Foothills of Sonora


Explore the Foothills of Sonora Garden where the Sonoran Desert and tropical deciduous forest meet. This unique environment is where plants co-exist at either their southern limits or northern limits due to rainfall and/or temperature, comingling in a mosaic of succulents and arborescent cacti and short tree forests. Also, the home of our jaguar habitat.

Mojave and Upper Colorado Desert Gardens

Gardens TaraHoward

These two gardens represent our own local desert environs and the opportunity to discover more about what’s in your own backyard. The Mojave Desert Garden replicates our high desert with the iconic Joshua tree and its cohabitants including desert tortoises. And the Upper Colorado Desert Garden replicates the western edge of our subdivision of the Sonoran Desert near the Santa Rosa Mountains and along the eastern slopes of the Peninsular Ranges where chaparral transitions into desert.

Baja California


Find yourself immersed in the unique landscape of Baja California when you step into this garden. Inside, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the peninsula’s unique and sarcocaulescent plant species such as the whimsical Boojum tree and the gnarled Baja elephant tree.

Chihuahuan Garden

The Living Desert

Within this garden, native northern Chihuahuan desert plants thrive and showcase their resilience in the arid landscape. Prickly pear cacti, towering yuccas, and majestic sotols adorn the sandy terrain, creating a picturesque scene that truly captures the essence of North America’s largest hot desert.

Boojum Tree

Dominated by a central pachycaul trunk, older wild specimens of this tree often grow in irregular and whimsical silhouettes.

Desert Agave

It can take anywhere from 8 to 20 years for this plant to store enough energy to send out a tall asparagus-like flower stalk with clusters of yellow flowers.

Joshua Tree

This iconic plant of the Mojave Desert is pollinated only by a single species yucca moth, an extreme example of evolutionary mutualism between two species.


So-named for its smoke-like appearance from a distance, gray gives way to indigo blue when it blooms and is soon covered with hundreds of native bees.

Bismarck Palm

The large, silver-blue leaves of this majestic Madagascan palm provide eye-catching contrast in gardens regularly dominated by various shades of green.