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Glendale, AZ

Glendale, AZ

Parks & Recreation
Engaging residents and visitors in diverse opportunities to live, invest and play in the community

Parks & Recreation
5970 W. Brown St.
Glendale AZ  85302

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Glendale Parks and Recreation is Nationally Accredited.
CAPRA provides quality assurance and quality improvement of accredited park and recreation agencies throughout the United States. CAPRA is the only national accreditation of park and recreation agencies, and is a valuable measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management, and service to the community.
Parks and Recreation - Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden
7637 N. 55th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301
Flickr Logo View photo gallery from a research visit to the park.
Watch a video on the park.

Overall view of Elsie McCarthy GardenThe Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden was developed to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch. Through the use of specific plants and trees for texture and scent, water features for sound, touch and sight and evening lighting for dramatic visuals, this garden is one of Glendale's proudest locations.



Elsie McCarthy was a long-time Valley resident and an avid gardener. She continued her gardening throughout her life even after she lost her eyesight. Through a bequest in Elsie McCarthy's will, she donated the money for "the purpose of establishing, purchasing, improving, expanding or maintaining a scented and tactile garden for the visually handicapped." Her only requirement was that the garden be dedicated to her father, Robert Henry Bourdon.

The main entry to the sensory garden contains a tactile map, giving the visually impaired a way to feel the individual areas of the garden and understand its layout.

Story Totem GardenInspiring Art

The Story Totem Garden features a sculpture, Seeing Beyond, by artists Joan Baron and Robert Miley. The sculpture is a tile mosaic tiles and has water sprinkling through the middle of it.

The garden reflects all the aspects of a tactile garden for the visually impaired, but is a wonderfully peaceful place for everyone to enjoy.

Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden Layout

garden water featureSoothing Gardens

The Celebration Garden features four labyrinth rocks. A unique labyrinth design has been etched into each one of the blocks, allowing for a finger or two to follow the maze through its winding course.

The garden contains five points of interest. The Wisdom Garden, the Celebration Garden, the Contemplation Garden, the Reflection Garden and the Story Totem Garden are all very special areas each with a unique type of water feature.

garden plantsFlora and Fauna

These are just a few of the trees, shrubs and groundcovers you'll find in the Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden

  • Desert Museum Palo Verde
  • Catclaw Acacia
  • Desert Willow
  • Mexican Bird of Paradise
  • Texas Mountain Laurel
  • Gregg Ash
  • Fan-Tex Ash
  • Desert Lavendar
  • White-tufted Evening Primrose
  • Chocolate Flower
  • Cherry-Red Sage
  • Desert Marigold
  • Creosote
  • Orange Jubilee
  • Baja Fairy Duster
  • Brittlebush
  • Mexican Flame
  • Hybrid Tea Rose
  • Red Bird of Paradise
  • Purple Trailing Lantana
  • Deer Grass
  • Purple Prickly-Pear
  • Native Prickly Pear
  • Regal Mist
  • Daylilies


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