The holidays are the only time of the year when it's appropriate to point at a dead plant and expect a kiss. Channel your mistletoe horticultural failure into romance, then reward yourself with today's Groupon: for $4, you get one single-night admission (up to a $9 value, depending on age and Botanical Gardens membership status) to Luminaria Nights, December 3–5 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.
For 24 years, seasonal light stylists have picked a wintery weekend to line Tucson's diverse gardens with thousands of luminarias before inviting visitors to take an after-hours stroll through the plant-decked halls and brightened pathways. Strategically nestled within the groves are five locations for enjoying myriad entertainment options, ranging from desert bluegrass to choreographed Irish dancers to reindeer-baiting hand-bell choirs. Local vendors fuel families' twilight treks through the seedy scenes with flavorful fare, including pizza and heart- and hand-warming cups of hot cider.
Much like a genie, the Tucson Botanical Gardens has a wild spirit, possesses an otherworldly beauty, and will vanish into the desert if people are not there to look upon it. Every acre of the grounds is budding with plants arranged in a backyard bird garden, Aloe Alley, herb garden, and more.
- …does a good job educating visitors on local foliage. A few exhibits on the traditional use of various plants by local Indian tribes. – pt_traveler_7, TripAdvisor
- They have a lot of special exhibits at different times of the year--like a butterfly garden where you can walk amongst hundreds of species of butterflies. They have more types of exotic flowers than I've ever seen in one place. – Celena J., Insider Pages
Tucson Botanical Gardens
Nearly a half century ago, horticulturist Harrison G. Yocum opened his backyard to the public, displaying a bounteous collection of cacti and palms. After a few relocations, expansions, and the establishment of a nonprofit charter, Tucson Botanical Gardens now spreads 17 distinct plots across more than 5 acres. A delicate rumble hearkens the arrival of the Garden Railway miniature train, which winds through gardens uniquely dedicated to birds, butterflies, wildflowers, and traditional Native American crops. Admission—which is free for garden members and children younger than 3—grants passage to five different tours, and groups of 10 or more can arrange self-guided or docent-led tours at a discounted rate. If visitors awaken their appetites by savoring aromas from the onsite herb garden or by staring at clouds shaped like canned goods, they can dig in at the Gardens' Café, where sun spills through a slatted gazebo onto iron tables loaded with roast-beef baguettes and mexican tortilla soup.
2150 N Alvernon Way
Tucson, Arizona 85712Get Directions