The dry heat and the desert climate of Arizona does not automatically make a person think of lush vegetation and a variety of plant life. Yet, in this desert environment, majestic botanical gardens not only exist, but they flourish. Instilling a sense of pride in the community, and the realization of what may be possible, these lush botanical gardens offer a change of scenery in the deserts of Arizona.
As far as places to visit in Arizona go, the Desert Botanical Gardens is the cream of the wildlife crop. Aside from the unbelievable beauty of the space, as you walk along the trails investigating an array of cactus and other flora, there are many events that take place right there.
An ongoing event called Music in the Garden is a concert series featuring live performances of a wide variety of music. There is fine dining available at Gertrude’s restaurant, or stop in at the butterfly exhibit that is showcased in the spring. One of the best conservation businesses in the state, the Desert Botanical Garden boasts an impressive list of classes that can be taken right on the grounds.
From early childhood to teens, and the entire family, there is something for everyone. The spring and summer months bring camps that are available for kids to explore the desert in a safe manner. Although there are many things to do, the focus is on the wildlife and plants. Conservation is not just a word at the Desert Botanical Gardens – it is the way the entire operation is run. Classes and programs all feature ways to conserve the desert habitats, and Arizona is better for it. The Desert Botanical Garden is a must see.
We Recommend: Desert Botanical Garden
If you’re in southern Arizona, one of the premier places to visit for plant life is the Tucson Botanical Gardens. This oasis in the desert boasts a focus on the stewardship of the land and the educational aspects of conservation. With a focus on educating the inhabitants in the area, from its inception they desired to be the best small garden in the USA.
Educationally, the Tucson Botanical Gardens provides a place for people of all ages and abilities to learn about gardening and plant life in a beautiful setting. With a full class schedule including yoga, aromatherapy, and an edible plant tour, there are many activities to occupy visitors of all ages. Stop by the Cafe Botanica for breakfast or lunch, and enjoy the menu of local dishes.
One of the better destinations in Arizona to visit a natural habitat is the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert. This preserve consists of 1.9 miles of looped trails around 5 acres of a stocked lake, full of a number of native fish species. With extensive trails and a number of different habitats available to walk through and see, the bird watching at the Riparian Reserve is phenomenal, with 202 different species represented in the area. There is also an owl habitat, and many other types of wildlife inhabit the area, such as bunnies, turtles and mice.
With many designated children’s areas, and benches all along the trails, this is a family friendly park that can cater to any wildlife enthusiast and still be enjoyable for the family. The sheer number of different plants in the area can make for some interesting discoveries as you wander the paths and trails that crisscross the area.
In Scottsdale, there is a wonderful place called Butterfly Wonderland where guests can get up close and personal with all different kinds of plant and animal life. Inside the building there is a large atrium that contains the largest butterfly pavilion in America. This space allows people of all ages to to get as close as possible with a countless number of butterfly species from all over the world. Aside from this experience, the Butterfly Wonderland offers some incredible opportunities to anyone who enjoys nature – including a new exhibit that will give visitors the opportunity to come face to face with Rainforest Reptiles.
What sets the places in this list apart from many others is the sheer number of different activities offered at these nature preserves, and the Butterfly Wonderland is no different. Offering yoga for children in the rainforest, as well as shark and stingray feedings at some of their affiliated locations, there are a number of great activities that the whole family can enjoy. From an interactive 3-D movie to lunch in the cafe, Butterfly Wonderland is a great place for a day trip.