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Desert drama at Phoenix’s Botanical Garden

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If you didn’t grow up in the desert, if you grew up in a town where the streets were named Elm and Oak, Pine and Locust, then Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden is bound to be one of the more eye-opening environments you’re likely to encounter.

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Spread out over 140 acres, Desert Botanical Garden has more than 50,000 plants, many of them as surreal and fantastical as a Tim Burton hallucination – such as the Boojum tree, a marvelous horticultural chimera named for Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark.”

Established in 1937, Desert Botanical Garden hosts more than half a million visitors annually – and it’s easy to understand why. The docents are as enthusiastic about the garden as the jackrabbits that happily hop amongst the cacti.

A repository for more than 139 endangered species of desert flora, Desert Botanical Garden is also an opportunity to witness the blooming of resplendent desert flowers. Learn about the majestic Saguaro cactus (which produces the state flower of Arizona) and fall in love with the adorable bunny ears prickly pear.

An evening stroll through the garden at gloaming will reward you with spectacular sunset photos that reveal the dramatic majesty of the Sonoran Desert.