Our communications intern Tayllor recently experienced one of the Desert Botanical Garden’s Flashlight Tours. She offered to provide her insider’s perspective of these summertime events. Enjoy!
When the sun dips below the horizon, the desert comes to life at the Desert Botanical Garden. On Thursdays and Saturdays through August, the garden offers a special nighttime experience for guests of all ages.
What started as a small guided tour more than 10 years ago has become a full-fledged summer series that allows visitors to see the beautiful Sonoran landscape in a different light. Run entirely by volunteers, the flashlight tours feature up to a dozen discovery stations with desert critters and demonstrations, plus a telescope to examine the stars.
That’s how I found myself admiring a fluffy Great Horned Owl and grinding Mesquite seeds the old-fashioned way on a warm Saturday evening.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out the Desert Botanical Garden offers the experience, and it turns out I’m not alone in that. The flashlight tours have continued to grow in popularity, calling for more volunteers and more stations to spread across the grounds for the self-guided tours.
The best part: Rain or shine, flashlight tours will never get cancelled, according to Kate Pond, interpretation coordinator for Desert Botanical Garden. If a monsoon storm decides to break loose, the exhibits can easily be moved inside to continue the experience.
Pond has been running the tours for two seasons and she says her favorite part is the volunteers themselves.
“They know so much, and guests love that,” Pond said. “Bring your questions and your sense of adventure and you’ll to have a great time.”
With tortoises, scorpions, owls and more, people of all ages are sure to find something they’ll love. The event is known for attracting families, as well as couples heading out for a unique date night. The garden’s restaurant, Gertrude’s, stays open until the tours start for the complete desert experience. Even the gift shop keeps the light on.
The garden’s flashlight tours are a sure must-see this summer for anyone looking to get out, have a great time and learn a few fun facts about the desert so many critters call home. You can even have yourself a flashlight tour birthday party!
Hint: Don’t forget to bring your flashlight (obvious, but necessary) and plenty of water! If you happen to forget your flashlight, volunteers have a limited stash you can borrow from. If you get lost or have questions, volunteers will be walking around with a string of lights around their neck eager to help.
The 2015 dates run May 23-September 5, Thursdays and Saturdays.
For additional information, call 480-481-8188 or visit www.dbg.org.