Moorten Botanical Garden
Entering through the doors of Moorten Botanical Garden is like stepping into a desert wonderland. Towering cactuses, colorful succulents, wispy mesquite trees and other prickly plants bloom in every direction, offering a serene escape in nature just minutes from downtown Palm Springs—and a newfound appreciation for the extraordinary beauty of the destination’s native plant life.
Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten and his wife, Patricia, founded the 1-acre garden more than 80 years ago. Look for their original family home, a Mediterranean-style villa known as “Cactus Castle,” and set aside an hour or so to roam the dirt trail that meanders through the lushly landscaped grounds. As you explore the 3,000-plus varieties of desert flora, be sure to make a stop at the world’s first “cactarium,” a special greenhouse exhibition of rare plant species (and also one of the most popular Instagram spots in Greater Palm Springs). Happy couples can even tie the knot at the garden’s beautiful Palm Grove Oasis, which hosts weddings, mixers, and other special events.
A small nursery near the entrance offers desert plants of all sizes for sale. Before leaving, pick out a pretty succulent or two and take a living piece of Palm Springs home with you.