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Desert Botanical Garden

With desert flora and fauna, including larger-than-life cacti, this garden attracts those who want to experience the desert without venturing far from the city.

The Desert Botanical Garden demonstrates that even the driest deserts are not devoid of life. The biodiversity includes cacti, succulents, trees, flowers and even butterflies and local critters. It is an eye-opening experience for those who are new to the flora and fauna of the Southwest and educates those wanting to learn  more about cacti. 

Gertrude Webster and a group of like-minded local citizens established the garden in 1939. They wanted a designated place to showcase the diverse ecology of the local Sonoran Desert. It opened as a non-profit museum dedicated to research, education and conservation. 

With over 50,000 desert plants and animals, such as chipmunks, rabbits and birds, there is plenty of natural beauty on display. The various exhibits show how the plants have adapted to life in a seemingly desolate landscape. Choose a walk from five scenic trails or take a tour to find how the beavertail, organ pipe and fishhook plants got their names. 

Don’t miss the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop, which illustrates how desert flora can be used for food, medicine and shelter. Step inside a traditional Western Apache house, which is a domed structure of split yucca leaves thatched with cottonwood and willow branches. Stare up in awe at a huge cactus, smell the chocolate flower or try to capture a hummingbird on camera. The seasonal butterfly exhibit is fun for children.

The Desert Botanical Garden is located in Papago Park, eight miles (13 kilometers) east of downtown Phoenix. It is open daily until late, so you can stay to watch the desert come to life with night-blooming flowers and the sounds of nocturnal animals after watching the famous Arizona sunset. Plan a two- to three-hour visit and check out which events are on to get the most out of the admission fee. The night-light spectacle, Las Noches de las Luminarias, sells out quickly. During this winter holiday event, sit down for a romantic dinner or listen to live music in the softly lit garden.


Guide to Exploring around Desert Botanical Garden


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Lodging Near Desert Botanical Garden

See all 1,345 Hotels near Desert Botanical Garden
3 Palms $45
3 Palms

3 Palms

7707 E McDowell Rd, Scottsdale
     
    4.0
    of 5, from 9,058 reviews
    3.5 out of 5.0

    The 3 Palms is adjacent to the 60-acre El Dorado Park, 2 miles from Old Town Scottsdale, and 4 miles from Arizona State University.

    Ramada by Wyndham Tempe Near ASU $29
    Ramada by Wyndham Tempe Near ASU

    Ramada by Wyndham Tempe Near ASU

    1635 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe
       
      3.2
      of 5, from 1,443 reviews
      2.5 out of 5.0

      Situated near the airport, this hotel is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from Tempe Town Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Sun Devil Stadium and Phoenix Zoo. Arizona State University and Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Hospitality Suite $53
      Hospitality Suite

      Hospitality Suite

      409 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale
         
        3.7
        of 5, from 2,614 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Conveniently located between Scottsdale and Tempe, this hotel is less than 3 miles from downtown Scottsdale, the Desert Botanical Garden, and the Phoenix Zoo.

        Magnuson Hotel Papago Inn
        Magnuson Hotel Papago Inn

        Magnuson Hotel Papago Inn

        7017 E Mcdowell Rd, Scottsdale
           
          4.1
          of 5, from 2,030 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in Scottsdale, this resort is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) from Desert Botanical Garden and 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from Phoenix Zoo. Hole in the Rock and Papago Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).

          Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix-Tempe $56
          Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix-Tempe

          Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix-Tempe

          1429 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe
             
            4.2
            of 5, from 1,335 reviews
            2.5 out of 5.0

            Situated near the airport, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Tempe Town Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Sun Devil Stadium and Arizona State University. Phoenix Zoo and Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            3BR with Private Pool by WanderJaunt
            3BR with Private Pool by WanderJaunt

            3BR with Private Pool by WanderJaunt

            6437 E Parkview Drive, Scottsdale
               
              4.0
              of 5, from 1 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in Scottsdale, this vacation home is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) from Desert Botanical Garden and 1.9 mi (3 km) from Phoenix Zoo. Hole in the Rock and Papago Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).

              6420 E Parkview Drive Home 3 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms Home
              6420 E Parkview Drive Home 3 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms Home

              6420 E Parkview Drive Home 3 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms Home

              6420 E. Parkview Drive, Scottsdale
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in Scottsdale, this vacation home is close to Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, and Hole in the Rock. Also nearby are Papago Park and Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West.

                3BR with Spacious Backyard by WanderJaunt
                3BR with Spacious Backyard by WanderJaunt

                3BR with Spacious Backyard by WanderJaunt

                6402 E Cypress St, Scottsdale
                   
                  5.0
                  of 5, from 1 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Scottsdale, this vacation home is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from Desert Botanical Garden and 1.9 mi (3 km) from Phoenix Zoo. Hole in the Rock and Papago Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).