We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“What a snooze...” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Tucson Botanical Gardens

Tucson Botanical Gardens
2150 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712
Improve this listing
Ranked #23 of 268 things to do in Tucson
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Named by Reader’s Digest as the Best Secret Garden in America, 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. Experience an outdoor Garden Railway, botanically-inspired gift shops, year-round tours, art exhibits and lunch at Café Botánica. Closed Thanksgiving, the second Sunday in October,Dec. 24 & 25, Jan. 1, July 4.
Calgary, Canada
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“What a snooze...”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

A bunch of friends and I visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens for their annual Christmas "Luminaria Nights" event. It was crowded and very boring. The "hundreds of lanterns" they advertise are nothing but brown lunch sacks with candles in them, and I read two ads that claimed food would be provided from several local vendors. If that had been true, it would have been worth the $20 per person admission... but sadly, the only food that was included was a stale ginger cookie and about 4 ounces of hot apple cider. My friends and I left feeling very disappointed and hungry. Will not visit again.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

379 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Vacaville, California
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Well worth the stop!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Had no idea this oasis existed...but it was a fantastic stop - from the great areas of different landscapes to the butterfly house (warning: hot and humid!) it was great! The volunteers and staff are wonderful and knowledgeable.
The model train was a fun touch, as was the children's garden (yes, you may touch!).

I only wish they prohibited electronic devices there! I saw so many parents on their phones...instead of interacting with and talking to their children! Very little is as important and teaching our young, and this only happens if we are WITH them!

Congratulations, Tucson!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oro Valley, Arizona
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“A nice bit of quiet in the city”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

A beautiful garden with smaller 'specialty' gardens. Appreciate the fact that most of the plants and trees were labeled. Seating is available, and there is shade available from the gorgeous trees. You can pop in for a quick visit and infusion of quiet, or spend a good part of a day wandering and sitting/listening. Only wish some of the paths were more hardpack than pea gravel as it is hard to push my daughter's wheelchair through the gravel. The evening concerts are small and intimate, and Very very enjoyable.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A Desert Oasis.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

The Tucson Botanical Gardens provides a tranquil oasis in the heart of Tucson, Arizona. Voted America's Best Secret Garden by Reader's Digest, the Gardens is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Tucson. Consisting of seventeen specialty gardens with in 5 -1/2 acres, the Gardens represents a variety of gardening traditions and botanical themes.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens consists of the following gardens: the Porter Patio Garden; the Reception Garden; the Historical Gardens; the Grove of Harmony; the Thorneville Garden Railway (a complete miniature train garden); the Cactus & Succulent Garden; the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden; the Home Compost Demonstration Site;the Native American Crops Garden; the Horticultural Therapy Gardens; the Plants of the Tohono O'odham Path (which honors the relationship between native peoples and the plants of the Sonoran Desert); the Butterfly Garden, the Wildflower Garden; the Prehistoric Garden, Aloe Alley; the Nuestro Jardin Garden (which honors Tucson's traditional Mexican - American neighborhood gardens); the Children's Discovery Garden; the Backyard Bird Garden; and the Iris Garden.

A Gardens Gift Shop and Gardens Cafe is also found on site. From October 1 to April 30 each year the greenhouse is home to a live tropical butterfly exhibit. The rest of the year the year the greenhouse contains a variety of tropical blooming plants including orchids, hibiscus, bromeliads, and more.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Syracuse, New York
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Interesting place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

It is nice to see all the different fruit trees and cactus from around the area. It is a small place, but is really enjoyable to walk through.

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Tucson Botanical Gardens also viewed


Been to Tucson Botanical Gardens? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Tucson Botanical Gardens, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.