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. | La Procesión 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.



Boppart Courtyard 

  • 12 – 2 p.m. | Los Waukis Andinos
  • 1, 2, 3:30 p.m. | SMCC Storytelling Institute “Honoring the Ancestors” – enjoy powerful stories of memory and family connections
  • 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Herencia Mexicana (Sunday only)
  • 4 – 5 p.m. | Mariachi Pasión (Sunday only)

Ullman Terrace

  • 12 – 1 p.m. | Yollotlcuauhtli and Coatlique Danza Azteca
  • 1:30 – 3 p.m. | Ollin Yoliztli Dance Academy 
  • 1:30 – 2:00 p.m. and 3 – 3:30 p.m. | Rascapetatiando Dance Company (Sunday only)
  • 4 – 5 p.m. | Ballet Folklórico Quetzalli-AZ


Experiences | 12 – 5:30 p.m. 

Paper Flowers | Amphitheater

Creative Calaveras | Kitchell Patio
Decorate a sugar skull (fee applies)

Frida Crown | Kitchell Patio
Create a Frida Crown (fee applies)

Nichos  | Light Lounge
Create a colorful nicho with artist Melissa Martínez

Face painting  | Light Lounge
Have your face painted in a Día de Muertos calavera style (line will be capped when capacity is reached)


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.



Art Con Corazón | Día de Muertos Art
Arte de Mi Tierra | Mexican textiles, hand-embroidered goods
Aurora’s Creations | Bags, fans, Catrina hats, banners and more Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli-AZ | décor and more
Des Pues De La Vida Arte | Homemade earrings, headpieces, and more
Emily Costello Art | Original art including paintings, giclees and jewelry
Fernando Cruz | Oaxacan folk art
Fr. Jorge Rodriguez Eager | Cajitas (shrine boxes)
Funkychickeneggranch | Mexican folk art
GinasOriginalAZ | Handmade upcycled jewelry
Hispanic Institute of Social Issues | Books, calendars, shirts and masks
Laura Arellano Blue Betties Boutique | Handcrafted décor and wearables
Marco Albarran | Día de Muertos art and personal handmade art creations
Maxica Colectivo | Seed bead, crystals and pressed flowers jewelry
Monica Gisel | Original art and prints
Mystic Creations | Skull charm bracelets, rosaries, and crosses Oaxaca Imports | Handmade pottery and artwork from S. Mexico
Sol Design Studio | Mexican folk art with a Sonoran twist (Saturday only)
Efrain & Silvia Fuentes | Alebrijes

Generously supported by:


Sonoran Sippin’ 2024

July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 20

Enjoy a complimentary cool drink, included with ticket, and soak up the summer sunset at the Garden with pop-up experiences and desert views.

Flashlight Nights 2024

July 20, 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 and Sept. 7 & 14

Escape the heat and explore the Garden after dark with family and friends! Discover the Garden’s five thematic trails, encounter desert creatures, and immerse yourself in the captivating nighttime ambiance with cool drinks and treats.

Great Milkweed Grow Out Tour

July 24, 26 & Aug 14, 16

Join us for a behind-the-scenes tour of our plant and insect ecology program! Learn about and experience firsthand our research with butterflies and their hostplants, and visit our onsite propagation area to see how we grow plants for pollinator conservation around the state.

Become a member and get unlimited access all year!


Heat Advisory: Please be prepared for extreme heat. Bring water, stay hydrated and seek shade when possible.