Here is your guide to the 15 best free things to do in the Phoenix, Arizona area when visiting. …
Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens
“Pandas are endangered, birds of prey are decreasing globally, but cacti are undergoing a worse situation. Almost one third of cactus species are threatened with extrinction.”-Lorenzo Brenna
The Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens are an amazing representation of the vibrant Sonoran Desert. Most people will associate a desert with a barren filled landscape that is dry and lacks much life.
In the Botanical Gardens, you will get to see an awe-inspiring landscape filled with flora, fauna, and a few of the deserts animals. It is worth stopping by to visit the gardens for a few hours and to help support their conservation efforts.
Why Stop In
You can not visit the Sonoran Desert without seeing a famous Saguaro Cactus or how bout the Cholla Cactus (Teddy Bear Cactus) to name a few. The desert is filled with magnificent plants, trees, shrubs, and animals that have evolved over time to live in this extreme habitat.
What you will see once you start to walk among the gardens is diverse plants, colorful flowers, trees, and shrubs. The same plants and trees you will see are also vital to a healthy desert ecosystem. This is why the gardens has a research area dedicated to study and conservation of these different species.
In addition, they offer classes on desert landscaping, photography, science, history of the desert, and cooking. A perfect place for families or even anyone who has a few hours to spare. Keep an eye out for the Gambel’s Quail, Cactus Wren, Black-tailed Jackrabbit, or the Round-tailed Ground Squirrel to name a few.
Desert Botanical Gardens Adress
1201 N. Galvin PKWY, Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(480) 941- 1225
- Hours Open
General daily admission is 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Members have early entry at 6 a.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays. The second Tuesday of the month offers free admission.
General Admission (Daytime) is $24.95.
From June 1st – Aug 31st (After 5 p.m.) is $14.95.
Youth Admission (Daytime) is $12.95. From June 1st – August 31st (After 5 p.m.) is $9.95.
Children under 3, members, and active military personnel are free.
What To Expect
At the Botanical Gardens, you will find a well laid out system. If you are short on time then just walk the Desert Discovery Loop Trail. From this main trail, you will come across a few others.
Some examples are the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail, the Desert Wildflower Loop Trail, or the Plants and People Of The Sonoran Desert Loop Trail. The signage present will help you in identifying what you are looking at.
As you walk, you will come across water fountains and bathrooms, so make use of them. Hungry, then check out Gertrude’s restaurant, located in the gardens.
During certain times of the year, they host night tours as well as a different art exhibit. An example from the past is the Electric Desert A Light And Sound Experience by Klip Collective.
Best Time To Visit
Without a doubt, the best time of the year is the fall and spring seasons. During these seasons, you will see an increase in blooming flowers and birds or butterflies since the weather changes. As for the best time of the day to visit, well that is either sunrise or sunset.
During the summer season, you will want to go early or late due to the temperatures hitting over 100º F. Want to go for free, then aim for the second Tuesday of the month, since admission is free to visitors on these days.
How To Get Here
The gardens are located on the northeast corner of Papago Park. Coming from the airport or off of the 202 freeway, then make sure to take 44th street north. Turn right on E McDowell Road. Next, turn right on North Galvin Pkwy and follow the signs to the parking lot. Parking is free.
Look Out For Events And Exhibits
During December, go check out the La Noches de la Luminarias event.This event is inspired by the Mexican holiday tradition. What will you encounter is carolers, music, drinks, and hand lit Luminaria bags as you enjoy the gardens.
Always check their official website for any coming events, special exhibits or early closures. A few other ones to look out for is the Dueling Pianos, Dog Day In The Garden, Flashlight Tours, and many others.
Accommodations Close By
Phoenix is a big city and within a 10 min drive is the beginning of Scottsdale, which is known for having many luxurious resorts. Don’t mind a short drive and want a luxury experience, then check out Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa.
If a resort setting is not what you are looking for then check out the Marriotts, Element Scottsdale at SkySong. Moderately priced and they are pet friendly as well.
Other Activities To Consider
The gardens will put you right next to a few other places and activities to try. Next door is the Phoenix Zoo, which is a great place to see some of the deserts wildlife in the middle of Phoenix. Try checking out the Zoolights Holiday Display, which occurs during the Winter season. This event helps to raise money for this nonprofit zoo.
Another great thing about the location of the Botanical Gardens is that they are located next to Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona. The park offers trails for hikes, mountain biking, and rocks to climb on. In the park is the famous Hole in the Rock that is considered a perfect spot to view the sunset over the city of Phoenix.
If the weather is pleasant and you want to hike but want a great view, then head to Camelback Mountain. A local favorite for the view over the city. You can either do the Echo Trail on the west side to the Cholla trail on the east side.
A tip for those that do not want to navigate the rocky and steep, Echo side is to hike the Cholla trail instead. This trail is longer and still steep in a few areas, but worth it.
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Have you visited the Phoenix Botanical Gardens and did you enjoy it? Let us know in the comments. Have any other activities or places we should see, let us know in the comments section. From Phoenix? Hi neighbored! Thanks for taking a look at our site and don’t forget to subscribe for future articles and tips.
The information on this website has come from research and by experiencing it ourselves. Opening hours, closures, prices, etc. are always subject to change. We try to keep up to date on any new information, or tips to help make your adventure more enjoyable.