Desert Botanical Garden- A Cacti Haven
A favorite spot for locals, The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix offers the visitor from another terrain and landscape to get their fill of cacti and other flora that thrive in this dry, thirsty desert. Yes, you can see no shortage of saguaro adorning the highways, but here is a chance to immerse in desert greenery, learn about it, and also marvel at butterflies galore and spot a critter here or there, especially when the crowds are thin.
For the latter reason alone—but more, for your overall experience—this is a tour spot where timing matters.
This writer—a Midwesterner— has visited the Desert Botanical Garden three times. The time that you might expect to be the worst due to heat, i.e. end of June, was in many ways the BEST time to visit if and when you can schedule it for a weekday evening. Time your visit for the last few hours before it closes at 8:00 pm, and you won’t have to contend with crowds nor peak sunlight.
A Saturday visit in early May might be of interest to those who like to look (or crash?) private events being held on the garden premises. For most of us though, this just cuts off your views and creates more competition and crowds in a space that deserves serenity.
May or June, expect it to be hot.
For a northerner, it’s also best to ignore the warnings of locals to skip a trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens in winter months. They see what’s missing, e.g. the desert blooms of May. The Gardens seem to be relatively unvisited by locals then, especially on a weekday morning, so you get to linger longer without crowds.
There are five distinct trails that you can follow and jump from one to another at various intersections. The signage explaining the uses of various plants and trees, the ways in which Native nations interacted with the terrain historically, and the usual Latin name/common name tags are very well done—spaced apart in a way that lets you effortlessly absorb a knowledgebase of the fauna and flora. Your mindspace is never too full to just marvel at all you see.
Daily 7 AM to 8 PM
Desert Botanical Garden
1201 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
- Adult: $24.95
- Youth $12.95 (3 – 17)
- Children under 3 are admitted free.
For more information visit the Desert Botanical Garden website.