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Tours & Activities

Experience the beauty of the desert.

Experience and embrace the magnificent beauty of the desert through a variety of tours and activities at the Desert Botanical Garden that will make your visit unforgettable. Included with membership or admission. Designed to accommodate individuals of any age and groups of any size. Private tours are available for an additional fee. 

Seasonal Garden Activities

Garden Flashlight Tours
Thursdays & Saturdays | May 27 – September 2, 2017 | 7 - 9:30 p.m.
Included with membership or paid Garden admission.
See, hear and feel the desert at night in a self-paced stroll along the Garden's trails, perfect for all ages. Bring a flashlight or purchase one in the Garden Shop.

Ask a Gardener
Center for Desert Living Trail
Saturdays & Sundays | February - April & October - November | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Knowledgeable volunteers answer gardening questions. 

Daily and Weekly Activities

Docent Activities

Garden Tours
Daily | October 1 – May 14
Check the Cohn Tour Gathering Area for times.
Explore the Garden with an expert who will help you understand the extraordinary plants of the Sonoran Desert. Tours feature saguaros and tiny mammilarias, bizarre boojums and elegant palo verdes. How does such abundant life survive and thrive in the harsh desert? Take a tour and find out. Bring water, camera, hat, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes.

Garden Discovery Stations
Daily | October 1 – May 14
Informational stops where expert docents answer your questions about cacti, mesquite, agave, birds and many other topics. 

Birds in the Garden
Mondays | October – April,  8 a.m. | May – September, 7 a.m.
Join expert birders along the Garden trails. Everyone is welcome, including first-time birders. Bring binoculars if available.

Activities for Children

Daily / Year-round
Keep children interested and engaged with activity sheets as you stroll through the Garden. Stop by the Admissions or the kiosk outside the SRP Visitor Center for information about how you and your family can learn about desert ecology together. 

Field Trips & Self Guided Tours

Learn more about our field trip programs and view program overviews, fees and other information on our Field Trips & Self Guided Tours page.

Adult Group Tours and Activities

Register for an Adult Group Tour

The Garden offers the following for groups:

  • Discounts on general admission for groups of 10 or more (self-guided tours)
  • Customized guided tours and group activities for groups of 10 or more
  • Group meals and beverages to enhance your visit
  • Complimentary admission for bus drivers and tour group operator staff

To Book a Private Group Tour or Activity:

  • Contact Ali Reese at 480 481.8104 or for a private group tour. Advanced registration will help us give you the best experience possible, register now!
  • A minimum of two week advance booking is recommended for all guided group tours. Self guided group visits can be arranged with as little as 24 hour notice, although advanced notice preferred.
  • A minimum of 5 business days advanced booking is recommended for group breakfast and boxed lunch orders; larger groups or special requests may require more notice. 
  • Special events such as Las Noches de las Luminarias and our Music in the Garden concert series have limited numbers of tickets available. Purchase your group discounted tickets early to avoid sell-outs.  

And don't forget to check out the Garden's tips for visiting before you arrive.

Guided Tours & Activities

Desert Discovery Tour / 1 Hour Tour / Minimum of 10 guests
Take the Garden’s main trail and learn the unique characteristics of desert plants from around the world. The loop trail features outstanding displays and exhibits including the Sybil B. Harrington Cactus and Succulent Galleries and the Berlin Agave Yucca Forest. This tour focuses on desert plant biology where you can explore the great diversity of form, texture and color found in this wondrous array of cacti and succulents from around the world. You will also learn how desert plants are uniquely adapted to survive and thrive in a harsh desert environment.

Desert Discovery Tour with ethnobotany / 1 Hour Tour / Minimum of 10 guests
Taking the same trail as the above Desert Discovery Tour, this tour focuses on people’s interactions with desert plants. Learn the amazing ways people use desert plants for food, tools and shelter. This is our most popular tour and features such plants as saguaros, agave, mesquite, prickly pear, and jojoba as you traverse through the highlights of our collection.

Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Tour / 1.5 Hours Tour / Minimum of 10 guests
Step off of our main trail onto the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail, which is one of the largest exhibits of its kind dedicated to helping people understand the complex cultural relationships between people and plants in our region. The trail winds through five habitats that have provided people with useful plants for food, fiber, medicine and cultural purposes for 2,000 years: Desert, Desert Oasis, Mesquite Bosque, Semi-desert Grassland and Chaparral. The story of these relationships is brought to life through cultural examples of the Akimel O’odham and Western Apache Roundhouse which you can explore. Also try hands-on activities such as pounding mesquite beans to make flour. Please note this trail is on a dirt path and requires a large amount of walking.

Birds of the Southwest Tour / 1 Hour Tour / Minimum of 10 guests
The Desert Botanical Garden is home to many birds including the Western Screech Owl, Gila Woodpecker and Anna’s Hummingbird. As your group strolls through the Garden, the rich notes of the native Curved-billed thrasher echoes along the path while an ever-curious and personable Cactus Wren tags along. This tour focuses on how birds interact with desert plants and is recommended in the early hours of the day.

Spring Wildflower Tour / 1 Hour Tour / Minimum of 10 guests / Available March – May
There is truly nothing like the Sonoran Desert in the springtime. As the desert explodes with color, stop and view the Mexican poppies, Penstemon, Desert Lupine and many other wildflowers on the Desert Botanical Garden’s exquisite Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail. Learn about pollination and which flowers attract which pollinators. The transformation of the desert into these incredible blooms is a seasonal sight not to be missed!

Afternoon Tea in the Garden / 1 Hour Tour & 1 Hour Activity / Minimum of 15 guests
Spend a delightful afternoon in the Garden sipping tea and savoring Fabulous Foods’ petite sandwiches and desserts. After tea, stroll the paths with a personal guide while learning about the treasures of the Sonoran Desert. A relaxing and educational experience awaits you here at the Desert Botanical Garden!

Taste of the Southwest Cooking Demo, Lunch & Tour / 2 Hour Activity & 1 Hour Tour / Minimum of 15 guests
Nurture your team with a once in a lifetime Garden dining experience. The stage is set as you enter the Garden with a private guided tour emphasizing ethnobotany and how native plants are used for food, tools and shelter. You will be led to a private dining location where you will learn how the food is prepared and then savor every bite of a locally sourced garden fresh meal. We can also offer this as a dinner or cooking class variation (price and minimum will differ).

Native Cultures and Plants of the Southwest / 4 Hour Tour & Lunch / Minimum of 10 guests
The Heard Museum, founded in 1929, and the Desert Botanical Garden, founded in 1939, have come together to present a wonderfully insightful Southwest experience acquainting your group with the diversity of the Sonoran Desert and the resourcefulness of the Native people.

This combination tour includes admission to both the Desert Botanical Garden and Heard Museum, as well as an included lunch. Your group has the option to select to have guided tours at either or both museums. Please note that the lunch must be held at the Desert Botanical Garden, and that both museums must be visited in the same day in order to receive the discounted rate.  

Music in the Garden Concert Series / Available October – June
Spend a relaxing Friday evening (Fall & Spring Series) or Sunday afternoon (Winter Series) with a group of friends strolling through the Garden and joining us on our scenic Ullman Terrace to listen to the Valley’s premier musicians. Food and beverages are available during the concerts at the Patio Café for an additional fee.

Blaze Your Own Trail

Self-Guided Group Tour
Self-guided visits are perfect for groups needing flexibility due to time constraints. The Desert Botanical Garden has a multitude of themed trails to choice from to suit your group’s needs.

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