Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

October - November - December Hours Daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
> No Entry After 4:00 PM
The Arboretum is open every day except Christmas, December 25, hours are 8-5 daily during our Fall - Winter schedule. Visitors are not admitted after 4:00, so our final guests each day still have one full hour to walk the gardens and trails.

Guided Bird Walks October 28, 29 - also November 4, 11, 13, 18 and 19
8:30 A.M. bright red resident Northern Cardinals are among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens here every week --Read bird checklist reports and learn where to find them on guided 8:30 a.m. birdwalks. New Weekly Friday bird walks that continue October 28, November 4 and 11 -- plus our weekend birdwalk series that continues with Charlie Babbitt October 29, Troy Corman November 13, Cynthia Donald & Pete Moulton November 19, Cindy West and Cindy Marple November 27, Marceline VandeWater December 3, Anne Leight and Kathe Anderson December 11.

Sunday Weekly Guided Walk of the Main Trail - Also on Saturday, November 5
11:00 AM tour start time during Fall - Winter months
Arizona State Parks volunteers narrate Arboretum history and point out colorful plants, birds, and seasonal changes on weekly guided walking tours, every Sunday of October and November at 11:00 a.m. Jim Shepherd guides his special Saturday walk on November 5, including a tasting of desert edibles such as prickly pear and mesquite. Meet
in the visitor center breezeway; tours are free to BTA annual members, also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass – and included with daily admission $10 for nonmembers.

Beginning Birding Basics: Equipment &Bird Identification Saturday, October 29
9:00 a.m. til Noon -- and repeats November 12
Are you interested in getting into bird watching, but unsure how to start? Carol and Tom Sykes present a new class that begins indoors coaching how to use binoculars, then progresses to sharing basic bird identification tips – followed by a guided bird walk through the gardens to practice your new skills. Bring binoculars, if you have them – or borrow one of our loaners if you don’t (ask in the gift shop when you arrive). Living onsite this Fall as resident park host volunteers, Tom Sykes retired from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and is owner and co-founder of the Wisconsin Birding Network Listserv. Carol is the former executive secretary for the Madison Audubon Chapter and previous owner/operator of Arete Bird Tours. Now living on the road as retired, fulltime RVers, they enjoy travel -- with a strong emphasis on birding. They have traveled extensively in the U.S. and Canada but mainly enjoy south of the border adventures in Mexico, and Central and South America (recently to South Africa). This new class is free to BTA annual members and also AZ State Parks pass-holders; included with $10 daily admission for nonmembers. Spaces are limited, though; please RSVP by email to Lacey

Carla Keaton's ‘Paint & Wine’ Classes Monthly October 29, November 12 and December 3
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 (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." Read more about Carla and her art
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 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:

Home School Day Tours 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. Our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day for home-schoolers on November 3; and then 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

Book Club Friday, November 4 - Lady Lost, the Story of the Honeymoon Cottage in Jerome, AZ
9:00 a.m. When Margaret Graziano purchased the Honeymoon Cottage in Jerome, Arizona, she embarked on an unexpected journey of discovery that dramatically changed the course of her life. She shares the remarkable account of her efforts to restore and preserve the “Jewel of Jerome,” in her book Lady Lost, The Story of the Honeymoon Cottage. 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

Gourd Art for Beginners November 5
10 a.m. (class repeats January 8, February 4)
Try your hand at a new art form this fall; gourd art offer a three-dimensional canvas, gourds are inexpensive, and a medium you can paint, etch, carve, burn, stitch, emboss upon -- or all of the above. Vicki & Gerald Johnson’s popular introductory workshop in Basic Gourd Art returns Saturday (Nov. 5) and spaces are available, to enroll call 520.689.2723 with your credit card ready to prepay the $40 fee ($50 for nonmembers). A class for beginners and repeat students wanting to improve their skills - basic gourd art includes gourd cleaning and preparation, choosing and drawing a design, wood-burning and applying color.

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 5 when green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program resume their informal series of Saturday morning once-a-month outdoor workshops. Do you have children, grandchildren -- or are you young at heart? Join the MGs November 5 at 11am for an enchanting tour of the Arboretum’s Children’s’ Garden where you'll see ways that color, patterns, annuals, smelly plants and whimsical garden art can make us young again.Next month brings “Coming to Your Senses” Saturday, December 3 (again at 11am); hHave you ever grown a daisy that smells like chocolate or a plant that sounds like a rattlesnake? Join us in planning a garden using plants that evoke the senses and know how to create your own special sensory collage. Workshops resume February 4, 2017, with
“Fruits of Your Labor” - which explains how, ever since man first tasted the apple, luscious fruit has become essential to our diet. In Arizona we can grow apples, oranges, lemons, peaches, figs, plums, apricots, pomegranates and more in our backyards and even patios! Make your desert garden more “fruitful.”

Beyond Color & Shape > Advanced Birding with Kathe Anderson November 6, Sunday
8:30 a.m.

$10 members ($20 nonmembers)
You’ve been looking at birds, can correctly identify several common species, but can’t yet organize them in a meaningful way to make better use of your field guide. This interactive class focused on bills, behavior and families, will help you narrow the choices and begin sorting-out differences between some easily confused species, such as tanagers and orioles, vireos and warblers, and ducks and other waterfowl. After about an hour in class, we’ll head out onto the Arboretum’s trails for about 90 minutes to put what we’ve learned in practice, with time for questions throughout and during wrap-up at the end. Call 520.689.2723 to register. Fee is $10 for BTA members ($20 non-members). Over the last twelve years, Kathe has developed a series of interactive classes for beginning and intermediate birders which she has taught at nature festivals, state parks, preserves and private venues throughout Arizona. She leads regular bird walks at the Arboretum and for several Audubon chapters and conservancies; she is a participant in many citizen science bird counts, in part to help establish and monitor Important Bird Areas

Sunday History Walk - November 6 and December 4
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

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Kathy and Tom McDonald November 12
1:30 p.m. > tour repeats Sunday November 27
Explore our Curandero Trail on a slow-paced walk guided by local authors and desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald, owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon . During this leisurely one-hour Saturday afternoon walk November 12 you'll 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. Special guest guide for the Sunday November 27 tour is Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris.
** 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

Sunday Special Butterfly Walk with Gail Morris November 13 -- Season Finale
9:30 a.m.
Gail Morris found so much Butterfly variety in our gardens on her October walk that she offered to lead a "Sunday Special" season finale butterfy walk November 13 -- 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 butterflies in this interview with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

LightRoom 5 Users Group November 13
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. The month's photo assignment is Día de Muertos/Day of the Dead, Halloween, All's Saints/All Soul's Day; and during the Sunday morning meetup Moderator Jack Haskell will give the featured presentation explaining histograms, and how to interpret them to improve your exposures and composition
. These informal once-a-month 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

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday November 19
1:30 Start Time, repeats on the third Saturday each month this Fall - Winter
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

Tree Tour with Jeff Payne November 20
1:30 pm
Silviculturally-speaking, and since an Arboretum is by definition a living collection of trees - what guided tour could be more fitting here than a once-a-month "Trees of BTA" guided walk? We invite those who love all things sylvan and want to learn more about trees to be here for a relaxed, slow-paced afternoon tour featuring Arboretum staffer and certified Arborist Jeff Payne (on alternate months, Horticultural Specialist Miguel Hernandez), a chance to learn about trees both native to the Sonoran Desert and exotic, with a skilled professional's tips on tree care and horticulture

Thanksgiving weekend Fall Foliage Finale Festival November 26 - 27
11am - 3 pm live music, arts & crafts - and food
Catch the last of Arizona's fall colors here, around our gardens - where famous Chinese pistachio trees typically show their best shades of harvest gold, pumpkin orange and burgundy during the last two weeks of November, peak color typically around Thanksgiving Weekend. Our annual Fall Foliage Finale Festival Thanksgiving weekend includes live music Saturday hosted by Russ Braman, playing beneath the canopy of colorful trees along with arts and crafts vendors nearby including ceramic artist Ellen Winstead, San Tan Valley jewelry artisans Barbara & Adi Pohan, and more. Chef Eric Naddy of Tall Order Catering will have hearty soup or chili (perhaps both) for $4-$6 cash, and our popular hot-spiced cider will be available til supplies run out. Sunday music by Nouveau Papillon (Scott Schaefer and Mark Benset sharing the stage and filling Queen Creek Canyon with ethereal flute, harp, didgeridoo and guitar starting around 11:00 a.m.). Check the progress of Fall color and see new photos posted daily at
Confirm BTA event dates and times at

Geology walking November 26
** 1:30 p.m.
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with Professional geologist Phil St. George as your guide; his 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. Another of our engaging BTA geology tour guides is professional geologist Rich Leveilleand get acquainted with another charismatic rock walk guide, ASU Professor Steve Semken

Spring 2017 Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks
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. expert guides include Arizona Audubon naturalist Steven Prager, along with with Arizona Game & Fish Department reptile researcher Dan Leavitt, and Jamie Wisenall; watch a sneak preview of their Lizard Walk on Arizona Wildlife Views YouTube
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

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

Dragonfly Walks May - June July 2017
8:30 AM
Our once-a-month odonate excursion is 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.