Things to Do in Arizona – Desert Botanical Gardens

Desert Botanical Gardens

My sister recently visited from out of state, and while she was here, we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens with my dad, one of his favorite places.  It was a great time to visit the gardens as the weather was perfect, and many of the cacti were in bloom.  I had forgotten what an interesting and beautiful place it is.  There is so much to see at the Gardens that I can only give you the tip of the ice berg or maybe I should say the needle on the cactus as to what is there so you will just have to go see it for yourself.  But here is a glimpse of what you might encounter.

As you enter you pass by glass sculptures by Chihuly.  Every so often his colorful artwork is displayed throughout the garden which just enhances your experience there.

One of the things that struck me immediately is all of the different textures that are represented.

Desert Botanical Gardens

You really have to watch where you are going if you are in the desert!

Desert Botanical Gardens

Fortunately, there are level paths all the way through the gardens.

Desert Botanical Gardens

The Palo Verde trees (our state tree) were in bloom all over the park.  They added a lot of color to our walk.

Desert Botanical Gardens

Not only did the Palo Verde trees add color, the blooming cacti were stunning!

Desert Botanical Gardens

Look at the perfect ring of flowers on this cactus.  So fascinating.

I love these yellow and orange flowers.

Desert Botanical Gardens

The flowers on the Ocotillo cactus remind me of fire crackers.

Desert Botanical Gardens

So many shapes and colors around every corner.

Desert Botanical Gardens

There are also some really strange types of cactus that I never knew about, and wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.  This is a snake cactus!:(  The name fits.

If you get tired, there are plenty of places to sit down.

Desert Botanical Gardens

We got thirsty about halfway through our time there and found a little cafe that had drinks and snacks.  They even had macaroni and cheese.  That is my kind of cafe.

The best part about our visit to the cafe, was while we were sitting at the tables taking a break, we saw so many little critters.

There were quail, squirrels, and even a Cactus Wren which is our state bird.  I think they were hoping for some macaroni and cheese.

After our brief break, we continued on some trails we hadn’t been to yet.  Seeing the giant saguaros was such a treat.

Desert Botanical Gardens

I think I had Easter on my brain as everything looked like a bunny to me.

Desert Botanical Gardens

The nearby mountains made a beautiful backdrop for the plants.

Desert Botanical Gardens

And the people (my dad and sister)!

Desert Botanical Gardens

There are different sections throughout the gardens, one of them being a section for plants that thrive in the shade.  It contained a water feature and pond and was about 10 degrees cooler in that area.

Desert Botanical Gardens

The desert is full of some strange and wonderful things.

Desert Botanical Gardens

Did you know you can make wine out of the fruit of the Prickly Pear cactus?  My husband tried it.  It is definitely an acquired taste!

Desert Botanical Gardens

There is so much more you can see at the Desert Botanical Gardens.  I highly recommend it as one of the premier things to do if you are visiting the Phoenix area or just want to explore the city you live in.  It would be a great thing to do with company from out of town (as long as it’s not summer) or to take your mom to for Mother’s Day.  They also have a gorgeous luminary display at night during the Christmas season.  Whenever you go, you will come away with a greater appreciation for the diversity and beauty of the desert. Check out the link below to their website for lots more details about all they have to offer.

Desert Botanical Gardens

Desert Botanical Gardens

1201 N Galvin Pkwy

Phoenix, AZ 85008

(480) 941-1225






About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (
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18 Responses to Things to Do in Arizona – Desert Botanical Gardens

  1. Lori Ridenour says:

    What a treat to be with you in this beautiful place!! I highly recommend it too!! 🌵

  2. AnnetteM says:

    That was very interesting – thanks. In our local park there is a Winter gardens area all set in massive glass houses. One of these is dedicated to cactuses. It is a wonderful area with a very different atmosphere. It must be great to see a whole botanic gardens filled with cactuses, especially in flower.

    • Shari says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Annette! It is such an interesting place. My few pictures cannot do justice to it. How wonderful that you can experience a cactus garden where you live. I really appreciate you stopping by!

  3. nancyc says:

    Thanks for sharing about the Botanical Gardens–beautiful photos!

  4. I live in Arizona too. I love the Desert Botanical Gardens! Especially during Las Noches de las Luminarias in November and December! You’ve captured the beauty of the place perfectly with your lovely photos. 🙂

    • Shari says:

      It is really nice to meet you, Sandra! Aren’t the Gardens, great?! I love the luminarias, too. We did that once for my dad’s birthday a while back, and I would like to do it again sometime. Thank you for your kind comment. It is great to know another blogger from Arizona!

  5. I haven’t been to Arizona since I was a wee child, but your post has made me want to revisit this state. I can’t believe the colours and variety of vegetation found in the desert! These gardens are gorgeous. It looks like they’ve done an excellent job showcasing the beauty of what many people believe is a barren area.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Shari says:

      I hope you can travel to Arizona sometime again, Ruth. The Gardens do such a great job showing the variety of plants in the desert. I’m always amazed at the colors of the blooming cacti and the textures were fascinating to me. The desert can be an acquired taste, but since I’ve lived here all my life, I have come to appreciate it, even love it. Be sure to let me know if you plan a trip here. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Roz says:

    I loved experiencing the beauty of spring in the Valley through your photos of the Botanical Gardens, Shari! I thought the Chihuly was an actual plant! Wow! I used to love looking at all of the Palo Verde trees in bloom all over the place . . . so pretty! Love the rock bench and the water feature, I’d love to have those in my own yard! I remember seeing all of this incredible desert beauty when on my walks. I think it’s time for me to get a Phoenix-fix!

    • Shari says:

      I think you need a Phoenix-fix, too, Roz!:) Be sure to let me know if you plan a trip. I love the Palo Verde trees, too! They are blooming everywhere right now, and just add so much color to the valley. It sure doesn’t compare to the beauty of your state, but I’ll take what I can get. I always enjoy seeing your photos of the plants in your area. Thanks so much for your comment!

      • rozpaige says:

        Awe, you’re so sweet Shari. Truthfully I think that both AZ and SC have their unique types of beauty. We’re not fond of winter here, but winter in AZ was amazing! I love spring in both states, but summer in both AZ and SC is another story as you well know. I miss having a swimming pool and all of the community pools that are in AZ. I guess SC folks are more used to going to the gazillions of lakes here or the beach so close by. But I still miss those clean and clear swimming pools!!!! Until I ever get one again (ha ha), I’ll beat the heat and humidity here inside the house! 🙂

      • Shari says:

        The pools are really nice here. We had one growing up, and I would like to have one again someday. I have to convince my husband first, though!:) I didn’t realize summer in SC was difficult. Thankfully I don’t really mind the heat very much. Probably because I grew up here. I’m so glad you are enjoying your spring, Roz! We are not planting a garden this year, so I will be longingly looking at the pictures of yours!

  7. cheri says:

    Hi Shari, I was just there last Friday with family from out of town, it is such a nice place to show off our state.

    • Shari says:

      Hi Cheri, You are so right! It is the perfect place to take out of town guests. It is great for residents of Arizona, too. My dad has a membership which allows him to go anytime for free, once you pay the membership fee. He is a photographer and goes a lot to take pictures of plants at different times of the year. I’m so thankful we have something like this in the valley. Thanks for your comment!

  8. milkandbun says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post, I’ve just had an amazing virtual trip to the garden! 🙂

    • Shari says:

      You are very welcome, Mila. I think the desert is an acquired taste, but I have come to love the uniqueness of it and the open views as well as the color at certain times of the year. I hope you enjoyed your trip!:)

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