Discover local desert flora and fauna and learn about the world’s deserts in this beautiful garden.
The Desert Botanical Garden showcases the diversity of life found in even the driest climates. This attraction is the perfect introduction for visitors to the environment and wildlife found around Phoenix, as well as exploring the life found in deserts around the world.
In 1937, the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society established a garden where the beauty and range of plants found in the local Sonoran Desert could be appreciated and understood. Two years later, they moved to the current location, and the museum they founded continues their aims for research, education and conservation of desert flora and fauna.
The garden is home to more than 50,000 plants, including succulents, cacti, trees and flowers, and is known for its collection of agaves. Visitors can learn about how the various species have adapted differently to cope with the harsh desert environment. As well as local specimens, there are exhibits dedicated to desert flora from South America, Baja California and even Australia.
There is more than just plants on show here. Desert-dwellers play a major role in the ecosystem that is celebrated. Head to the seasonal butterfly exhibit for an explosion of colour, try to catch a glimpse of the fluttering hummingbirds and meet the colony of fun-loving chipmunks. To learn about how humans have survived in the desert and what benefits the plants here are known to have, visit the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert trail. This insight into local Western Apache life in the area around Phoenix includes an authentic house, made of split yucca leaves, thatched with cottonwood and willow branches.
The Desert Botanical Garden is located in Papago Park, 13 kilometres east of Phoenix. It is open until late, so you can watch the desert come to life with night-blooming flowers and the sounds of nocturnal animals. Guided tours are available, or you can follow the clearly marked trails yourself. Special events take place throughout the year. Check the website for a schedule of these.