Develop a love for cacti at the Desert Botanical Garden

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You can see the bizarre beauty of desert flora is in all its glory at this 143-acre garden compound in southwest Phoenix. Started by a group of concerned local conservationists in the 1930s, the garden has grown into a premier botanical destination. It showcases more than 50,000 plants (including 169 endangered desert species) in a variety of gardens and along five themed trail loops.

Open year round (with the exception of holidays), there's always something growing in the garden. Springtime means blooms and butterflies, while the December holiday season brings the popular Las Noches de las Luminarias evenings. This is when garden visitors stroll along hand-lighted paths to the sounds of music.

All year long, the garden hosts a variety of speakers, musical concerts and fun family activities like evening flashlight tours, where kids can get up close with the creatures and plants that come out at night. Sign up in advance for one of the special-interest tours. Or simply join in one of the free Desert Discovery Docent Tours offered daily from October through early May.