(click on any photo for larger version)
After our mighty fine breakfast we looked for a grocery store for some bottled water to purchase, got a few other items and off we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens. Located in Phoenix, the gardens are 145 acres in the midst of the red rock buttes.
Just about everything I read about Phoenix listed this in the top 5 things to do – Linda and I agree. It really was awesome.
Admission is $10. I pulled out the American Express card and the lady told me they offer a 15% discount for using Amex. I almost fell over, no one ever seems to offer a discount for using Amex. LOL.
She explained the lay of the land to us, gave us maps and we were soon on our way. We also purchased, for a nominal fee, the trail booklets so we’d have a more informed way of knowing what we were looking at. For families, there were also “scavenger hunt” booklets for the kids. We saw several groups with them and they looked to be enjoying themselves.
The main trail, Desert Discovery Trail, was about 1/3 of a mile. If you did that plus the 4 other trails, the mileage was about 1.5. However, don’t be fooled thinking “piece of cake”. It was already in the mid 90s just before 9am. For us “east coasters” the wide variety of cactus were all new to us so we spent a fair amount of time looking at the different species and reading about them.
There were a number of placards explaining the terrain and vegetation which were both informative and interesting. The sky was so blue that it made for some wonderful photos. Here’s LindaLou at one of the signs.
We enjoyed looking at the famous “Saguaro” cactus, grown only in the Sonoran Dessert in Arizona and 2 small areas in California. The first branches take 50-100 years to appear. This cactus reaches it’s full height of 40 feet in 150-200 years.
This particular cactus was found frequently on all the trails were walked. While we didn’t get photos of any of the wildlife, we were a little surprised to see as much as we did. The expected bees and small lizzards, but also squirrels, cotton tail rabbit, and what seemed like a chipmonk.
We also explored the Plants and People of the Sonoran Dessert Trail. This area was very well done. There were exhibits showing the huts people lived in, what the cooking area looked like and sometimes even the wooden corals for the livestock.
During the centuries that people lived here they found a homeland with more than 400 ediible plants and many many others will medicinal, construction or other purposes.
Linda headed into the gift shop and I wandered back to take a quick walk through the Wildflower Trail.
It was quite fascinating and we were both really glad we spent time here. After about 1.45 minutes, the heat had gotten to us both and it was time to head back to the hotel and cool off.
Tomorrow is a big day – our Adventures by Disney begins!!