Check out our post on the Electric Desert Show at Desert Botanical Gardens at Night (2018)
I had heard through the grapevine and doing multiple Google Searches that the Desert Botanical Garden offers free admission on the second Tuesday of every month, and indeed, that is true! So off we headed in our money saving fashion to check it out.
The Desert Botanical Garden is very close to the Phoenix Zoo, so I felt at least somewhat familiar with the area. It was a very scenic drive once we got off of the highway, with windy roads and lots of cacti.
I Highly recommend bringing a stroller that can navigate on gravel well. There are some trails that are paved/brick, but there is quite a bit that is gravel. And there are some hills as well. You will also want to bring water for you and the kids, some sunscreen and some hats as well. There are some areas that are shady, but there is a great deal of direct sunlight. There are two different restaurants on the grounds as well as a few vending machines for water. There is the Desert Botanical Cafe (menu) and Gertrude’s.The Cafe had a lot of outdoor seating with tables with umbrella’s (and seems more kid friendly!).
There is a lot of great scenery just walking to the ticket booth (which, if you go on a Tuesday you just have to go to the ticket booth so they can “check” you in and ask for your zip code. And get a map!)
A nice shaded bridge before you enter the Garden. Lots of great plant life to see. There were also a few guides answering questions.
A fake saguro cactus with measurement (though, I don’t believe it was correct as it said Munchie was 6m!).
Giggles and Munchie were planning our trip with the map. There is SO much seating throughout the Garden which is great for little ones.
We also stopped in the bathroom before we headed to our first trail. The bathrooms were on the left after you past the entrance.
There was even a changing table in the women’s bathroom!
There was a very interesting metal Saguro catcus that we took a picture in front of. Most of the plants and statues in the garden have explanations on what they are.
There was also a butterfly area where there were a lot of different butterflies going to the plants. The clerk at the registration desk told me that there were butterflies and I thought that this was what she had been talking about, but there is an actual “greenhouse” filled with them that you can check out (keep reading!).
At first I thought this “Garden Entrance” was just for tours, as there is a big “waiting area” for tours before you enter. But, you can enter on your own without a tour guide or wait for a guide. I wouldn’t recommend it for children as they proceed at a slower pace and explain a lot of the plants and statues in detail.
And a lot of shaded areas to take a break and sit (or climb!).
My kids thought this rock statue was very cool.
We took pictures at the top of this hill (did I mention it is hilly? Wear some sneakers!). You can see the umbrellas in the background for the cafe outdoor eating area.
The butterfly pavilion (it looked more like a greenhouse to me) was very cool. The butterflies are from butterfly farms and the receive them, I believe, monthly. They ask that you leave a stroller outside, but occasionally they will let someone with multiple children (me) go in with it. You may have to wait to go inside as there are two doors to prevent the butterflies from escaping. There is a garden inside that you can watch the butterflies flutter from plant to plant. There are lots of volunteers inside answering questions and gently reminding people not to touch the butterflies.
I thought the Desert Botanical Garden was a fantastic place for the kids and I to go. Plenty of fresh air, exercise, sunshine and opportunities to learn. I especially liked that it was free on Tuesday for us, and it wasn’t all that busy even though it was fall break. There were lots of amateur photographers taking photos and plenty of other moms and kids around. We had a great time and I really believe that there are so many opportunities for learning for even the small kids. They also have classes for kids too! Check it out here!
Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Parkway Phoenix, AZ 85008