Día de Muertos | Desert Botanical Garden


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Día de Muertos

DATE: Oct. 29 - 30
TIME: Oct. 29, 12 - 8 p.m. | Oct. 30, 12 - 6 p.m. | Procession from 5- 6 p.m. each day
PRICE: Included with Garden admission or membership

Celebrate the colorful and vibrant Mexican tradition of Día de Muertos at the Garden with new and memorable experiences. The two-day festival will be filled with Mexican music, dance, storytelling y más! Honor a loved one at the Community Altar by artist Rufina Ruiz López. At day’s end, Garden guests are invited to join performers in La Procesión, a procession honoring passed loved ones, through the Garden.


Día de Muertos: Mega Community Altar and Entryway Arch
On view Oct. 29 – Nov. 6 | During regular Garden hours

Mexican artist Rufina Ruiz López is widely recognized for her work with traditional Oaxacan ceramics and her dedication to sharing this art beyond her own community. In collaboration with the Garden, the artist is creating 200 handmade ceramic skulls, thousands of paper flowers and hundreds of linear feet of papel picado to create a grand, 13 feet wide and 11.5 feet tall, archway to be installed at the Garden’s entrance, welcoming guests to the Día de Muertos celebration. Additionally, Rufina Ruiz López will create all ceramic and decorative elements for the installation of a Mega Altar inside the Garden’s Webster Auditorium. This altar will be on a scale never before seen at the Garden, accompanied by a ceiling installation of papel picado and a traditional sand painting by artist Jose Hilario Ruiz López.



  • 200 hand-made ceramic skulls
  • 25,000 hand-made paper flowers
  • More than 600 feet of papel picado
  • More than 100 hand-made ceramic altar elements


Alebrijes Drop-in Experience | Binns Wildflower Pavilion located at Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail

Oct. 28 – 29 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Artist demonstration schedule: 9 – 9:30 a.m., 11 – 11:30 a.m. 
Alebrijes will be available for purchase. Prices vary depending on available items.

Want to add to the Día de Muertos festivities? Stop by Binns Wildflower Pavilion for a one-of-a-kind drop-in experience. Purchase a pre-made alebrije and customize it with your own painted designs! Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk sculptures of fantastical creatures. In purchasing your own alebrije, gain access to a special demonstration led by Oaxacan master artisans Efrain Fuentes and Silvia Gomez as they share how to create wood-carved alebrijes from scratch.

Learn about the ancestral technique, history of the tradition and symbolism in a colorful cultural immersion as you explore the artistic process of the native peoples of Oaxaca. Alebrijes will be left to dry for about 45 minutes and can be picked up when you are ready to leave the Garden.

Alebrijes are available for purchase in limited supply and on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • They will be available to purchase in-person at Binns Wildflower Pavilion from Oct. 28 – 29 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Día de Muertos: Clay Sculpting Workshop Series | Archer House
Oct. 20 – 21: 5 – 9 p.m. | Oct. 22 – 23: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Join internationally-acclaimed Oaxacan artist Rufina Ruiz Lopez for an immersive clay sculpting workshop experience that celebrates the vibrant art history of Día de Muertos. Discover how to incorporate your own life story into the craft of molding natural clay that is culturally significant to the region of Atzompa in Oaxaca, Mexico. This series will be taught by Lopez in Spanish with an interpreter translating class instruction into English.

Over the course of four days, learn about traditional techniques that incorporate a connection with nature and family history into the design and creation of an original clay sculpture. Participants will be able to choose a design option that best fits their comfort and skill level.

Generously supported by:


Majestic Mariposas

Sep. 24 - Nov. 13

Families can get an up-close and unforgettable experience when Monarchs and other native Southwestern butterflies return for our Fall Butterfly Exhibit.

Lotería Nights

Oct. 6 & Nov. 3

Don’t miss your chance to win big at Lotería Nights. Join us once a month at the Garden with rounds of Lotería — a Mexican card game similar to bingo — cerveza, music y más! Play for a chance to win cool prizes, including a Garden membership, plants and so much more! Ages 21+

Playing with Stars: Rotraut at Desert Botanical Garden

Oct. 7, 2022 - May 14, 2023

The bold and lyrical large-scale sculptures of Rotraut will enliven the Garden t​rails while a selection of her paintings and small sculpture fill the Ottosen Gallery. Known around the world, and based in Arizona, Rotraut’s artwork explores the energy of the seasons and the relationship of nature with the sky, sun and universe.

Become a member and get unlimited access all year!


Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail closed through Oct.