Desert Botanical Garden
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
First-time visitors to the Sonoran Desert often expect to find a lifeless expanse of sandy dunes. A trip to the Desert Botanical Garden (1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., 480/941-1225, www.dbg.org, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily Oct.–May, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. daily Jun.–Sept., $15 adults, $5 children 3–12) quickly dispels any myths about a Sahara in the Southwest.
With some 21,000 cacti, agaves, succulents, shrubs, trees, and colorful wildflowers, the Desert Botanical Garden easily claims the world’s largest, if not finest, collection of desert plants, including 139 rare, threatened, or endangered species. About a third of the living collection is native to the region, with the remaining plants originating from Australia, South America, and Mexico.
The Desert Botanical Garden began in 1939 with a mission “to exhibit, to conserve, to study, and to disseminate knowledge of the arid-land plants of the world.” Since then, it has evolved beyond a plant refuge, offering classes and hosting a series of social events throughout the year that range from spring concerts to arts festivals.
Try to come early in the day or late in the evening, when the sunlight is incredible. Or, for a different perspective, flashlight tours are held during the summer, a fun opportunity for children to see the nocturnal desert’s nighthawks, snakes, insects, and night-blooming flowers.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition