The Electric Desert

Experiences in the desert are interesting. Succulents and cacti, both large and small, look different from dawn to dusk. Desert blooms offer a whole other look to the sometimes-barren landscape.

Visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix promised to be interesting since we were going at night. Why at night?

For the light show.

We thought we’d see some great lights. Maybe, we’d see some spectacular cacti lit up. Oh no. It was so much more than that.

Music greeted us as we entered the garden. Soft lights led us along one of seven different paths. Rounding the first corner, giant neon cacti looked like enormous green crystals reaching for the dark, night sky.

The light and sound experience at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is like nothing we had seen before. We weren’t even sure we were still in the desert or the garden.

More than just a show, the entire desert garden was a living canvas. Complete with music.

Down one path, light played on a forest of Organ Pipe cactus. They appeared to be swaying to the music. They weren’t.

Another path where the entire floor was covered with snakes. Not a snake fan, I had a hard time watching. They weren’t really snakes…just lights on the succulents. But…I wasn’t convinced. Moving on…

Heading over to the light show on the butte in the distance, we thought we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. Is that rain? Was that lightning? Nope. Just lights. Amazing lights.

Walking through another area, barrel cactus seemed to dance to the music right in front of us. Then, they stopped, changed colors, and danced again. Around every bend, more lights, more music, and performing plants.


Giant saguaro, many decades old, were washed in light. With over 4,000 species here, everywhere we turned we caught a glimpse of lights and plants. Imagine walking through a desert and feeling like you’re in a musical stage production. That’s kind of what we felt like.

This was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Put it on your calendar for next year.

Founded in 2003, Klip Collective is an experiential video shop that uses virtual reality, projection mapping, storytelling and soundscapes to create this captivating sensory experience. They offer these around the world.

If You Go: The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140-acre botanical garden located in Popago at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix.