Imagine a place where you can gaze upon the most beautiful species of cacti in the world. Imagine being able to witness the propagation of the rarest of desert flowers. Consider the possibilities of bringing together the finest botanists, horticulturists, and geologists in one cohesive effort to create a living, outdoor museum. Fortunately for those in and around Phoenix, such a place exists not in the imagination, but among 145 red butte acres known as the Desert Botanical Garden.
Things to See at the Garden
Located in Papago Park adjacent to the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden is home to over 130 species of endangered or threatened plant life, creating a Southwestern oasis showcasing one of the world’s finest collection of desert flora. Founded in the 1940s, millions of visitors have experienced this exciting, living display of rare cacti, agave, and opuntia, with over 300,000 people a year strolling the grounds of this must-see Phoenix destination.
The Cactus Collection
The Desert Botanical Garden is world-renowned for its cactus collection and holds more than 10,000 plants representing several hundred species. Not just your average succulent garden, several of the cacti are extraordinarily rare and offer visitors a chance to view such exotic species as the Eriosyce and Echinopsis, both native to South America.
The Agave Collection
One of the most amazing plants on the planet, agaves bloom once and then die. Known mistakenly by its common name, the Century Plant, many agaves grow for fifty years or more before they bloom. As such, the rarest of the agaves are seen perhaps just once in a lifetime. Several species of agave take on high economic importance as they are used in the production of everything from sisal fibers to the manufacture of tequila. In fact, Mexico depends so heavily on the production of Agave tequilana, it results in tens of millions of dollars a year to the nation’s economy. At the Desert Botanical Garden, visitors can seize their opportunity to gaze upon 197 different kinds of agaves, including several extremely rare and native only to Arizona.
The Opuntia Collection
Known commonly as the prickly pear, opuntia is species of flowering cacti. The Desert Botanical Garden is home to over fifteen different kinds of opuntia, putting on a colorful display of these eclectic horticultural marvels. Believed to be the most complete collection of its kind, the Garden is the only place in the world where visitors and researchers alike can view so many examples of this fascinating and botanically significant plant.
Target Kids Corner
Children will love running into Sammy Saguaro or planting some of Sammy’s Seedlings. Activities for kids abound during the cool, fall, and winter months at the Garden and range from learning about the birds and creatures that inhabit the desert landscape to discovering the joy of planting a renewable cactus.
Friday Nights on the Terrace
Looking for that slightly different night out on the town? Join music lovers from throughout the Valley each Friday night as they enjoy the sounds of live musicians against the spectacular backdrop of the Garden’s patios and natural desert beauty. The Patio Café offers fine dining options during the concerts and gourmet picnic dinners are available with advance reservations at an additional charge. Buy your tickets early for these shows, however as limited seating is available and often the best Friday nights sell out well in advance. Tickets are available online or stop by the Garden Admission Box Office during normal operating hours.
The Garden Shop
If you have a plant lover in the family make a point to visit the Garden Shop before you pick up that special holiday or birthday gift. The best of the Sonoran desert is reflected in the countless plants, decorative items, jewelry, clothing, and gourmet foods that are available for sale. Spectacular books, from coffee table photo extravaganzas to technical reference volumes can be found at the Shop as well, making the Garden Shop your premier destination for botanical-themed gifts.
Getting to the Desert Botanical Garden
Open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day except the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, admission to the Desert Botanical Garden is just $4 for children, $5 for students with ID, and $10 for adults. The Garden is located in Phoenix AZ at 1201 North Galvin Parkway, it is in the heart of Papago Park and directly north of the Phoenix Zoo. Easily accessible from Highway 101 and north of Highway 87, the Garden is also a direct destination on Route 3 of the Valley Metro line.
Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden
1201 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
Map To The Garden