There was no more perfect way to spend one of the first 60-degree days we’ve had in Phoenix in a while than a day at Desert Botanical Garden. An added, and delicious, bonus was the treats at the Chiles and Chocolate Festival for us to sample and purchase: chili, sopes, chocolates, cookies, burritos, chocolate martinis, Cave Creek Chili Beer and more. There was even a GroupOn deal available Saturday for two-for-one admission to the garden — it’s as this lovely day was meant to be. (And I was able to just show my smartphone displaying the deal at the admission gate instead of printing anything out.)
The first order of business was to eat. We picked chicken sopes that didn’t disappoint. (Cheese, lettuce, salsa, beans, chicken on slightly dry masa.)
Next came a stroll through the garden to check out the sculptures and magnificent plants. I can’t think of a more gorgeous setting for a walk.
|A sculpture from “Whispers of a New World” by Carolina Escobar.|
|You’ll find wisdom along the way.|
|And you’ll learn about Native American history.|
|You’ll spot bees hard at work.|
Be sure to check out Philip Haas’ Four Seasons sculptures — the most striking. They are so detailed and awe-inspiring. My favorite was Spring, for its blooms.
You may encounter some critters along the way.
|This little fellow was not shy.|
We also checked out the monarch butterfly exhibit ($3.50 extra per person). The butterflies were mostly clustered on the ceiling of the enclosure, but a few could be seen floating throughout.
I enjoyed sampling and taking home various local companies’ offerings, including chocolate honey by Made By Bees, barbecue sauce from Anthony Spices and toffee by GoodyTwos. And there was no better way to work off those calories than walking around the garden’s various trails, enjoying the sunshine and breeze, taking in the views.
|The goodies I purchased from Arizona companies.|
The DBG also had unique offerings in its plant sale and gift shop. I wanted everything.
|I fell in love with this stone owl and turtle.|