Activity | Flashlight Tour at Home | Desert Botanical Garden


A summertime favorite activity, each year visitors can shine their flashlights through Desert Botanical Garden’s trails to discover how wildlife awakens in the desert at night. Your family is invited to bring Flashlight Tours home for Father’s Day. All you need is a flashlight, comfortable walking shoes and a sense of adventure. Head out right around sunset to avoid the direct summer heat. You can either explore a nearby trail, your neighborhood or even your own yard. 

Arizona has many species that are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are awake at night. Print a copy of the
 Desert Detectives BINGO to guide your at-home Flashlight Tour. What creatures do you see on your adventure? Here are just a few examples of what you might see.


  • Scorpions – One of the most iconic desert critters is the scorpion. They hide in the shade, whether under rocks or tree crevasses, to avoid the heat of the day and hunt at night. While their light color camouflages in the desert terrain, under a blacklight, they actually glow in the dark. This is due to a substance in their exoskeleton.
  • Bats – There are dozens of bat species in the Sonoran Desert, but bats are far from scary–they are very beneficial for this ecosystem. Some hunt insects, which helps keep their populations in check. When bats eat drink the nectar from flowers of desert plants they transfer pollen from one plant to another. This makes them a valuable pollinator.
  • Owls – There are a few species of owls in the Sonoran Desert. Owls sleep during the day, and hunt by night for insects and small rodents. You might be able to spot where owls like to sleep by looking for owl pellets, which include the parts of their meals they cannot digest. Keep your eyes peeled for small furry balls, which may indicate that there is an owl nearby.

Many desert plants are also active at night. In order to attract nighttime pollinators like moths and bats, saguaros, cardons, organ pipes and more bloom at night. Their fragrant and white blooms are easy to find in the darkness. Do you spot any insects or animals that are snacking on their nectar or fruits?

Share your findings with @dbgphx on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by tagging #desertbingo. Happy hunting!