Things to Do at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is one of the highlights of any trip to Scottsdale and the Arizona desert.

Life is beautiful in this part of the Sonoran Desert, but it sure does get hot here. When local Phoenicians and visitors to the Valley of the Sun want to cool down a bit while seeing something special, they head to the Desert Botanical Garden. At around 140 acres, DBG provides a variety of groomed trails that offer a perfect opportunity to safely explore native flora of the sometimes stark yet always interesting Arizona desert landscape.

Top Things to Do at the Desert Botanical Garden in Summer 2014Of course, there’s more to do at the Desert Botanical Garden than simply wander about looking at cactus and watching out for roadrunners. DBG offers guided tours that are both fascinating and educational. If you prefer to explore the gardens on your own, rent an audio tour device and move along the trails at a pace that’s comfortable. Private tours led by friendly and knowledgeable garden guides are also available. During summertime months, flashlight tours are a cool way to explore the site.

When most people think of the desert, they envision a flat, dry landscape that’s more or less devoid of life. They couldn’t be more wrong. The Sonoran Desert is a vast natural ecosystem teeming with life. Natural adaptations to harsh sunny days and cold desert nights have made the plants and animals that live around here quite remarkable.

Flora and Fauna

The most obvious living things in the Sonoran Desert are cactus. Majestic saguaro can live for 150 years and grow to an impressive 60 feet tall. Saguaro are the kings of water conservation, soaking up rain when they can and consuming it slowly. Other plants that thrive in the Salt River Valley include cholla, beavertail, creosote bush, night blooming cereus and jojoba. At Desert Botanical Garden, you will marvel at hundreds of native plants and maybe a few animals, too.

Majestic saguaro from Rawhide Park Phoenix at night

You can see this majestic Saguaro cactus at Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse Park near Phoenix

Most desert wildlife spends the hottest part of the day burrowed underground, hiding under rocks, sleeping in caves or otherwise seeking shelter from the blazing Sonoran sun. It’s a survival skill that enables creatures like the kangaroo rat, chuckwalla and desert iguana to live happily in what appears to be an uninhabitable place. Arrive early or stay ’til dusk, and you may be fortunate to catch a glimpse of these and other shy desert critters on garden grounds.

DBG Events and Activities

* Chihuly in the Garden
* Birds in the Garden
* Talks in the Garden

Docent talks and planned activities are free for DBG members. They’re all well worth your time, but in the interest of brevity, we’re going to describe only one. It’s an exhibit by world renowned sculptor Dale Chihuly and something you don’t want to miss. Chuhily’s art glass sculptures and installations have been seen and enjoyed in galleries from New York to Honolulu and in countries as diverse as Dubai, China and The Netherlands. Visit Chihuly in the Garden after dark and enjoy the exhibition in all its illuminated glory. An evening in the garden is a wonderful way to cool down. In fact, DBG after dark is one of the coolest places to escape the heat and enjoy the starry Sonoran sky.

Location and Directions

The Desert Botanical Garden is located at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway in Phoenix, Arizona. From Scottsdale, head north on N SCOTTSDALE ROAD and take the first left onto E INDIAN SCHOOL ROAD. Proceed about a mile, then turn left onto N GALVIN PARKWAY. Get Directions here

Before You Visit

Rule #1: Bring water. Rule #2: Bring water. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping hydrated in the Arizona desert. When you sweat and it evaporates quickly, you may not even notice that your body is running low on water. Never head into the desert without an adequate supply of water. Bring a sun hat and sunscreen, too.

The DBG is a quick twenty five minute drive from Scottsdale. Purchase admission tickets before you visit, or inquire at the front desk when you’re here. We’d be delighted to tell you everything we know about the one-of-a-kind Desert Botanical Garden. We can book your reservation, too.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. We are also on Twitter and Facebook.
© 2014 Out and About in Scottsdale AZ – All Rights Reserved Thunderbird Suites

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