Tucson Botanical Gardens
Escape the city buzz with a stroll in a botanical oasis of native plant species as well as shrubs commonly planted in Tucson in the first half of the 20th century. Tucson Botanical Gardens is a 5.5-acre (2.2-hectare) horticultural haven with 17 specialty gardens.
Learn about native desert flora in the Cactus and Succulent Gardens that also feature plants from Mexico and South America. Enjoy quiet, reflective moments in the colorful Iris Garden. Stop by the Historical Gardens to see olive, myrtle and dwarf citrus, shrubs that were frequently planted in Tucson between the 1930s and the 1950s. Go to the Sensory Patios where there are vegetable gardens, fountains and a Zen Garden. Take the kids to the Children’s Discovery Garden where they can learn about the life cycle of a plant.
Included with the price of admission are themed guided tours that are held at various times of the year. They cover such topics as the history of the gardens and garden practices that will attract birds to your backyard. For an up-to-date list of guided tours, visit the Tucson Botanical Gardens’ website.
If you are in the gardens between October and April immerse yourself in the tropical environment of the annual Butterfly Magic exhibit inside the greenhouse. Observe hundreds of butterflies from 11 countries flying freely among the exotic blooms in the enclosure. Some may even land on you. Pick up a magnifying glass at the entrance to help you see the insects more closely when they rest on plants. The exhibition charges an extra fee.
Located 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the downtown area, the gardens are served by several local buses. Those who drive can use the free on-site car parking.
Tucson Botanical Gardens are open daily except Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.