Exit the freeway to
downtown Palm Springs, keep driving passed all the shops and restaurants on
Palm Canyon Drive until you’re almost to the mountains, and, on the perimeter
of the historic celebrity enclave of The Mesa of Palm Springs, you’ll find a
50-year-young cactus jungle called Moorten Botanical Garden. An arboretum built around a beautiful
private Mediterranean-style home, Chester Moorten began this collection of
desert trees and cacti in 1938, when he opened his nursery in Palm Springs. His
son, Clark Moorten, an amiable host, continues to invite the public to a
self-guided walking tour on a nature trail amid the surprisingly lush garden to
check out the 3,000+ varieties that have been amassed from all over the world.
What you’ll see: a large, full, green garden of
desert-native trees lining a winding path to explore with your young Indiana
Jones or adventurous Lara Croft; cacti, big and small, some fruit-bearing, spiny
and hairy, like the fuzzy South American “Old Man” cactus (with crazy
disheveled white hair) and “Old Lady” cactus (with perfectly groomed white
hair); the “World’s First Cactarium”; cooing doves; crystal garden; ancient
fossils; pioneer and gold-mine relics; beautiful, nursery-grown, affordable
(think $1 - $3 each), mini cacti to leave home with as a souvenir.
What you’ll hear: quite possibly the phrase, “I don’t want to
leave,” which is a good indicator everyone is enjoying the adventure.
How much time to allow: 1 hour, which is the perfect amount of time
to enjoy this outdoor stroll after breakfast downtown, still leaving plenty of
time in the day for taking in more of Palm Springs.
Hours and Cost of Admission: open daily during Fall, Winter, and Spring,
from 10 am – 4 pm (except Wednesdays). $4
for adults and seniors. $2 for kids ages 5-15. Kids under 5 are free.
For more from our Family Adventure Series,
take a look at:
Part 1 –Hiking the Inner Loop at The Living Desert