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 came to Palm Springs in 1938 as a cacti salesman where he then met his soon-to-be wife Patrica who also happened to have a love for succulents and plants. Together the two went on to purchase the land that would evolve into Moorten Botanical Garden. This arboretum was created with the sole purpose of sharing the wide range and variety of desert plant species with all who visit and it has done exactly that for over 80 years.
Must See Spots
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.