Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

Guided Walking Tours of the Main Trail Daily Through February 20, Also February 22, 26, 28 and 29
11:00 AM
Can you name the oldest tree or oldest plant in Arizona? How old is a five foot Saguaro...and can you identify a few edible desert plants? Hear the answers and learn about the Arboretum's history and mission on a relaxed, leisurely guided walking tour of the main trail with Arizona State Parks tour guides. Tours depart from the visitor center at 11 am and are included with daily admission $10 -- free to BTA annual members, and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. Read more in our more in our E-newsletter

Valentine's Weekend Live Music February 13 and 14
Saturday Flute Serenade at noon; Sunday Love Songs starting at 1:00pm
Need a romantic Valentine's Day date? How about a relaxed, easy-listening live concert of cedar flute music here in our gardens? BTA has two days of Valentines live music to spark romance: lovely flute by Bernie Haley and friends Saturday the 13th, then a Sunday lunchtime concert by Minnesota-Arizona humorist Mark Fogelson.
Does flute music ignite passion? Seamus Heaney thought so, writing: "From the start, when it was the instrument of the wood-god Pan, the flute has been associated with pure (some might say impure) energy. Its sound releases something naturally untamed..."
Bernie predicts a day with more than just flute music: "we'll have a 'Ring of Flutes' including me, plus four others, and we're also hoping for some guitar, didgeridoo, and even music on Mayan whistles and thumb pianos."
Pack a picnic (or call ahead and get takeout from one of our local restaurants in Superior. A few staff favorites include Jade Grill, Porter's and Los Hermanos) and invite your sweetie for a live music date on the 13th; Bernie Haley will serenade his audience with cedar flute from noon til about 1:30 p.m.
Mark Fogelson has an extensive catalog of originals - which he's mining for 'love songs' when he plays Sunday the 14th, starting at 1:00 p.m. saying: "I'd love to sing love songs and songs that I just love to sing!' A sneak preview of Fogelson's set list include: My Brown-Eyed Girl, Give yourself to love, Dollar Store Romance, I Remember my first dance, Blow it all on you, Gary's Love song, Here in California, Sometimes It Seems, Old Love, Now Everything Does, Hope Springs Eternal, Love In Spite of the Hurt, She Was So Beautiful

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Jim Shepherd February 13 , Saturday
1:30 pm -- repeats Saturday Febuary 28, Sunday
Explore our Curandero Trail on a one-hour Saturday walk guided by Jim Shepherd and 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. This tour repeats Sunday February 28 and our guide is Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris, who also leads the walk during March. ** Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.
Read more about jojoba, creosote and prickly pears

Guided Bird Walks February 14, 20, 28
8:30am - also March 13, 19, 27
Our resident Northern Cardinals were among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens this week -- Read bird checklist reports and join us for a guided birdwalk -- our Winter-Spring walks continue
Anne Leight returns February 14, Kathe Anderson February 20 – then Troy Corman along with Anne Leight February 28. March 13 with Anne Leight and Troy Corman, March 19 with Kathe Anderson, March 27 with Anne Leight & Mark Ochs.

Craft Classes: Gourd Art, Wine Bottle Wind Chimes - And More
with a credit card ready, call 520-689-2723 to enroll and prepay for classes
Closed Coiling on Gourds Feb. 7, again March 23 $45-$55. an introduction to the closed coiling technique, covering paper rush with waxed linen thread, weaving it onto the rim of a gourd to create a decorative finish. A prepared gourd and all materials will be provided. Students may bring special feathers, beads and other adornments if desired. Depending on skill level, this project may not be finished in class. Materials will be provided to take home to complete the project if necessary. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art to learn the basics before taking this class, but it is not required. Students may take Gourd Art prior to this class to decorate their gourd, but must let instructors know they are doing so.
Thunder Gourds 9am-1pm Feb. 13, April 30. $75-$85. Make a gourd with a synthetic drum head and spring that makes a rumbling thunder-like noise when shaken. We recommend students should have taken a basic Gourd Art class prior to this more advanced workshop, but it is not required. A cleaned and cut gourd and all materials are provided - and students leave with a completed project.
Gourd Masks $85-$105 (2-day class). Wednesday and Thursday, February 17 & 18; Saturday & Sunday, March 5 & 6; Saturday & Sunday, April 9 & 10. Make a mask using half of a gourd in this class. Day one is spent designing the mask, woodburning and applying color. Day 2 is spent adding feathers and other adornments to the mask. A prepared gourd and all materials are provided, but students may bring special feathers, beads and other adornments if they want. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art prior to this class to learn the basics, but it is not required. Students will leave with a completed project.
Wine Bottle Wind Chimes 9am-1pm on February 20. $30-$40. Learn to cut recycled wine bottles to use as the base for a wind chime. Cut bottles will be provided, as well as beads, chain and all materials. Students are encourage to bring needle nose pliers and wire cutters if they have them. Students will leave with a completed project.
Gourd Rain Sticks February 27, April 16. $45-$55. Create the sound of rain with a gourd, chicken wire and rice! Students will be provided a clean prepared gourd and all materials. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art to learn the basics before taking this class, but it is not required. Students will leave with a completed project
Gourd Art 9am-1pm on March 2 and April 6. $35-$45. Basic gourd art includes gourd cleaning and preparation, choosing and drawing a design, woodburning and applying color. A class for beginners and repeat students wanting to improve their skills. A cleaned gourd and all materials are provided; most students leave with a completed project
Terrarium March 11 & March 12 from 10am-3pm. $15. Walk-in class, reservations not needed. Create an indoor garden in a glass container with the succulents of your choice. Large glass containers, soil and rocks will be provided, students will purchase their succulent plants separately. Students may bring special accessories for their terrarium and will leave with a completed project.

Pine Needle Coiling on Gourds, April 20. $45-$55. Students will learn to weave pine needles on the rim of a gourd to create a decorative finish. A clean and prepared gourd and all materials are provided, but students may bring special feathers, beads or other adornments if they like. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art to learn the basics before this class, but it is not required. Students may take Gourd Art prior to this class to decorate their gourd, but must let instructors know they are doing so. Most students will complete their project in class, materials will be provided to finish at home if necessary

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday February 20 at 1:30 pm
1:30 pm - repeats February 20
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

LightRoom 5 Users Group February 21 and again March 26
9:00 - 11:00 AM in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Photographers and digital photo editing enthusiasts coordinate our once-a-month meeting of the LightRoom5 users group. 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. Future dates are February 21 and March 26. Connect with organizers and read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Sunday Wildflowers & Basic Botany Class with Cass Blodgett February 21
in the Smith Building Lecture Room Sunday, February 21 at 1-4pm
Rainy days of December and January forecast spring months with colorful poppies, penstemons and primrose - and Boyce Thompson Arboretum will offer a class in basic botany and wildflower IDs on Sunday, February 21 at 1-4pm. Timed just before the onset of a Spring bloom - Cass Blodgett's wildflower ID class starts with two-hours in the classroom and a slideshow teaching how to distinguish pistils and petals from stamens and stems - then heads outdoors for a wildflower walk around the gardens to see what's in bloom on a Sunday afternoon. The class is included with $10 daily admission; free to BTA annual members - also free if you have an AZ State Parks pass. Pre-registration is not required, but please RSVP by email to so organizers know how many handouts to print (they'd also welcome your $5 donation to cover the cost of printing the colorful, concise pamphlet that will be given to each participant). Post your best wildflower pictures at

Tree Tour February 21 , Sunday
at 1:30pm
So, just what is an Arboretum? BTA staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne leads this walk where visitors learn the answer to that often-posed question during a relaxed and leisurely guided tour through the forested areas of the Arboretum. Join Jeff for a chance to learn about the Arboretum's collection of oak and olive trees, native hackberry, mesquite and many more.

Arizona Tree Climbing Championship February 27
Remember climbing trees as a kid? If you have marvelled at the giant Eucalyptus trees which tower overhead in our Australian Forest, be here February 27 to see Arizona's most skilled tree climbers square-off during the Arizona Community Tree Council's annual competition: a semi-final elimination that sends the Grand Canyon State champion on to the Western regional qualifyer in California. Judged competition categories include aerial rescue, belayed speed-climb, throw line and work climb; competitors are are judged on speed, technique, and safety --- and competing for prizes and prestige in their profession.
Connect with ACTC on Facebook
For details contact Arizona Community Tree Council's Beverly Babb by phone at 602.354.3023 or email to Lunch plans? Bring cash - Tall Order Catering will sell grilled burgers, hotdogs -- and maybe sell chili or soup, too; for about $3-$6 cash.

Geology walking tour February 27 , with Scott McFadden
** 1:30pm - and then March 26 guided by Steve Semken
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour with Scott McFadden on Feb. 27. 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. ASU Professor Steve Semkenis our guide on March 26
Another engaging BTA geology tour guides
is professional geologist Rich Leveille

Bird House Workshop & Kids' Bird Walk February 28, Sunday
8:30am-11am (repeats April 3)
It's spring, the birds are building nests and you can do something to help them out! On two Sundays (February 28 and again April 3) Super Junior Ranger Ruby Kauffman and her avid birding family lead a bird house building workshop for kids -- followed by a guided bird walk especially for children. Sign-up in advance and both the workshop adn the walk are free (FREE!) for children ages 6-15 and includes admission, lumber, tools and instruction, but e-registration is required. The bird houses are sturdy, solid construction homes that will last for years in a tree. The workshop begins promptly at 8:30am. Register by email to (subject line: "Bird House Workshop Sign-Up") and include the number of children ages 6-15 you wish to register. Non-member adults are responsible for their own $10 admission.

Home School Day Tours: March 3 Arizona Tour
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. The Arizona Tour returns on March 3, and our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day for home-schoolers repeats on April 7. Also 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

Book Club meets Friday, March 4:Hopi Summer, by Caroly O'Bagy Davis
March 4, Friday at 9 a.m.
In 1927 Maud Melville, a wealthy New Englander, and Ethel Muchvo, a Hopi potter, struck up a remarkable friendship. Using diaries, letters, and photographs of Ethel and Maud, biographer and historian Carolyn O'Bagy Davis delves into the touching relationship that blossomed between two very different women over many years of triumphs and sorrows. The story of Ethel and Maud also documents a bygone time in Native American history, a ""Hopi summer"" before wrenching change came to the traditional Pueblo world of the Hopi. 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

March 5: Superstition Master Gardeners Landscaping Workshop: ‘Going Native’
11:00 a.m. New arrivals to Arizona soon discover that gardening can be different here; some plants succeed while others fail miserably. What to do? More successful gardening can be achieved by understanding using native plants. Volunteers with the Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners will introduce you to the diverse and interesting world of native plants for the Sonoran Desert. Go Native with help from our local MGs! There's no pre-registration required to attend these once-a-month workshops, and no additional fee or enrollment - these are included with daily admission of $10 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park - and free to BTA annual members, also free if you have an Arizona State Parks annual pass. Mark Your calendar for April 2 when ‘Spice Up Your Life’ is the season finale. For more information about our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email:

Arboretum History Walk Sunday March 6
10am; repeats Sunday again April 3
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

Spring Plant Sale Daily From Friday, March 11 Through Sunday March 27
daily during business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Stock-up on plants for your garden, backyard or patio -- and get expert advice on horticulture and gardening. Arboretum annual members get first pick of the select plant sale stock on the opening "Members only" Friday March 11. Experienced arboretum horticultural staff and Pinal County master gardeners are on hand weekends during the plant sale to answer your questions about plants and landscaping. Bring your University of Arizona ID for free admission any day of the sale - BTA is affiliated with UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, so bring your CatCard and sale $10. Guided nature walks are offered most weekends year-round; check the website to verify 11:00 a.m. guided tours of the main trail, included with daily admission. Invite friends and bring a picnic; explore the scenic gardens and walk more than two miles of paths and trails during a day trip. You may even bring a dog; the arboretum welcomes leashed and well-behaved pets.

March 12 – Equinox Concert with Eric Laubach, Patty Arnold & Gary Kaplowitz
2:30 p.m. Valley guitarist and singer-songwriter Eric Laubach teams-up with acoustic musicians Patty Arnold and Gary Kaplowitz, along with Native American flute player and story-teller Loren Russell for 90 minutes of music and spoken word performance to celebrate the arrival spring. Preview Eric’s style

Welcome Back Buzzards March 26, Saturday, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
7:00-8:30 Vulture Viewing
8:30-10:00 Guided Bird Walk with ASU Professor Dave Pearson
9:00-1:00 Fallen Feathers Wildlife Rescue Living Exhibit of Raptors

March brings the Vernal Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians; the Arboretum celebrates the transition of seasons with our annual Welcome Back Buzzards seasonal salute. 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 opening Saturday to see the 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. Dr. Pearson and others will guide birdwalks through the gardens at 8:30, and from 9:00-2:00 volunteer wildlife rehabbers from Fallen Feathers Wildlife Rescue will have a popular living exhibit of raptors set up near the Smith Building, so kids and adults alike can have closeup views of a real, live Turkey Vulture along with other birds.
View a Bye Bye Buzzards Day event video by Arboretum Volunteer Mike Rolfe

Girl Scout Badge Workshops March 26, April 3 and 23, May 1, 7, 14 and 28
$10 per scout, $10 per adult chaperone - call 520.689.2723 to pre-register and prepay

Girl Scout badge workshops resume March 26 with the Flowers badge for Junior-level scouts; , 'Bugs' for Brownies April 3, and 'Gardener' for Juniors April 23; 'Animal Habitats' for Juniors May 1, 'Senses' for Brownies May 7, 'Wood Worker' for Cadettes May 14 and the 'Arizona' patch for Brownies May 21

April 2: Superstition Master Gardeners Landscaping Workshop: ‘Spice Up Your Life’
am. Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners continue their Winter-Spring once-a-month Saturday seminars. Herbs have been spicing up our lives ever since man threw the first chunk of meat on a fire and are surprisingly easy to grow in the desert. In fact, most like it HOT! Join the Superstition Mountain master gardeners as they share with you how simple it is to add spices to your life and cooking pot. There's no pre-registration required to attend workshops, and no additional fee or enrollment - these are included with daily admission of $10 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park - and free to BTA annual members, also free if you have an Arizona State Parks annual pass. For more information about our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email:

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks 2016
May-through-September guided tours
Reptile activity decreases with cool Fall and Winter temperatures - revisit this page next Spring to see dates for our once-a-month. See photos and read more This entertaining guided tour around the main trail isn't just for kids -- our unique Lizard Walks are popular with all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. There's no additional fee, and no pre-registration necessary, just be in our Visitor Center breezeway at start time. Arrive early and explore - BTA opens at 6:00am during September. Guides include Casa Grande outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci, Abi King from the AZ Game & Fish Department, and also Arizona Audubon's Steven Prager.
See photos and connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook.

Dragonfly Walks 2016
Spring-Summer Saturdays at 8:30 AM
Dragonfly enthusiast and photographer Roger Racut guides our 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. 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, another of our summertime dragonfly walk guides: http://azdragonfly.netBring your camera because Pierre safely nets a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects unharmed