Disclosure: Our admission to the Desert Botanical Garden was complimentary. All opinions are my own.
I’ve always lived in close proximity to the water, so the desert is a completely different landscape for me. I remember the first time I visited Arizona – I couldn’t stop looking at the cacti and other plants. It’s all so beautiful, with different, beautiful shades of green. I enjoyed my first, quick visit to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens during a Phoenix press trip, so I was eager to return with my family a year later.
The Desert Botanical Garden is located in Phoenix, right next door to the Phoenix Zoo. If you don’t plan on spending too much time at each, you could easily combine the visits. Because my kids were still pretty young, we were able to see much of the Desert Botanical Garden in a relatively short period of time. However, since it features 145 acres, including 65 acres under cultivation, those who want to really learn about the plants or photograph them will want to spend more time.
After entering the admissions gate, you’ll see several loops filled with different plants. You’ll find cactus and succulent galleries, an edible garden, a desert wildflower loop trail, and the plants and people of the Sonoran desert loop trail (among others). There isn’t a ton of shade, so if you are visiting in the heat, you’ll probably want to go early before it gets too hot out.
During some times of the year, the butterfly exhibit is open. A separate fee applies, but it’s definitely worth the visit. I spent so much time in there, and was able to get some great photos of the various butterfly varieties.
Families visiting the Desert Botanical Garden should ask for a family activity sheet at the front gate. It helps make the visit more fun for kids. While the garden may seem like more of an adult attraction, my kids really enjoyed it too. The garden offers a number of things to appeal to families. For instance, in the fall, you can take a flashlight tour, where you’ll hear, see, and maybe even feel some of the desert around you. And, yes, you may hear some snakes roaming around! It’s recommended for families, so it’s not too scary. There are lots of other programs throughout the year also – including an “ask the gardener program”. The Desert Botanical Garden also offers a garden shop, a restaurant, a cafe, and much more. To learn more, visit their website.
Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008