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Good For Kids
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Morning was a good time of day to go as it was cooler and there were fewer people. This place can get very crowded.
Desert Botanical Garden
Closest available address
1201 N. Galvin Parkway Phoenix, Arizona 85008
The garden is open 8- 8 all week. Members can get it at 7 on Wed. & Sun.
Best time to visit
Located in Papago Park in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden is 140 acres and contains over 50,000 plant displays. Established in 1939, this popular garden specializes in a variety of cacti from numerous desert environments. There also are rotating and permanent art exhibits. Guided tours and educational classes are offered. Additional attractions include a restaurant, a seasonal butterfly exhibit and concerts.
The garden was started by Phoenix residents to help conserve desert plants and environments. In addition to displaying plants for public enjoyment and education, the garden’s mission includes scientific research on desert botany. The garden is arranged around several trails that connect to the central loop brick Desert Discovery Trail, which showcases desert plants from different countries. The longest trail here is 1/3 of a mile, and all trails were easy to walk.
This may sound self-evident but if you enjoy looking at and learning about plants, you will want to visit and if you don’t, it’s not going to merit the $18 entrance fee. There are some impressive art exhibits, but plants, especially cacti, are the main attraction. Visiting options include a free audio tour, docent tours or you can wander on your own. Having done all three, the audio tour was informative and worthwhile. It focuses on a diverse group of plants on the main loop trail. The docent tour covered some of the same ground but the docent provided more in-depth information on fewer plants. If time is limited, go with the audio tour on the main trail and then head out on your own. Since the trails are short and there were plenty of signs, it’s easy to see this place in an informed way and at your own pace. Visiting in early March was enjoyable because the desert plants were just starting to bloom and the temperature was still comfortable. Three hours went by surprisingly quickly. For those with a green thumb or nature lovers, time spent here is time well spent.
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