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Green Escapes The Best Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in Phoenix

Green Escapes: The Best Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in Phoenix

Nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix boasts an array of stunning botanical gardens and arboretums. While the desert blooms year-round, springtime unveils a vibrant tapestry of colors and fragrances across these green escapes.

From native desert flora to exotic tropical plants, these botanical havens offer an immersive experience in Arizona’s natural beauty. Let’s uncover the top botanical gardens and arboretums in Phoenix, showcasing the diverse plant life of the region.

1. Japanese Friendship Garden

Address: 1125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003


Contact Details: +1 602-274-8700, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:   Closed
  • Tuesday:  9 AM–4 PM
  • Wednesday: 9 AM–4 PM
  • Thursday: 9 AM–4 PM
  • Friday:      9 AM–4 PM, 5–7:30 PM
  • Saturday:  9 AM–4 PM
  • Sunday:    9 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults – $12 / $14 at gate
  • Seniors – $10 / $12 at gate
  • Students – $9 / $11 at gate
  • Military – $9 / $11 at gate
  • Youth (ages 7-17) – $9 / $11 at gate
  • Children (ages 0-6) – Free

The Japanese Friendship Garden, also known as RoHoEn, is a 3.5-acre Japanese Stroll Garden located near downtown. It’s a collaborative effort between Phoenix and Himeji, Japan, showcasing authentic Japanese landscaping and architecture.

This serene garden boasts carefully selected rocks, stone footbridges, lanterns, and over 50 plant varieties, creating a peaceful environment. Here, visitors can admire flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall, and a Koi pond with hundreds of colorful fish.

The garden hosts monthly Japanese cultural programs, events, and exhibits, making it a hub for cultural exchange and learning. Additionally, it’s a popular venue for corporate events, weddings, and photoshoots, offering a picturesque backdrop.

Through its mission, the Japanese Friendship Garden aims to preserve a beautiful Japanese oasis in Phoenix. It also strives to promote educational programs and artistic events that honor Japan’s rich heritage and strengthen cultural connections.

Pro tip:
You can enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony at the garden’s tea house. It’s not just about the tea; it’s a cultural experience that immerses you in Japanese hospitality.

2. Desert Botanical Garden

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 480-941-1225, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 AM–8 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult (age 18+) – $29.95
  • Youth (age 3-17) – $16.95
  • Child (age 0-2) – Free

The Desert Botanical Garden is a premier destination for arid plant enthusiasts worldwide. Showcasing over 50,000 desert plants across five thematic trails, it offers an educational journey through desert conservation, living, and the Sonoran Desert’s flora.

This 140-acre garden entices tourists with its diverse plant collection and engaging experiences. These include specialized tours, seasonal exhibits, and family-friendly activities.

Dining options like Gertrude’s restaurant and the Patio Café offer a taste of locally-sourced dishes amidst the desert backdrop. Moreover, it also hosts research programs and workshops to protect endangered desert species and habitats.

With its rich history dating back to 1937, the Desert Botanical Garden continues to charm visitors with its vibrant desert landscapes and year-round events. This makes it a must-visit gem in Phoenix’s botanical scene.

Pro tip:
When planning your visit, aim to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the scorching midday heat. Not only will you enjoy cooler temperatures, but you’ll also witness beautiful lighting for photography.

3. Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Address: 37615 E Arboretum Way, Superior, AZ 85173


Contact Details: +1 520-689-2723, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult – $24.95
  • Youth (Ages 13-17) – $24.95
  • Child (Ages 5 – 12) – $10
  • Members & Children (under 5) – Free

Boyce Thompson Arboretum showcases the vibrant beauty of the Arizona Upland Sonoran Desert. With its vast 105 acres of gardens, 4,025 taxa, and 20,000 plant varieties, it stands as Arizona’s largest and oldest botanical garden.

Founded in 1924 by Colonel William Boyce Thompson, it’s a testament to botanical research and conservation. Nestled within 372 acres of desert, it houses nationally accredited collections, highlighting flora from diverse regions worldwide.

Visitors can explore winding trails that weave through hidden gardens and historic structures, all against the backdrop of Picket Post Mountain’s majestic views. Renowned as an Important Birding Area, the arboretum is a haven for wildlife as well.

Just an hour away from Sky Harbor Airport, Boyce Thompson Arboretum offers a unique blend of desert landscapes, lush gardens, and immersive wildlife experiences. It’s a place where you can connect with nature and learn about diverse plant species.

Pro tip:
Check the calendar for special events or workshops happening during your visit. From plant sales to photography classes, there’s always something interesting going on at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

4. Glendale Xeriscape Garden

Media: Kevin James

Address: 5959 W Brown St, Glendale, AZ 85302


Contact Details: +1 623-930-3596

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:   9 AM–5 PM
  • Tuesday:  9 AM–5 PM
  • Wednesday: 9 AM–5 PM
  • Thursday: 9 AM–5 PM
  • Friday:      9 AM–5 PM
  • Saturday: 12–5 PM
  • Sunday:    Closed

The Glendale Xeriscape Garden, nestled at the Glendale Public Library, is a premier demonstration garden in the area. It showcases a myriad of plants since its establishment in 1990.

This garden hosts a vast collection of 400 plant species, including various native Arizonan desert plants. It also serves as a haven for hummingbirds, butterflies, and other wildlife, adding a lively touch to its serene ambiance.

Though smaller in scale compared to the Desert Botanical Garden, the Glendale Xeriscape Garden boasts over 1,000 trees, cacti, and shrubs. This provides visitors with a tranquil environment to explore via its two short dirt trails.

Recognized for its sustainable practices, this award-winning garden exemplifies the richness and versatility of low-water-use plants. It’s a valuable resource for individuals seeking to create eco-friendly and vibrant gardens.

A visit to the Glendale Xeriscape Garden may also treat you to the sight of wandering peacocks and peahens, adding a touch of whimsy and charm to your botanical experience.

Pro tip: Before you leave, visit the gift shop near the entrance of the garden. Here, you’ll find a treasure trove of unique souvenirs, gardening tools, and essentials that can serve as wonderful mementos of your experience.

5. Carefree Desert Gardens

Media: Arizona Environment

Address: 101 Easy St, Carefree, AZ 85377


Contact Details: 480-488-3686

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

Carefree Desert Gardens offers a serene and educational experience for all visitors. Spanning four acres, this garden is perfect for a leisurely self-guided walking tour, complete with a handy plant identification checklist to enhance your exploration.

One of the garden’s highlights is the iconic Carefree Sundial, a towering 35-foot structure that serves as a focal point and a symbol of Carefree’s sunny lifestyle. Standing since 1959, it marks the North Star by night with its impressive dimensions.

Throughout the year, this garden hosts various events like the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, Christmas in Carefree, and live concerts at the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. It also features a play area for children, a splash pad, and designated pet stations.

This oasis is easily accessible and open 365 days a year, free for all to enjoy. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Carefree Desert Gardens promises a rejuvenating visit amidst the desert landscape.

Pro tip:
Upon arrival, you can grab a plant identification checklist for an interactive and educational experience. It helps you learn about the diverse desert flora as you stroll through the garden.

6. The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College

Media: Bonita Ortega

Address: w, 1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202


Contact Details: +1 480-461-7022, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–8 PM

The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College, established in 1997, has 300 varieties of roses across more than 900 bushes. It also features the Veterans Rose Garden, a unique tribute with around 2,000 roses honoring all service branches.

For the best rose-viewing experience, you can plan your visit between April and June, or October to December, avoiding high pruning times. The garden is accessible to the public at all times, offering both self-guided and guided tours.

It’s the largest rose garden in the Desert Southwest. Its certification as an AARS Demonstration and Test Garden underscores its importance in the national rose community.

Apart from its beauty, the Rose Garden serves as a vibrant educational hub. Students of all ages utilize it as a botanical laboratory, enhancing their understanding of horticulture and nature’s wonders.

Pro tip:
Take your time to read the informational plaques and signs throughout the garden to learn about different rose varieties. This way, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and significance of each rose species.

7. Center for Native and Urban Wildlife (CNUW)

Media: Chico at CNUW

Address: 9000 E Chaparral Rd, Scottsdale, AZ, United States, Arizona


Contact Details: +1 480-423-6000

Operating Hours: Monday & Wednesday: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

The Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College boasts certified wildlife habitats recognized by the National Wildlife Federation. It’s an educational and inspiring spot for nature enthusiasts and conservation advocates alike.

CNUW’s diverse gardens include the renowned Mesquite Forest or Bosque. It hosts over 70 trees like mesquite, blue palo verde, little-leaf palo verde, and ironwood, along with 80 other native trees and shrubs across the campus.

In addition to its captivating gardens, CNUW offers visitors a glimpse into outdoor plant propagation. It has a plant propagation yard and showcases desert tortoises in its new vivarium.

The center’s commitment to education and conservation is evident in its free and open-to-the-public policy. They invite everyone to explore and appreciate the native and urban wildlife within its serene surroundings.

CNUW’s integration of natural habitats and educational facilities creates a harmonious environment where visitors can learn, explore, and connect with the local flora and fauna of the Phoenix region.

Pro tip:
You can show your support for the center by leaving a donation or purchasing souvenirs from their gift shop. Your contribution helps fund their conservation efforts and educational programs for the community.

8. Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve

Address: 3711 W Deer Valley Rd, Glendale, AZ 85308


Contact Details: +1 623-582-8007, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Sunday & Monday: Closed, Tuesday-Saturday: 8 AM–2 PM

Entry Fee:

  • General – $14
  • Seniors (62+), Military, AAA, AARP ($1 discount) – $13
  • Children (7-12) – $5
  • Children (6 and younger) – Free
  • Members, ASU students, Indigenous Peoples (w/ tribal ID) – Free

The Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve is a remarkable 47-acre Sonoran Desert preserve and archaeology museum. It has a rich collection of over 1600 petroglyphs, the largest concentration in Phoenix.

This site not only showcases artifacts from past archaeological digs but also serves as a vital link to Arizona’s culturally significant past. The preserve offers an immersive experience in Southwest archaeology and desert ecology.

Visitors can explore a .25-mile walking trail, marvel at petroglyphs dating back 500 to 5,000 years, and encounter a diverse range of native plant species. The preserve’s educational programming, including sunset tours and docent-led experiences.

This preserve is one of the finest botanical gardens in Phoenix, blending history, archaeology, and natural beauty. Here, guests can delve into the region’s prehistoric and contemporary indigenous cultures while gaining insights into preservation efforts.

Pro tip:
The petroglyphs are fragile and irreplaceable. Please refrain from touching or climbing on them to preserve these ancient artworks for future generations.

9. St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery

Media: Pets&Travel

Address: 3044 N 27th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016


Contact Details: +1 602-957-3054

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:       9–10 AM, 1–2 PM, 5–6 PM
  • Tuesday:      12 AM–7 PM, 11 PM–8 AM
  • Wednesday: 1–2 PM, 6–7 PM
  • Thursday:      7–8 AM, 1–2 PM, 6–7 PM
  • Friday:    7–8 AM, 1 PM–12 AM
  • Saturday:      11 PM–12 AM
  • Sunday:   8 AM–12 AM

St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery beckons with its serene and expansive grounds. Established in 1995 by six monks, it boasts a variety of botanical wonders, including vegetable gardens, vineyards, orchards, and tranquil garden spaces.

Visitors are welcome to explore the monastery’s grounds and take in the lush beauty and peaceful ambiance. The monastery also features a gift shop where guests can find unique treasures and mementos to commemorate their visit.

While entry is free, donations are appreciated. Meanwhile, visitors are kindly reminded to adhere to the monastery’s dress code, reflecting the reverence of the sacred space.

A visit to St. Anthony’s Monastery promises a serene and enriching experience. Here, visitors can admire the chapels, stroll through the gardens, or pause by the picturesque fountains.

Pro tip:
Take time to participate in the monastery’s prayer services if they align with your beliefs. It’s a serene and spiritual experience that adds depth to your visit.

10. Botanica at the Farm

Address: 6106 S 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85042


Contact Details: +1 602-368-1385, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday & Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday-Sunday: 8 AM–3 PM

Botanica at the Farm is a haven for those seeking fine garden, patio, and kitchen products. Established in 2013, this modern market offers a curated selection of locally sourced, high-quality goods, ensuring a delightful shopping experience for visitors.

As you step into Botanica, you’re greeted by a treasure trove of unique finds, from garden essentials to artisanal kitchenware. The market’s emphasis on quality and uniqueness sets it apart, making it ideal for those with a penchant for exquisite items.

Beyond its charming offerings, Botanica is nestled within The Farm’s scenic beauty, featuring canopies of pecan trees and an organic-style garden. It’s not just a market; it’s an immersive experience where you can wander through the picturesque surroundings.

You can also explore on-site restaurants like Morning Glory Cafe and The Farm Kitchen, and indulge in farm-fresh delights. For those seeking a memorable dining experience, Quiessence offers a refined farm-to-table menu.

Additionally, The Farm’s event venues, such as The Canopy in The Grove and Stone Grove, provide enchanting spaces for gatherings and celebrations.

Pro tip:
You can visit during different seasons to experience the changing landscape of The Farm. Spring brings blooming flowers, summer offers ripe fruits, and fall brings vibrant foliage.

11. Queen Creek Botanical Gardens

Address: 25002 S 206th St, Queen Creek, AZ 85142


Contact Details: +1 480-447-2485

Operating Hours: Saturday: 9 AM–5 PM, Sunday-Friday: Closed

The Queen Creek Botanical Gardens is a captivating 10-acre marvel, boasting the title of the world’s first all-edible garden. Still evolving, this enchanting space showcases how gardens can be both stunning and practical.

Exploring the gardens unveils a mesmerizing tapestry of rivers, waterfalls, and mill ponds. It’s accompanied by informative demonstrations that showcase the diverse range of edible plants.

Every plant, from fruits to herbs and edible flowers, is meticulously curated not just for its aesthetics but also for its culinary and landscaping potential. One of the Garden’s highlights is the operational waterwheel, which adds a touch of charm to this oasis.

It has themed gardens like English Formal, Japanese, and Lakeside. As you stroll to these gardens, there are knowledgeable volunteers and staff that eagerly share insights into the plants and their practical uses.

Queen Creek Botanical Gardens emphasizes the importance of sustainable food production and food security. Here, visitors can purchase freshly harvested produce, herbs, and fruit trees, connecting them with the garden’s ethos.

Pro tip:
Take your time exploring each themed garden. From the Japanese garden to the Edible Flower garden, each area offers unique sights and smells worth savoring.

12. Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center

Media: Arizona Sustainability Alliance

Address: 3131 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85040


Contact Details: +1 602-468-6470

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:   Closed
  • Tuesday:  8 AM–12 PM
  • Wednesday: 8 AM–12 PM
  • Thursday: 8 AM–12 PM
  • Friday:      8 AM–12 PM
  • Saturday: 8 AM–12 PM
  • Sunday:   Closed

The Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center is a testament to Arizona’s natural beauty and biodiversity. Nestled within a 600-acre riparian habitat, this center has been showcasing the state’s authentic wildlife since its establishment in 2002.

For nature enthusiasts, it’s a great spot to seek a meaningful connection with Arizona’s botanical and wildlife heritage. It’s a beacon of environmental stewardship and an exemplary botanical garden experience in Phoenix.

Visitors can explore over 200 species of birds and wildlife along the center’s interpretive loop trail, providing a captivating glimpse into Arizona’s rich ecological tapestry. In addition to its immersive nature experience, it also organizes a range of special events.

Some of the events being held here are the Saturday Morning Bird Walk, Animal Encounters, and the Birds n’ Beer gatherings. These events can be opportunities to engage with and learn about the diverse flora and fauna of Phoenix.

Moreover, the Audubon Center’s commitment to conservation and environmental education shines through its initiatives and programs. Visitors can gain valuable insights into the importance of preserving these natural treasures for future generations.

Pro tip:
Respect the wildlife and their habitats. Stay on designated trails, avoid disturbing nesting areas, and follow any guidelines provided by the center to help preserve this natural sanctuary for future visitors.


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