Desert Botanical Gardens

The Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona

Papago Park near Phoenix Airport is home to one of Arizona's greatest attractions: the Desert Botanical Garden. Established in 1939 as a non-profit organization, the Garden relies on ticket sales, donations, gift shop profits and plant and flower sales revenue as its sole sources of funding.

Though the Desert Botanical Garden is open year-round (with non-member hours fluctuating from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M. and 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. depending on the time of year), spring is an especially stunning time to visit and experience all its vibrant flowers and cacti at their peak bloom. Winter also boasts lovely sights with dormant plants creating crisp air quality in Papago Park where this garden resides. General admission tickets and membership options are available.

Covering 55 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape, this landmark botanical garden boasts winding trails, hidden gardens, the Cohn Family Butterfly Pavilion, on-site dining options (such as seasonally inspired foods at Gertrude’s Restaurant, as well as quick bites from their café), special events, and historic buildings on its National Register of Historic Places property. The Garden serves as an outdoor museum, featuring desert plants from all around the world. You'll find everything from giant cacti to colorful desert wildflowers here; unique art displays; gourmet farm-to-table restaurant service; as well as special events held year-round. This destination truly has something for everyone and is an excellent option for a day trip for Phoenix residents or travelers.

Butterfly Pavilion

The Cohn Family Butterfly Pavilion of Desert Botanical Garden (a popular attraction within the Desert Botanical Garden spanning 3,200 square feet) is an amazing place to appreciate the vibrant colors of butterflies in all their splendor. However, be mindful that it can get quite busy, so plan to spend some time there. Taking photographs here can be wonderful, but keep in mind that these delicate creatures should not be touched or moved too rapidly; volunteer gardeners control access so everyone stays safe while simultaneously protecting the butterflies' comfort!

An encounter with a butterfly never ceases to bring smiles; their delicate wings and vibrant hues fill us with wonder, leaving us speechless in their beauty. The Cohn Family Butterfly Pavilion of Desert Botanical Garden is an absolute must-see attraction for anyone interested in nature and passionate about Sonoran Desert life!

Desert Garden Trails

The Desert Botanical Garden boasts over 50,000 plants, giving visitors an unrivaled opportunity to experience the tranquil vibrancy of Sonoran Desert. Meander through five themed trails including the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail, Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail, Center For Desert Living Trail, Desert Discovery Loop Trail, and Desert Wildflower Loop Trail and discover everything from towering cacti to succulents and vibrant wildflowers. If you want to see as many gardens in as little time as possible, hiking one of Phoenix Gardens' five different trail loops (each less than a mile long) might be ideal.

Dining Options

On-site dining options include Gertrude's Restaurant and Patio Cafe, both offering fresh food with ingredients sourced from nearby growers in Phoenix and its surroundings. Patio Cafe provides quick grab-and-go with sandwiches, salads and desserts; whilst Gertrude's is operated by Hause Restaurant Group with full access to highly rated beer, wine and spirits paired with seasonal food specialties.

Water bottles should be brought, as the Garden promotes sustainable practices. There are two water hydration stations on site if visitors forget.


The Desert Botanical Garden hosts a plethora of special events and holiday celebrations throughout the year like Desert Landscape School Classes, Majestic Mariposas, Music in the Garden, Dog Days At The Garden, Loteria Nights, Strange Garden, Dia De Muertos, Las Noches De Las Luminarias, and La Posada to make the most of your visit here in Phoenix. Enjoy food, drinks, special décor, music, entertainment, educational opportunities, and more depending on the event. Events are subject to change annually.

Learning Opportunities

The Desert Botanical Garden offers numerous ways for visitors to learn about desert plants, from guided tours and family activities, seasonal exhibits and concerts, the Schilling Library (which has over 9,000 books and 500 journal titles), and conservation initiatives. Open Monday through Friday from noon to 4 P.M., the Schilling Library offers books and titles covering topics such as desert gardening and landscaping, rare and endangered plants, plant evolution, and medicinal plant guides. It also offers a special collection of books dated from the 16th to 19th century.

Beyond the Schilling Library, there are also exhibits, tours, concerts, and family activities scheduled throughout the year for even further education. You can even register for one of the Garden's horticulture or desert gardening workshops for an immersive learning experience, where experts will teach the fundamentals behind specific plants or topics. Additional tours and experiences can be added to your schedule to make for a full day of discovery!

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