Photograph by Chris Frailey Photography -- www.chrisfrailey.com

The desert is in bloom. And while the mercury is already creeping its way up toward the hundred-degree mark, we still have some time before the weather is simply too hot to handle. So, before the streets start shimmering and we’re all holed up inside cooling off in our air-conditioned homes and offices (or headed for cooler climes elsewhere), it’s time to step outside and enjoy the reason so many of us moved here to Arizona – the incredible weather. Hurry! We won’t see this again until October.

Where can you enjoy a nice leisurely walk without the intensity of a high-adrenaline adventure? There are so many places; we can’t fit them all in one article. Here are two places near Phoenix that you may want to try. Both locations feature beautiful displays of the Sonoran Desert as well as events, plant sales and educational tours.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Arizona

Head east on US 60 past Apache Junction to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. This 320-acre state park features a couple of miles of walking trails, tours, a children’s garden, a greenhouse, picnic tables and hundreds of plants, trees, shrubs and cacti, many of them still in bloom.

http://ag.arizona.edu/bta; Recorded Information: 520.689.2811

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

Nestled among the red buttes of Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden features a butterfly pavilion (which should be full come May), desert succulents, towering saguaros and hundreds of types of flora all along the Phoenix-Tempe border. The Garden often features original art work and has displayed works by well-known artists such as Allan Houser and Dale Chihuly.

www.dbg.org; Recorded Information: 480 941.1217

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