Next stop, Tohono Chul Park, the top local botanical garden that nicely highlights a ‘compact desert habitat’. This stunningly sultry spot features various cacti, demonstration gardens, and art displays that each do their part in educating guests all about local horticulture, wildlife, ecology, and even culture. Tohono Chul is located on Paseo Del Norte in Tucson and takes groups on average about 2 hours to see everything within. This garden center exists to ‘enrich people’s lives by connecting them with the wonders of nature, art, and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and inspire wise stewardship of the natural world in general’. Tohono Chul’s popular tagline? ‘Gardens. Galleries. Bistro’. That’s right, not only will you see simply spectacular native gardens and art galleries, but you will also have the chance to sit down for a wonderful taste of the local region in the Garden Bistro.
There are three different art galleries throughout this garden center, each with ever changing exhibits featuring local/regional artists. There are also plenty of demo gardens, each highlighting local habitats such as riparian areas or the elusive desert palm canyons. The greenhouses feature native arid adaptive and cold hardy plants, plus several major pollinators to attract hummingbirds and bumblebees. Enjoy the ‘subtle hues and changing the light of the desert experience’ within the different art galleries, then check and see if there are any special events happening during your visits, such as the current Holiday Nights (with over 1 million lights throughout the park) or Fall Concert Series. There are also regular classes, workshops, and lectures here.
After you’ve seen all that you can be sure to head over to the Garden Bistro to get a taste of local delights. We highly suggest the Prickly Pear Lemonade with the Tohono Chul Quesadilla, the later of the two featuring their signature Chilean sauce. Shop for any local artist items or educational items at the garden shop before you go, as well! Remember, much like the sprawling Sonoran Desert in general, this garden stretches to many different lifestyles and interests throughout Arizona.