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Tucson Botanical Gardens named fourth best in USA Today Readers' Choice Awards

Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 21, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Another Tucson attraction is winning national accolades. USA Today named Tucson Botanical Gardens (TBG) the fourth best botanical garden in the country in its 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards.

“We want to thank the Tucson community and fans of TBG for voting for us! Thanks to you, this public garden is receiving national recognition and we are able to broadly showcase our mission: connecting people with plants and nature through art, science, history and culture,” says Executive Director Michelle Conklin.

Horticulturist Harrison G. Yocum founded TBG in 1964 at his home on Jefferson Street. The garden moved to its currently location on Alvernon Way in 1974.

Gardens on the list cover a wide geographic range. Another desert garden that made the cut—coming in at No. 10—was the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, Calif.

Taking the top spot on the list is the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Fla.

Nominees for the recognitions are chosen by a panel of "relevant experts" and editors, then voted on by the public.

Some of TBG's most notable attractions include its seasonal walk-in 'Butterfly Magic' exhibit and its holiday lights festival.

TBG regularly holds special events and exhibitions. Currently open to the public:

  • Sean Kenney’s Nature POP!
    • Artist Sean Kenney has constructed more than 40 nature-themed sculptures using more than 800,000 LEGO pieces, currently on display in the gardens
    • Runs through Sunday, May 14
  • Cultivating Colors – Colored Pencil Society
    • The Phoenix Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society's exhibition of Arizona plant life
    • Runs through Sunday, June 4
  • Flower Mounds – Lex Gjurasic
    • Aritst Lex Gjurasic's works create a "love letter to the natural world" by incorporating folkloric motifs of her Slavic heritage
    • Runs through Sunday, June 11

For TBG's full list of current and upcoming exhibits and events, visit the garden's website.

TBG is located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way, with daily visitor hours 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Anne Simmons is the digital executive producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing or by connecting on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.