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Head to the desert to learn all about an amazing giant tree, the Saguaro Cactus. Your student will have a fun learning experience with our free Cactus Hotel Activities. The set of printable activities is based on the book, Cactus Hotel, by Brenda Z. Guiberson.

Saguaro Cactus Facts for Kids

This small unit study includes a page of information for your students. You can also use the information found in Cactus Hotel as well as reliable websites to research the Saguaro Cactus.

Where Does the Saguaro Grow?

The Saguaro Cactus is a plant that is found in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, Southern California, and Northern Mexico. Use a map to locate the Sonoran Desert. If desired, color it in on the activity page provided.

Saguaro Cactus’ Appearance and Size

The Saguaro Cactus tree can grow to be 50 feet high and weigh several tons (as much as five cars)! It is the largest cactus in the United States. Among a forest of saguaros, you’ll find many interesting shapes. Each cactus has several spines. If you look closely at a picture of a Saguaro, you’ll see pleats in the skin that expand when it rains. This allows the cactus to store water during the dry season.

Animals That Use the Saguaro

Many animals depend on this cactus for shade, housing, water, and food.

Woodpeckers and the Elf Owl use it for nesting.

Harris Hawks will create nests on the branches of the cactus.

When the cactus blooms, long-nosed bats will drink the nectar from the flowers. The bat helps to pollinate the flowers. Other animals that drink the nectar and help pollinate the cactus include white-winged doves and butterflies.

The blossoms eventually dry and form into fruits. Animals and people use the fruit for food.

Saguaro Cactus Life Cycle

The cactus starts as a seed found in the fruit. A seedling grows from the planted seed. After ten years, it is only four inches high. After twenty-five years, the cactus is two feet tall.

After fifty years, the cactus stands about ten feet tall and blooms with white-and-yellow flowers.  After the flowers dry up and the cactus produces red fruits.

The cactus lives for about 150-200 years.

Cactus Hotel Activities and Printables

Several printable activity sheets are included in this cactus study for kids. After you read some books and information about the Saguaro, try some of these Cactus Hotel activities and printable pages.

  • Saguaro Cactus Life Cycle Diagram
  • Saguaro Cactus Life Cycle Activity Sheet
  • Saguaro Cactus Age and Height Information Page
  • Saguaro Cactus Height Identification Activity Sheet
  • Saguaro Cactus Diagram (stem, spine, arm, pleats, flowers, and fruits)
  • Label a Saguaro Cactus Activity Page
  • Saguaro Cactus and Animals Activity Page (create a cactus with animals using it)
  • How Does the Saguaro Cactus Help Animals Survive Notebook Page
  • Saguaro Cactus Facts Notebook Page
  • Saguaro Cactus Coloring Page
  • Sonoran Desert Map Activity Sheet

Cactus Books for Kids

In addition to Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson, I highly, highly recommend reading Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus by Barbara Bush.

Other recommendations include:

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