Garden Blossoms Into Major Destination

Sundial restore_-10

Photos by Thomas Baker

Carefree boasts a big attraction that is about to become even bigger. Dramatic renovations and additions, scheduled for early fall completion, will turn the town’s popular Carefree Desert Garden into a must-see attraction.

For starters, the renowned Sundial, one of the world’s largest, will soon sport a reflective water pool with illuminated bubbling jets that will treat night-time visitors to a mesmerizing light show. Kids and adventurous adults can also frolic in a unique scorpion-shaped splash pad due to be unveiled in September that squirts bursts of water triggered by electronic sensors. Winter visitors and residents alike will be able to relax by two new fireplaces with spacious seating. As always the Carefree Desert Garden will feature spectacular and rare cacti from around the world as well as the Giant Gila Monster Slide.

LizardSlideVisitors won’t have to look hard to find the attractions. Carefree’s Town Council is putting the final design touches on attractive “Gateways” that will easily direct traffic to the town center.

The town’s ongoing events are destined to garner national and international recognition for the Town of Carefree. As the highlight of the Valley’s Fall Harvest Season, world-renowned master carver Ray Villafane, a regular on national TV and the undisputed “best pumpkin carver in the world,” will utilize his skills to transform the garden with series of intricate pumpkin carvings that will be placed in creative natural settings. The Villafane Studios’ “Enchanted Pumpkin Garden” will be on display October 16-31.

“We are delighted to strengthen the activities and experiences available to Carefree residents and visitors in our beautiful downtown area. Each of these are unique and outstanding features, and have been designed to increase the enjoyment of everyone visiting this unique area,” says Carefree Mayor Les Peterson.

Visitors are invited to the Carefree Desert Garden and Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, located at 100 Easy Street in Downtown Carefree, to view the renovations as they unfold. The gardens open daily for self-guided tours that are free to the public. Those wanting information on upcoming events and exhibits can call 480.488.3686 and go online at

Carefree Garden Photo Contest

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