Despite the heat we soldiered on and visited the Desert Botanical Garden and Hole in the Rock (part of Papago Park) on Saturday. There were no other people at the botanical garden, and very few at Hole in the Rock on account of the heat. We must've taken a break in the shade every five minutes to keep from melting. We also wore sunblock (except for Rene), hats, and drank water whenever we could. All this made the day a bit more bearable but we explored that garden with the speed of a snail. We.were.so.slow!
At the garden we saw ocotillos, palo verde, and tons of cactuses thriving in the desert heat. My favorite was the palo verde, with its green trunk and delicate green leaves. It is amazing to me how such a beautiful tree can thrive in such a harsh environment.
I also liked the prickly pear cactuses, if only because I had eaten prickly pear fruit in the past. However, I discovered during my trip that the prickly pear sold at the supermarket is NOT the same kind that they grow at the botanical garden. I swiped one that looked ripe and found that a) prickly pear have tiny spikes that embed themselves in your skin and are hard to take out and b) it tastes like a watery plant despite the promising purple color. It wasn't an altogether bad taste but the little spikes in my hand reminded me never to try it again. The fruit sold at the market is sweet and contains no spikes, thank goodness.
After our visit to the botanical garden, we made our way to Hole in the Rock. A hole in this rock formation was used by the local Indians to distinguish between the seasons in the year. It was not a very big rock, and only took a few minutes to climb. The rock had a great view of the city and airport. The rock was also a great place to take pictures with my mom and sister.
On our way home on Sunday, we stopped at a dinosaur park in Cabazon, CA near the outlets. There are only two dinosaur models that make up the park: a brontosaurus, which houses the gift shop in its belly, and the T-Rex, which houses the museum. We only visited the gift shop since the museum cost $2 to enter; with such a small facility to house the museum (aka T-Rex butt and tummy) I doubt there was much to see anyway.