station* $2,500,000 Rhino Encounter Pavilion* $2,000,000 Rhino Care Center (3,000 sq. ft.) $1,000,000 Animal Care Education Plaza* $750,000 Keeper Chat Plaza #3 at Rhino Island $750,000 Warthog Habitat $750,000 Desert Rhino and Antelope Barns $500,000 How We Zoo It Tour-Departure Station $500,000 Rhino Viewing #2 $500,000 Rhino Viewing #3 $500,000 Rhino Waterhole $500,000 Animal Care Outpost $350,000 Savanna Falls $350,000 Porcupine Habitat $250,000 Desert Savanna Mud Wallow $175,000 *Indicates that the area will also be used as an event venue.


The Living Desert’s iconic Giraffe Savanna has mesmerized our guests for over 20 years. This forward-thinking habitat brings guests of all ages right into the savannas of Africa. The opportunity to feed the world’s tallest animal fosters a love and appreciation for giraffe in an entirely new way.

Sadly, giraffe are in the midst of a silent extinction and their numbers have decreased almost 40% in the last 30 years. Listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), giraffe are threatened by human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss.

The Living Desert’s commitment to this iconic African species remains steadfast. Through partnerships with field conservation organizations, leadership within the Giraffe SAFE program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and public engagement campaigns, we are working to help protect and save the majestic giraffe.

The Living Desert is currently home to a herd of 10 giraffes, and over 50,000 guests a year participate in the paid giraffe feeding experience that is offered daily.

The immersive Giraffe Savanna Feeding Platform is available for a leadership naming gift of $5,000,000.


This truly unique special event and conference center, supported in part by a generous leadership gift from Connie and Bob Lurie, will become the Coachella Valley’s premier choice for events and conferences. Situated next to the Lion Ridge habitat, the event and conference center will have 180-degree window views into the new lion habitat along with state-of-the-art audio/visual technology. This remarkable space will accommodate up to 500 guests for indoor dining with seating of 250 on the adjacent patio.

For available naming and funding opportunities, please see below.

Naming Opportunity Investment

Connie and Bob Lurie Event and Conference Center* $6,000,000

Event Entry Plaza $1,500,000

Event Center Kitchen $1,000,000

Palm Garden Patio Stage* and Storage $1,000,000

Covered Portico $1,000,000

Event Center Dining Room A* $750,000

Event Center Dining Room B* $750,000

Palm Pathway $750,000

Event Center Lion Viewing $300,000 with Training Window

Main Stage $250,000

Event Center Green Room $250,000

Dining Room Bar 1 $150,000

Dining Room Bar 2 $150,000

Bridal Suite $60,000

Event Center North Restrooms (F) $60,000

Event Center North Restrooms (M) $60,000

Event Center South Restrooms (F) $60,000

Event Center South Restrooms (M) $60,000

*Indicates that the area will also be used as an event venue.



To further meet the needs of our guests and growing attendance, The Living Desert will be building a new concession and dining outlet, restroom facility, and interactive and play-oriented splash pad. The splash pad will be a sustainable amenity that will offer inclusive play opportunities for guests. The marketplace dining outlet will offer a variety of food selections, as well as souvenirs and gifts. The marketplace will also be featured as one of the Zoo’s rental event venues.

For available naming and funding opportunities, please see below.

Naming Opportunity Investment

Splash Pad $2,000,000

Marketplace Building* $3,000,000

Marketplace Kitchen $500,000

Marketplace Outdoor Patio* $1,000,000

Marketplace Restaurant* $1,000,000

*Indicates that the area will also be used as an event venue.

Splash Pad Restrooms Marketplace Kitchen Outdoor Patio
REV 02/2023
Bighorn Mountain


Australian Adventures is an engaging and immersive experience featuring Bennett’s wallabies that bounce alongside exploring guests. Free-flying budgies welcome and delight, along with playful emu, watchful tawny frogmouths and singing kookaburras. Yellow-footed wallabies gracefully scale the Australian rock formations, showing off their climbing abilities, and a variety of Australian reptiles bask in the sunny habitat.

Guests can discover these special desert species and feel like they’re visiting the incredible land down under! For naming opportunities see below.

Naming Opportunity Investment

Kookaburra Café*

Australian Overlook Patio*



Australian Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby Habitat SOLD

Australian Bennett’s Wallaby Island

Australian Kookaburra Habitat

Australian Reptile Habitat




Australian Bennett’s Wallaby Lounge SOLD

Australian Bettong Habitat


*Indicates that the area will also be used as an event venue.
REV 02/2023


The currently under-construction 15,000 sq. ft. office complex will feature 10 offices, 50 cubicles, locker room facilities, and conference rooms that will serve the animal care, gardens, and conservation teams. Located just behind the giraffe savanna, its proximity to service areas will be convenient and efficient. Also included is a large storage facility to accommodate the growing equipment and storage needs of the Zoo.

As The Living Desert continues to welcome more guests every year—635,000+ in FY21-22— we understand the need to build capacity in our parking lot. As we plan to welcome lions in 2025, projected visitation will near 1 million guests annually. To accommodate this growth, 245 parking spaces will be added by expanding the existing parking lot.

For available naming and funding opportunities, please see below.

Naming Opportunity Investment Office Complex $2,000,000

Storge Facility $1,500,000

Conference Room $50,000

10 Staff Offices $25,000 each

50 Staff Cubicles $15,000 each

65 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations $10,000 each

Parking Lot Expansion (245 spaces) $5,000 each

Portola Ave.
Guest Parking Staff Parking Giraffe Habitat
LEGEND A Employee/Delivery Entry B Additional Parking C Office Complex
Rhino Savanna


The 20,000 sq. ft. office building is the administrative and executive center of The Living Desert. Leadership and senior staff are accommodated within one space allowing for an efficient and effective work environment—something Steve Chase, the building’s donor, believed in strongly.

The administrative offices include the President/CEO’s office and space for various departments including development/advancement, marketing and public relations, finance and accounting, human resources, safety and security, and others. The 25,000 sq. ft. Tennity Board Room features a technology equipped meeting space for staff, board meetings, and special events. Situated just through the reception gallery is the Connie and Bob Lurie Patio, which is one of the favorite gardens for wedding ceremonies given its beauty, serenity, and proximity to the main zoo grounds. And one of the building’s most unique features is the stunning collection of over 40 California plein-air paintings representing more than 20 California impressionists.

For available naming and funding opportunities, please see the reverse of this page.


Naming Opportunity Investment Welcome Atrium $750,000 Lobby $100,000 Elevator $75,000 12 Offices $40,000 each Conference Balcony $40,000 Main Staircase $35,000 Restroom (F) $30,000 Restroom (M) $30,000 12 Offices $30,000 each Primary Copy/Storage Room $25,000 6 Storage Rooms $15,000 each Office Center/Mail Room $10,000 Office Work & Copy Room $7,500 Supply Room $5,000 2 Drinking Fountains $5,000 each CHASE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING EXPANSION VIP Observation Deck $150,000 Conference Room $50,000 25 Offices $40,000 each GUEST EXPERIENCE CENTER Guest Experience Center $750,000 Guest Experience Center Manager Office $25,000 Break-out Room and Kitchen $25,000 10 Cubicles within the Guest Experience Center $15,000 each



Lion Ridge Splash Pad Marketplace Connie & Bob Lurie Event and Conference Center
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