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Botanical Gardens in Tucson, AZ

Looking for a place to commune with plants in Tucson?

You’ve got a few options right inside the Tucson city limits (and in the surrounding ‘burbs.)

Here are the places plant life thrives closest to town:

Tucson Botanical Gardens

tucson botanic

These are Tucson’s nearest botanical gardens:

Tucson Botanical Gardens

2150 N Alvernon Way
Tucson, AZ 85712
(520) 326-9686

Daily: 7:30 am-3:30 pm (Gates Close at 3 pm)

Admission: $15 (Adults); $13 (Students/Senior/Military); $8 (4-17); Free (Children 3 and under)

Parking: Free


  • Xeriscape Garden
  • Children’s Garden
  • Pollinator Garden
  • Zen Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Grapefruit Grove
  • Cactus & Succulent Garden
  • Bird Garden
  • Iris Garden

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • Special Exhibits
  • Classes
  • Fresh, Seasonal Restaurant

Mission Garden

946 W Mission Ln
Tucson, AZ 85745
(520) 955-5200

Sunday-Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday-Saturday: 8 am-Noon (Summer)
Wednesday-Saturday: 8 am-2 pm (October-March)

Admission: $5 (Suggested Donation)

Parking: Free


  • Early Agriculture
  • Native Plants
  • Mexican
  • Chinese
  • Medicinal
  • Youth

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Critter Nights
  • Bird Walks
  • Classes
  • Festivals
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Cele Peterson Rose Garden

Gene C. Reid Park
920 S Concert Pl
Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 791-4873

Daily: 6 am – 10:30 pm (April 1-November30)

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Rose Garden

Tohono Chul

7366 N Paseo Del Norte
Tucson, AZ 85704
(520) 742-6455

Daily: 7 am – 5 pm
Fridays & Saturdays: 7 am – 9 pm (Late May-Early September)

Admission: $15 (Adults); $13 (Students/Senior/Military); $6 (5-12); Free (Children 4 and under)

Parking: Free


  • Hummingbird Garden
  • Sonoran Seasons Garden
  • Desert Palm Oasis
  • Ethnobotanical Garden
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Children’s Garden
  • Desert Living Courtyard

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Garden Bistro
  • Greenhouse
  • Performance Space
  • Gallery
  • Classes/Talks
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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

2021 N Kinney Rd
Tucson, AZ 857434
(520) 883-1380

Daily: 7:30 am – 2 pm (June-September) Saturdays: 7:30 am – 9 pm (Mid-June to Late August) 8:30 am – 5 pm (October-May)

Admission: $30 (Adults); $25 (AZ Residents); $28 (Senior/Military); $20 (3-12); Free (Children 2 and under)

Parking: Free


  • Mountain Woodland
  • Desert Grasslands
  • Desert Garden
  • Agave Garden
  • Tropical Deciduous Forest
  • Pollination Gardens

Other Attractions & Amenities

(Botanical garden is part of a larger complex, including a zoo.)

  • Live Animal Presentations
  • Earth Science Center
  • Aquarium
  • Museums

Botanical Gardens & Arboretums FAQ

Getting jonesed up for your trip to a local botanical garden or arboretum?

Here are some cool questions and answers about botanic gardens to help get you in the mood.

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Does botanic and botanical mean the same thing?

Yup. You will see some gardens use “botanic” and some gardens use “botanical,” but they have the exact same meaning –

“involving or relating to plants”

The term is derived from “botany,” which is biology’s branch for plant life.

Is there a difference between a botanical garden and an arboretum?


There is some crossover between the two, and their missions of preserving, cataloguing and studying plant life is largely the same, but there is a difference between a botanical garden and an arboretum.

That difference is in the plants that they grow and study.

A botanical garden has specialized areas (greenhouses, conservatories, gardens) in which they typically grow non-native plants or collections of plants.

An arboretum is focused on native trees and wood plants (though, they may grow other trees and plants), which are generally grown outdoors in their natural environments.

While there are some arboretums that stand alone, many are found within the grounds of botanical gardens.

What is the largest botanical garden in the world?

Kew Gardens, officially named Royal Botanic Gardens, just outside of London, England is considered the world’s biggest botanical garden.

At 320 acres, it’s not the largest in size, but at 30,000 species, it has the most diverse collection of living plants in the world.

What is the largest botanical garden in the U.S.?

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (just outside of Wilmington, Delaware) is the largest botanical garden in the United States by size.

It sits on nearly 1,100 acres, though not all of that is devoted to the gardens themselves.

But if we’re talking species, the largest U.S. botanical garden is New York Botanical Garden.

At 250 acres, it’s only a fourth the size of Longwood Gardens, but houses 12,000 different species of plants.

Could I just grow a bunch of plants and call it a botanical garden?

You could, but you wouldn’t be meeting the official definition or criteria for a botanical garden.

A botanic garden, as defined by the International Association of Botanic Gardens, must be open to the public and its plants must be labeled.

But that is the most general definition.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an organization which counts most of the world’s most important botanic gardens amongst its membership, have expanded the definition to include additional criteria.

Some of these criteria are:

  • Being largely permanent
  • Keeping proper documentation of all plant species
  • Maintaining proper labeling of plant species
  • Having a scientific basis for collections
  • Doing on-site study/research

Basically, if you don’t have a scientific explanation for why you have certain plants and why you have them in certain groupings and you aren’t actively studying them, you don’t really have a botanical garden.

After all, the study of plants – botany – is right there in the name.