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Explore / nature / desert

Entertainment / gardens

Desert Botanical Garden

Papago Park

2 Cool Lizards travel guide

Desert Botanical Garden, in Phoenix Arizona, offers 140 acres of beautiful desert plants from the Sonoran Desert. Learn about nature and people of the Sonoran Desert. Special events such as Chihuli in the garden, provide entertainment and an educational experience.

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Desert Botanical Garden
I have been to this garden numerous times, and always thoroughly enjoy it. The gardens themselves are beautiful, providing an education on the nature and people of the Sonoran Desert. I was also fortunate to see the Chihuli In The Garden exhibit (photo below).

Located in Papago Park, The Desert Botanical Garden covers 140 acres and provides one of the world's best opportunities for viewing a diverse group of desert plants.

Papago park was founded in 19371, and continues to grow. Its mission is to provide education about and conservation of desert plants. Over 300,000 visitors per year come to see the garden, which includes over 100 rare, threatened and endangered plant species1.

Trails are easy, well maintained and mostly flat. A restaurant is located on the site. Special tours are available, such as the "Flashlight Tour" which features critters of the night. The Plants And Animals Of The Sonoran Desert Tour covers the medicinal and utilitarian uses of some of the plants of the Sonoran desert. Click the link listed below under "Resources" for more information on fees, tours, hours and activities.

Though located in the heart of the city, near Sky Harbor airport, the park remains a pristine escape to unspoiled desert. Stroll through the grounds, then take in the current exhibit. Top off your day with a picnic lunch.

For a list of exhibits, go to: Desert Botanical Garden


1. Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden
Special Exhibits & Events

"Dog's Day In The Garden" (November 16, 2014), "Spicy Decadence" (Chiles & Chocolate) and "Plants & People Of The Sonoral Desert" (ecuational exhibit on the relationship between nature and people of the Sonoran Desert), and "Chihuli In The Desert" are just a few of the special exhibits that have provided entertainment or education in the park. Some events and exhibits are time limited, and some are ongoing. Visit the link below for more information. Left: Chihuli In The Garden (December 2013).

NOTE: The Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail is 1/3 mile and easy. It winds through several habitats and provides information on 2000 years of life in the Sonoran Desert. Learn about plants and the part they played in medicine and food.

Go to: Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Botanical Garden
view from trail

Fabulous Reviews Of Nearby Places:
Phoenix Zoo
Hassayampa River Preserve
Sahuaro Ranch Park
Saguaro National Park
Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (and garden)
Tohono Chul Park


Located near Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix.

1201 N. Galvin Parkway
Phoenix Arizona, 85008 information for your visit.

accessible travel

Agua Caliente park
Main trails are wheelchair accessible. Some, smaller, side trails are narrow and not as easily accessible. Benches provide rest areas. Scooters and wheelchairs are available for rent. Service dogs are allowed in the park.

For more information on accessibility of the garden's trails, go to: exhibits.

Visit accessible travel to read our article on accessible travel in Arizona.

travel with children

Agua Caliente park
Children's books and toys are available in The Garden Shop on the premises. Several camps and programs provide fun and educational experiences for children. Strollers and umbrellas are available for rent. Field trips and self guided tours are also available. Older children might like to volunteer at the garden.

For a list of attractions especially oriented to children, go to: Kids Camps

Visit travel with children to read our article on traveling with children.

travel with pets

Service dogs are allowed in the park; pets are not allowed. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED IN YOUR VEHICLE. Even in winter, temperatures can become dangerously high in the desert. There have been special events which allowed dogs, such as Dog's Day In The Garden (November 2014). To check for such events, go to:

Visit travel with pets to read our article on traveling with pets.

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