Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

Most Special Events Included With Admission
$10 for Adults, $5 for Ages 5-12

Summer Hours 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM
6 a.m. - 3 p.m. daily > No Entry After 2:00 PM
The Arboretum is open during summer every day through September 30 from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is taken until 2:00 pm., visitors are not admitted after 2:00, so our final guests each day still have one full hour to walk the gardens and trails. READ MORE IN OUR E-NEWSLETTER

Geology walking tour August 27 with Phil St. George, and September 24 with Rich Leveille
** 8:00 am
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologist Phil St. George as your guide; this tour begins at 8:00 am from our visitor center breezeway. This tour compresses almost two billion years of geologic history into just over one educational hour! Learn about Pinal schist, the volcanic origins of Picket Post Mountain and the Apache Leap tuff. On September 24 our guide is professional geologist Rich Leveilleanother one of our engaging BTA geology tour guides is ASU Professor Steve Semken

August 27 Butterfly Walk with Adriane Grimaldi
8:30 AM; start time moves to 9:00 am for the September 24 guided walk
Adriane Grimaldi leads Arboretum guests on a walking tour to see, photograph and learn about colorful species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. This relaxed and slow-moving walk explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Read more about Adriane Grimaldi ; and she returns September 24 when the start time moves to 9:00 am. Gail Morris leads the season finale walk October 22 at 9:30 a.m. Read more about butterflies in this interview with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

August 27 Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class with Patty West
10:00 am
Have you wished you knew how to pick a peck o’ prickly pears, turning the bright red fruits into syrup you can use in margaritas and smoothies, or even a batch of tasty jelly? Ethnobotanist and field botanist Patty West is a special guest presenter both days of this weekend -- and on August 27 she hosts a 10:00 am class coaching the finer points of processing ripe fruit of the season for fresh batches of jelly, jam, syrup and more. She has been picking and preparing for over 20 years and has her own unique spin on cactus cuisine and will share her favorite techniques for de-spining and processing prickly pears -- she may even have a unique desert edible snack for her audience to sample as the class concludes. No pre-registration is necessary, just be in the visitor center breezeway by start time - this class is included with regular BTA daily admission of $10 for adults, or $5 for ages 5-12. Learn More with Patty when she guides the Edible Medicinal Plants walk Sunday -- see details on that below

Carla Keaton's ‘Paint & Wine’ Classes Monthly Aug. 27, Sept. 24, Oct. 29
12:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Try your hand at art; with an optional glass of wine to help spark creativity; Carla Keaton launched a new series of "paint & wine" events at her Keaton Fine Art gallery -- and now she's bringing art to BTA once each month through December (Aug. 27, Sept. 24, Oct. 29, Nov. 12 & Dec. 3). "They're loads of fun," says Carla, "and Arboretum participants will learn to paint very simplified scenes from the arboretum, taking home with them a piece of memorabilia of their experiences in the lovely gardens." Saturday's class will focus on hummingbirds. Enrollment of $35 for Arboretum members and $45 for nonmembers includes art supplies to use during the session, plus two hours of coaching and encouragement from Carla Keaton. Signup by phone; have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff during daytime 6:30-2:30 business hours at 520.689.2723.
See more of her work and connect with Carla at:
Or call her at 480-228-1500, or email:

Photography Class Sunday Aug. 28: After-The-Shot Skills
$30 for BTA members, $40 nonmembers -- enroll online via link below.
Scottsdale pro photographer Lisa Langell asks:
Do you know how to self-critique with confidence?
Do you know what differentiates two similar images from being "good" vs "great?"
Do you know the "squint" technique?
Do you know how to lead your viewer on a designated path through your image?
Whether you shoot with a small compact camera or professional-level DSLR, evaluating the quality of your own work can be difficult. Knowing how to determine which images are our "best work" can sometimes be challenging--especially when it's not immediately obvious. Additionally, we may overlook images that have great potential because they lack a few of the right post-processing techniques. This class will help you self-evaluate and properly "finish" your digital images, aesthetically. You will learn several techniques that will help you seriously critique your own work and make adjustments in post-processing to bring out the best without dramatically altering the image.
Enrollment of $40 for Lisa's Sunday morning workshop includes Arboretum admission for the day; arrive early and spend a few hours practicing with your camera after the 6:00 am opening hour. Enroll online
See other camera classes and photography events on our
Photo Class Page

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Patty West August 28
Explore our Curandero Trail August 28 on a one-hour Sunday walk guided by Flagstaff ethno-botanist Patty West. learn about prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves, jojobas -- and the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. Another of our special guest leaders for this walk Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris. on alternate months this walk is guided by local authors and desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald, owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon .
** Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkersRead more about jojoba, creosote and prickly pears

Book Club Friday, September 2
9:00 a.m.
When reporter Kendall O’Dell is asked by a co-worker to investigate the disappearance of her relatives who vanished after crossing the U.S./Mexican border, she is plunged into the center of the volatile and controversial issues surrounding ranchers and illegal immigrants. When Kendall finally uncovers the secret of their disappearance, her own life is endangered. Dark Moon Crossing by author Sylvia Nobel is based on actual newspaper articles and is the third book in the Kendall O’Dell series.
Our BTA book club showcases a new title each month, with a lively Friday morning discussion group. Attendance at our once-a-month meetup is included with $10 daily admission if you're not already among our annual members, or don't have an AZ State Parks annual pass (and free, of course, to all who do). And each month's book is available in our gift shop. Stop by this week for your copy or order a copy by mail, have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723. RSVP that you plan to attend the book club meeting, please email meeting coordinator Vicki

Dragonfly Walks with ASU Professor Pierre Deviche September 3, October 1
8:30 AM
Join this once-a-month odonate excursion , an interpreted walking tour to Ayer Lake and garden water features -- a chance to learn about these beautiful, fascinating insect predators. ASU Professor Pierre Deviche is our guide, see colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website launched by Pierre:
Bring your camera - our guides safely net a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects unharmed.

September 10 – Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk
at 8:00 a.m. - with guides Dan, Jamie & Steven
This entertaining guided tour around the gardens is not just for kids -- our popular Lizard Walks are for all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. Our season finale walk September 10 features your choice of three excellent guides: Arizona Audubon naturalist Steven Prager, along with with Arizona Game & Fish Department reptile researcher Dan Leavitt, and Jamie Wisenall. There's no additional fee to attend Lizard walks and other nature tours here, and no pre-registration necessary, just be in our Visitor Center breezeway at start time. See photos and read more
Arrive early and explore - during Summer months from May-through-September BTA opens at 6:00am.

September 10 – Annual ‘CAZBA’ Butterfly Count
8:30 am. Volunteers with the Central Arizona Butterfly Association host their 10th annual census of these lovely “flowers on the wing” at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, as well as Oak Flat and several other locations within the total count circle, which has a 15-mile diameter. Participants will be assigned to a leader to tally all the butterflies they can find during the morning – and then meet for an informal buffet lunch at a restaurant in nearby Superior (usually Jade Grill, where Chef Lucy Wing serves a delicious family-style buffet for about $10 each). How many species can be found? The record is 44 during a single day by CAZBA board member and volunteer Marceline VandeWater. To sign up for the count, email coordinator Ron Rutowski at

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturdays September 17
8:00 AM on the Third Saturday - tour moves to 1:30 Start Time October 15
The Sinai Desert lies roughly at the same latitude as our own Sonoran Desert; many of the same plants common in the Middle East thrive in our Arizona climate, and can be seen here at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Arboretum volunteer tourguide Dave Oberpriller leads this tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. Check out a few Plants of the Bible Lands on Facebook. Using references in ancient texts, guides will describe how people of the Bible Land used plants as food, medicine, and shelter in ways similar to how native peoples of Southern Arizona continue to do so in modern times.
Read a more complete description of our Plants of the Bible Land Guided Tour

September 24 Admission Free with Coupon from Smithsonian
6:00 am. check out the link below for the Smithsonian Magazine website -- where you can sign up for a coupon for FREE admission that you’ll receive by email, if you register for their free pass to visit Boyce Thompson Arboretum or a variety of other museums on “Museum Day Live!” September 24 (BTA admission’s $10 without the coupon).
And if you already have annual membership, and an AZ State Parks annual pass – please take a minute to email that link below to neighbors, friends, co-workers or family who have never visited Boyce Thompson Arboretum. ‘Museum Day Live’ offers a chance to explore the gardens, hike more than two miles of scenic paths and trails — attend either of two guided tours Saturday: a geology walk at 8:00am, or butterfly walk at 9:00. See the complete list of participating museums online:

Bye Bye Buzzards Migration Celebration September 24
7:00 am - 8:30 Vulture Viewing, then 8:30 - 10:00 am guided bird walk
September brings the Autumnal Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians; the Arboretum has a day filled with events starting just after sunrise with the annual Bye Bye Buzzards seasonal send-off .
Events are included with adult admission of $10; free to BTA annual members and AZ state parks pass-holders. Arrive early for the 7am special Vulture Viewing Saturday to observe our famous flock of Turkey Vultures perched on the cliffs before they depart to spend their day soaring the skies; world-traveled ASU Professor Dave Pearson will be the guest 'Vulture-ologist' from 7:00-8:30, talking about the big black birds, answering questions and sharing his appreciation for the soaring scavengers until the vultures take to the skies -- typically by 8:30am.

LightRoom 5 Users Group September 25
10:00 AM til Noon in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Photographers and digital photo editing enthusiasts assemble for their once-a-month meeting of the LightRoom5 users group. For details email moderator Tim Wohlever. September 25 the group once again meets on a Sunday morning and the assignment is for all participants to process the same RAW photo. Also during the September meetup Moderator Jack Haskell will demonstrate portraiture setup and processing. These informal workshops are open to the public, free to BTA annual members and included with $10 daily admission if you're not among annual members. Connect with organizers and read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Fall - Winter Daily Hours Return October 1 – Plus Saturday Dragonfly Walk
Daily hours return to the Fall-Winter-Spring schedule from 8:00am to 5:00 pm starting October 1, and there’s also a special Dragonfly Walk at 8:30 a.m. today, guided by ASU Professor Pierre Deviche. Dragonflies are beautiful, fascinating insect predators and you’ll learn about their life cycle on this once-a-month odonate excursion – an interpreted walking tour to Ayer Lake and garden water features. Bring your camera because our guide usually nets a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects safe and unharmed to continue patrolling and hunting over Ayer Lake. Check out colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website launched by ASU Professor Pierre Deviche:

Guided Bird Walk Sunday - October 2
8:30 A.M. Our resident Northern Cardinals were among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens this past week --
Read bird checklist reports and join us for a birdwalk guided by Charlie Babbitt at 8:30 a.m.

Sunday History Walk - October 2
10 a.m.
You may have walked our trails a dozen times and never crossed paths with the Galapagos Tortoise pens. Take a moment to scan the horizon above Picket Post Mountain, can you imagine cavalry soldiers camped in this region in the late 1800s? Learn about the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum -- read more

Home School Day Tours October 6, November 3 and December 1
for details email Lacey at
Guided tours offered to public school groups are also available to home-schoolers on special Fall-Winter dates, ranging from $2 - $10 per person; themes range from Edible And Medicinal Desert Plants, with classroom and outdoor activities at 11:00 am on thursday, October 6 -- to our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day for home-schoolers on November 3. December 1 brings a workshop in geology and rock identification. Pre-registration is required; for more complete descriptions of each day, or to be added to our email list for the 2016-2017 schedule, contact education coordinator lacey at with this as your subject line:
Home School Days at BTA

Gardening Workshops With Pinal Master Gardeners Resume November 5
Saturdays once-a-month November 5, December 3, February 4
Gardening for the Young at Heart is the topic November 3 when green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardener program host a Fall workshop at 11am.
There's no fee or pre-registration needed, the informal outdoor workshop is included with $10 daily admission -- and free to Arboretum annual members. Do you have children, grandchildren -- or are you young at heart? The MGs will guide a tour of the Arboretum’s Children’s’ Garden, shocasing ways that color, patterns, annuals, smelly plants and whimsical garden art can make us young again. Master Gardener workshops continue December 3 with “Coming to Your Senses” (choose plants that evoke the senses and know how to create your own special sensory collage); then “Fruits of Your Labor” February 4, “Out of Africa” March 4 and “Going Vertical” April 1.

Photography Class with Sue Tatterson - date to be announced
Gold Canyon photography instructor Sue Tatterson strives to tell new stories with each subject captured in her len; her early morning workshop here is timed to optimal natural light -- and will focus on 'behind the scene' photography, which she describes as: "getting to a deeper and more artistic truth of your subject, for example - not just capturing that beautiful façade of your favorite old weathered building - but inviting the viewer to think about the age and origin of the structure - who built it, who may have lived or raised a family there. It's said that every picture tells a story; my take is that truly memorable photos will spark a conversation." Read more