Food Scene

A Summer Evening at the Desert Botanical Garden

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!

Gertrude's steak and risotto

Gertrude's souffle

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!

Desert Botanical Garden Flashlight Tours

Desert Botanical Garden Flashlight Tours


Amy Griglak
Written Amy Griglak

Originally from California, Amy loves to travel, go for runs, read all kinds of books, enjoy all things Disney, drink caramel macchiatos and explore new places and old favorites with her husband and two kiddos.