The best place to experience the wonders of the Sonoran Desert at night is at the Desert Botanical Garden. My mom is in town for a visit, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take her and my family to experience a Flashlight Tour at the Garden. To complete our evening out, we decided to get there a little early and have dinner at Gertrude’s, the Garden’s new (and might I say delicious!) restaurant.
The menu at Gertrude’s has a variety of mouth watering dishes to choose from. I finally decided on one of the specials for the evening – pesto risotto with steak and vegetables. My taste buds were so happy! My mom and husband were raving about their dishes also. We then splurged and got two desserts – a chocolate souffle and donuts with a trio of dipping sauces. Both were heaven! The souffle melted in my mouth (my mom and I were kicking each other’s spoons out of the way!), and the donuts went quick after my husband had his first bite. The three sauces – berry jam, lemon curd and hot fudge – made the donuts all the more decadent. Our bellies were full and happy – I highly recommend starting or finishing any visit to the Garden with a stop at Gertrude’s first. Gertrude’s is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And important to note – you don’t need to purchase a ticket to the Garden to eat there, just head straight into the restaurant for a great meal!
After dinner we moved on to the second half of our evening – our Flashlight Tour! We were met at the gate by a garden volunteer passing out flashlights. Each person gets their very own for exploring. We started down the main path and within a few minutes a monsoon had rolled in with rain and wind and lightning – truly beautiful! Because of the storm, we were guided to an indoor space where all the flashlight tour exhibits were set up for us to enjoy. I was so happy that we could continue the fun despite the storm outside! There were several “stations” to see with Garden volunteers to talk about each one – turtles, lizards, scorpions, frogs, snakes and tarantulas – all up close so you could really see them. There was also a craft area where kids of all ages could get creative. It was a really fun night, and I was impressed with how organized everything was despite having to be moved inside – well done!
Held Thursday and Saturday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. through August 31, Flashlight Tours offer a fun and unique way to explore the Sonoran Desert. So grab your flashlight and sense of adventure and head to the Desert Botanical Garden for a night full of fun!