Desert Dazzle: WildLights

Palm Desert greets the season with an after-sundown glow.

SPARKLY SUCCULENTS, CHRISTMASY CACTI: Celebrating the yuletide in an arid clime isn't exactly like winding strings of cranberries and popcorn around a tall fir tree. The desert is a starker scene, typically with less flora though the plantlife, and wildlife for that matter, is no less impressive than any fir-lined mountain ridge or meadow. Thinking about how to festoon a rockier, more thorny, sun-bright stretch takes creativity, something that The Living Desert people have shown for several years via WildLights. The annual nighttime walk-around is very much about the holidays, about sparkle, about thousands of bulbs clustered together, and about that oh-so-Palm-Desert-y setting. Nope, the designers of the evening spectacle aren't trying to reproduce a Christmas glow show found elsewhere; they're devoted to their desert environs.

BUT... that doesn't mean there won't be traditional touches of the season. Past years have seen carolers, s'mores, visits from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a train, and more merriment. Tunes round out the greeting-card-cute doings, and animal presentations, too (The Living Desert is home to many a desert critter). The 2014 dates kick off just before Thanksgiving -- Tuesday, Nov. 25 is the official night #1 -- and the final date is Wednesday, Dec. 31. (Note that WildLights isn't on every night, so check before you go.)

AS FOR DAYTIME OUTINGS? Those are still on during the holidays, though the sun shall provide the illumination, and not thousands of cheerful strings. Look for bobcats, badgers, and tortoises, among other critters, around the pretty grounds.

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