While in Carlsbad, we also made a trip to the Living Desert State Park. It is a blend of living desert botanic gardens and zoo. It was a cool experience and a nice walk, however, we picked a terrible time to do it. The animals were mostly (understandably) hiding. Even though we arrived early by the time we had finished, we were both pretty miserable, which is unfortunate. I am still glad we did it just if we return in the future we want to plan better.
We were advised that the spring is actually the best time to go if anyone wants to add this on their “places to visit” list.