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“Beautiful and Diverse for its size”

Tucson Botanical Gardens
Ranked #16 of 286 things to do in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Named one of the Top 10 Gardens in to visit in North America in 2017 by the Canada Garden Tourism Council and One of the Best Secret Garden in America by Reader's Digest, Tucson Botanical Gardens is an “Oasis in the Heart of Tucson. Featuring seventeen residentially-scaled specialty gardens, including a Barrio Garden, Zen Garden and a Cactus & Succulent Garden landscaped with unusual rocks from the Harrison Yocum collection. Tropical Butterflies from around the world are featured in the Cox Butterfly & Orchid Pavilion October-April. Special annual seasonal exhibits. Experience an outdoor Garden Railway, botanically-inspired gift shops, year-round tours, art exhibits and lunch at Cafe Botanica. Closed Thanksgiving, the Dec. 24 & 25, Jan. 1, the first Saturday in February and July 4.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access
Norman, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Beautiful and Diverse for its size”
Reviewed 11 August 2014

We visited here early in the morning. The herb garden was beautiful and smelled just as good. There were a number of informational plaques detailing where the plants were from and what they were. Everything was fascinating and well taken care of. The only part that seemed lacking was the exhibit on Indian food crops. There were only three plants and the display looked unkept.

In general the greenhouse, the fountains, and the beds were beautifully arranged. It was also vastly calming. There was a Zen garden and a benches all throughout the gardens.

There was even a miniature train city with a working HO scale railway!

Visited August 2014
2 Thank Arthur B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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707 reviews from our community

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English first
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Worst waste of money ever.”
Reviewed 6 August 2014 via mobile

Wasted close to $60 for about 15 minutes worth of gardens. Stupid and almost no critters. Don't waste your time it's not even partially worth it.

Visited August 2014
3 Thank Dayla W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michelle C, General Manager at Tucson Botanical Gardens, responded to this review, 11 August 2014
I am so sorry that you had a bad experience.

We encourage you to come back to visit in October when our indoor tropical butterfly exhibit opens to the public and runs through the end of May each year. Tickets to see the Gardens and the Tropical Butterfly House are $13 for adult - free if you're a member. $9 during our summer season.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens is truly the place to visit to see rare cacti and plants from all over the world. We have over 4,000 plants in our collection. If animals a favorite, I would highly recommend visiting the Sonoran Desert Museum and Reid Park Zoo.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
80 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Interesting collection of species from different regions”
Reviewed 6 July 2014

The Tucson Botanical Gardens has displays of plants from various different climates. You will find the usual garden flowering plants in one area, with a few species of herbs. In another area, there are many different kinds of cactus anc succulents. There are demonstration gardens of low water species, and a garden demonstrating food plants grown from local heirloom seeds. One section of the garden has a nice variety of different irises. Still another area has a small Zen garden. There are exhibits designed to educate, some in little buildings. Someone also recently installed a whimsical small town with train layout.

The tropical greenhouse is well worth visiting, especially if you are a desert critter. It contains many fine tropical species, including a number of species of flowering orchids, many of them donated by people who originally bought them at Trader Joe's and couldn't keep them blooming. Some of the more unusual species include the Frangipani, and the Elkhorn Fern. It has a hibiscus plant in the center with the largest flowers I have ever seen in that species!

Newer residents include five species of Poison Dart Frogs, tiny but very colorful, and as much fun hunting for as Easter eggs. Every year from October through April, the greenhouse also has a tropical butterfly exhibit. For this exhibit, butterflies are brought in from the tropics around the world, including Asia, the Americas, and Australia. The well-loved Blue Morpho is usually visible in abundance, but hard to catch in the camera with wings open. There is often an Atlas Moth or two. Other species may be unfamiliar, some colorful, some predominantly black, strangely enough, though they will often show a blue tint when viewed from the right direction with respect to light. Of the butterfly exhibits I have seen (which is only a few), this is by far the best. It is warm and humid in there, so I recommend carrying a small bottle of water with you.

I had the privilege of knowing the founder of the Gardens, Harrison Yocum, and his knowledge and warm personality add to my experience. Many of the plants he once raised in his own garden, as well as the rocks he collected on his rockhounding trips, now grace the gardens.

Please be aware that they close at 4:30. The butterfly exhibit in season closes at 3.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank Pat G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reading, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

I went in mid June and the place was still so beautiful. My favorite part was the cactus gardens, and the café! Make sure to eat lunch here...the food was incredible!

Visited June 2014
3 Thank meeson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Crown King, Arizona
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“for those who like this sort of thing”
Reviewed 30 May 2014

Went in late May, a little warm and the butterflies had been moved out of the heat ? and you could see the heat beginning to affect the site; so go in cooler times. An impressive set of plant types in various layouts; my wife and I enjoyed it. The place has areas that feel like more upkeep and maintenance is needed but mostly pretty good. Price was excellent for what was offered.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Charles B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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