The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140 acres (57 ha) botanical garden located in Papago Park in Phoenix. Founded by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937 and established at this site in 1939, the garden now has more than 21,000 plants, in more than 4000 taxa, one-third of which are native to the area, including 139 species which are rare, threatened or endangered.
Of special note are the rich collections of agave (176 taxa) and cacti (10,350 plants in 1,350 taxa), especially the Opuntia sub-family. Plants from less extreme climate conditions are protected under shadehouses. It focuses on plants adapted to desert conditions, including an Australian collection, a Baja California collection and a South American collection. Several ecosystems are represented: a mesquite bosque, semidesert grassland, and upland chaparral.
For the first time this year I visited the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. It’s one of the most interesting and beautiful botanical gardens you will ever visit and it’s very wheelchair accessible. You might not think about botanical gardens in a desert but the gardens here, which are located just east of the airport, are huge and a marvelous educational experience. Although there are a few hard packed dirt pathways, the gardens are very accessible, mostly with nicely designed concrete walkways, The gardens are generally on a level area with only a few mild grades, all nicely designed for wheelchairs, no steps. It was really very easy to roll throughout the gardens.
Gertrude’s Restaurant, a wonderful full service restaurant and bar with both indoor and patio fine dining, is located right at the Botanical Garden entrance, and the entire restaurant was very wheelchair accessible. The modestly priced café at the back of the gardens is also accessible. There’s a long ramp to access the cafe, clearly marked, and the incline is somewhat steep.
A large wheelchair accessible restroom is located off the garden’s front entrance. There is plenty of accessible parking and no steps to enter.
The gardens are absolutely beautiful, really spectacular and a Must visit, especially in the spring when the desert and cactus flowers are blooming! I loved this place and can’t wait to return!