Since the Desert Botanical Garden first opened in 1939, it has inspired both locals and visitors with its beautiful exhibits.
In addition to visiting the 55 acres that are under cultivation and viewing some of the 50,000-plus plant displays that call the Phoenix location home, the Desert Botanical Garden offers a huge variety of outdoor-themed classes for kids and adults.
Luana Vargas, program director, adult education, says Desert Botanical Garden has both formal and informal lifelong learning programs that are perfect for those with a green thumb, as well those who wish to discover more about the many fascinating critters and creatures who live there.
“We offer about 500 programs a year and in 2015 we had approximately 25,000 students—both children and adults—who attended our programs,” Vargas says, adding that when it comes to fun and educational classes, Desert Botanical Garden truly has it all.
“We have classes for families and kids and even for infants and toddlers—our Baby Boojums program was a hit this winter. And we do have programs designed specifically for adults including gardening, art, photography and birding classes.”
The following is just a small sampling of the classes that are offered at Desert Botanical Garden:
Summer Camps for Kids
For parents who are looking for great ways to keep their kids happily occupied during summer break, Desert Botanical Gardens offers drop-off camps that offer a terrific way to explore the Sonoran Desert.
Vargas says the different camp programs are designed for kids ranging from 5-12 years, and include hands-on experiences that are fun and interactive.
For example, Pollination Pals, which runs from June 6-10, teaches kids about the diversity of the Sonoran Desert. The hands-on camp allows kids to discover the fascinating world of bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats and the plants that depend on them.
Girl Scouts Program
From October through May, Vargas says the Desert Botanical Garden hosts a Girl Scouts program that is open to Daisies, Brownies and Juniors.
For example, in the Water Wizards class, scouts will learn about the amazing ways that desert plants adapt to help them collect, contain and conserve water. The Scouts will investigate these characteristics as they think about a world inspired by desert plants that starts in their very own garden.
The whole family can create meaningful memories together, Vargas says, by attending one of the Garden’s desert exploration programs.
“Kids, parents, and grandparents alike will leave with a shared enthusiasm for the plants and animals around us,” she says, adding that these programs are designed for families with children ages 5 to 12, although children under 17 are welcome.
One of the many examples will take place on May 14, when kids and adults can sign up together for the Desert Book Club—Butterflies and Birds event. After walking through the Garden, local children’s author Natalie Gagnon will read to the class from her latest books that describe monarch butterflies and Gambel’s quail.
Landscaping and Gardening
People who want to start a garden but are unsure if a ground-level or raised bed is the way to go can learn more about both options at the Raised Bed Gardening class on April 3.
The class will cover the differences of the two types of gardens, including the pros and cons of each. Attendees will also learn about the different types of construction materials, designs and soil mixes that go into a raised bed.
A variety of birds call the Desert Botanical Garden home. People can learn about some of the many species through different classes devoted to quail, hummingbirds and more.
Gaskill will teach a class on May 21 that is devoted to the small and adorable birds that live at the Garden. Appropriately named Cute Little Guys, people will learn about wrens, gnatcatchers and verdins. To get a good view of these small and lively birds, students are encouraged to bring binoculars.
On June 8 and 11, Tom Gaskill will teach Arizona’s Owls, a class that introduces people to Arizona’s most common owl species. After learning about their behavior, preferred habits and easily-identified calls, participants will take a field trip to a local burrowing owl sanctuary.
Desert Botanical Garden is located at 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy. in Phoenix. For more information and to learn about upcoming classes for kids and adults, call 480.941.1225 or visit DBG.org.