In this Star file photo, the afternoon sun peeks out from behind Saguarohenge at Pima Prickly Park.


Cactus gardens, a cholla maze, desert trees in bloom, and free prickly-pear snow cones are among the attractions at a celebration Sunday at Pima Prickly Park.

"This is a free celebration to show off the progress we've made since the park opened in September" at 3500 W. River Road, said Richard Wiedhopf, president of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society.

The society developed the 9.4-acre park in collaboration with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation.

An ever-more-lush preserve on the site of a one-time gravel pit, the park is designed to showcase cacti, succulents and native trees.

"We've planted a couple of thousand plants since the park opening," Wiedhopf said. "We've expanded an agave garden, and we've added lots of cactus and ocotillos."

The plants include many donated by members of the society as well as plants "rescued" from sites where they would have been destroyed.

The Sunday event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include educational displays, a plant sale of assorted cacti and succulents, and exhibits for kids.

Visitors can tour the site on loop paths totaling more than a mile. Paths leading to ramadas are handicap-accessible from the parking lot.

Along one of the paths is a cholla maze featuring cholla cacti in a setting "kind of like old English mazes," Wiedhopf said.

No food booths will be in operation, but free prickly-pear snow cones will be available to visitors, he said.

if you go

• What: A public exposition and celebration at Pima Prickly Park.

• When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: The park is at 3500 W. River Road near North Camino de la Tierra. The park is normally open from sunrise to sunset daily with no admission fees.

• Event cost: Free.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz