Image by Emily Riddell Getty Images
Blue bells and Mexican gold poppies are just two of the colorful showstoppers blooming from March to May along the Desert Wildflower Loop Trail at this well-nurtured botanical garden, a lovely place to reconnect with nature while learning about desert plant life. Looping trails lead past a profusion of desert denizens, arranged by theme (including a Sonoran Desert nature loop and an edible desert garden). It's pretty dazzling year-round, but the flowering spring season is the busiest and most colorful.
Another highlight is December's nighttime luminarias, when plants are draped in thousands of twinkling lights. Admission is free the second Tuesday of the month (from 8am to 4pm).