We may daydream of autumn’s changing leaves, but here in the desert, Phoenix’s holey red Papago Buttes are where it really starts to feel like fall. Desert Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin Festival kicks off Oct. 25 at the base of the mountains, and it’s a good spot to grab a pumpkin and snap a few fall photos.
During the four-day event, you can pile on a hayride to the garden’s pumpkin patch, where children 12 and younger may choose a pumpkin for no additional charge and decorate it.
When they tire of crafts, there’s a hay bale maze, carnival-style games and concessions, and a petting zoo full of farm animals. Live country Western bands provide a jaunty musical backdrop.
Admission includes entry to the entire garden, a pleasing outing in itself this time of year. Don’t miss the strange and appealing steel, copper screen and resined-cloth sculptures of Carolina Escobar on the Desert Discovery Loop Trail or “Ofrenda,” an installation by local artists celebrating Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It opens Oct. 26 inside Webster Auditorium.
Hundreds of live monarch butterflies are housed in the outdoor Mariposa Monarca exhibit, and you can walk amid them for an additional $3.50 per person.
DETAILS >> 8:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 25-26 and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 27-28. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. Festival activities are included with garden admission of $18 for adults, $15 for seniors age 60 and older, $10 for students ages 13-18, and $8 for kids 3-12; free for children younger than 3. (480) 481-8188 or dbg.org.
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