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Electric Desert at Desert Botanical Gardens

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is amazing for families to check out during the day. However, during the fall and winter, Desert Botanical Gardens is making it Electric! We have gone a few times in the past during the day (and saw the butterfly exhibit as well!), but when we had the opportunity to check out “Electric Desert”, we jumped at the opportunity.

Now that my kids are a bit older and we can extend their evening routines a little bit longer, our evening opportunities are a bit more open. Electric Desert at Desert Botanical Gardens opened in October and will run through May, a little bit longer than their usual Christmas and Holiday programs in the past. Las Noches de Luminarias will be running concurrently with Electrical Desert December 1-23rd, and 26th-31st.

At the Desert Botanical Garden,trails are mostly unpaved. However, they are mostly wheelchair, scooter and stroller friendly and are pretty wide.

Lights at the Electric Desert do change and music plays along with the lights.  Those who have sensitivities to lights (epilepsy and other light sensitivities) may find Electric Desert to not be appropriate. The music is mostly calming and soothing, and the lights glow in a slow change and do not affect the plants usual nocturnal processes.


lit up trees

Passes to Electric Desert are available for Adults (ages 17+ 24.95-29.95) Youth (12.95-15.95) and three and under are free. Opening hours are Sunday through Wednesday 6pm-10pm and Thursday-Saturday 6pm-11pm. Guests can purchase tickets online or at the ticket booth. When purchasing tickets, make sure you ask for a map and guidebook. There is also a “bingo sheet” for kids to find different species of plants, but we didn’t get one! Next time!

There are many different trails to take, so the map is super helpful so you know where you are going. But, in case you don’t know where you are going, there are plenty of staff members to assist you as well. We also took a few trails never taken before (gates were open) and we saw a few ramadas used for private events before we were escorted out. Oopsies. The staff was super nice. Hint, don’t follow the 8 year old even with the map. I didn’t get to snap a picture, but where weddings are held is SUPER nice!

Signs are posted throughout the gardens on what different types of plants and vegetation are growing. It is amazing to see all the different type of cacti and plants, and being up close to the cacti to see how enormous they truly are. If you have family visiting during the holiday season, the Electric Desert is a must see!

Views of where to go

Signs pointed which way to go, in case you didn’t have a map!

Staff members were posted at each path intersection for traffic monitoring and answering. There was also beer and wine for sale as you walked around the trail, a cafe by the light show on the butte, and a restaurant by the entrance for food (Gertrude’s).


The best show was definitely on the Butte, at the top of the small hill, by the Patio cafe. There was a small area of seating, restrooms and music playing as well. I am a bit sensitive to light and sound these days, but it was still super cool to see the lights. The way the lights moved it made it look like Cacti were dancing on the mountain. My video doesn’t really do it justice, but it was super neat to see.

I definitely recommend this for a family who has kids who might be too old for regular light shows, like to hike or walk, like plant life or botany. This is a great date night event too! Electric desert is more quiet than some of the other light shows and is geared more towards an older crowd, but don’t let that scare you from bringing kids. If you do bring kids, know that there is a lot of walking on trails. Wagons aren’t really appropriate for this event, but strollers and baby wearing are just fine. Running isn’t really a good thing here either as there are lots of cacti, and no fences. Our kids had an amazing time at the event and we had fun too!

The Basics

Electric Desert at Desert Botanical Gardens 

October-May (with  Las Noches de Luminarias will still be  concurrently running with Electrical Desert December 1-23rd, and 26th-31st)

(ages 17+ 24.95-29.95) Youth (12.95-15.95)

Sunday through Wednesday 6pm-10pm and Thursday-Saturday 6pm-11pm


We received complimentary admission. All opinions are 100% our own. 




1 Comment

  1. Desert Botanical Garden - Surprise AZ Mom on December 12, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    […] Check out our post on the Electric Desert Show at Desert Botanical Gardens at Night (2018) […]

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