Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

General Tour of the Main Trail Saturday August 8
7:30 AM, also September 12
What bird molts foot-long wing feathers? How old is a 10-foot-tall Saguaro? Can you name a desert plant that has a fruit, seed, or nut at its edible peak in mid-July? Arizona State Parks volunteer Jim Shepherd has the answers to a wide range of natural history questions - and shares anecdotes on an informal guided tour of our 1.5 mile main trail. Jim's once-a-month tours are included with daily $10 admission - and depart the visitor center breezeway at 7:30am (future dates are August 8, and September 12) - read more in our E-newsletter

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk Saturday August 8 with Wild Man Phil and Abi King
8:00 AM, and our season finale is September 12
This entertaining guided walking tour around the main trail isn't just for 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 8:00am start time. Arrive early and explore - BTA opens at 6:00am during August and September. August 8 we have two guides: reptile wrangler and researcher Abi King from the Arizona Game & Fish Department - along with Casa Grande outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' RakociSee photos and connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook. Our season finale September 12 will be guided by Phil -- plus a special guest: Tucson author Larry Jones.
See photos and read more

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday August 15 at 8am
at 8:00am Third Saturday each month again September 19
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. Join Arboretum volunteers on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. From May-through-September this tour moves to a morning start time of 8:00am to take advantage of cooler AM temperatures. 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

Members Only Nighttime Events - Moth Night Saturday August 15
7:30 pm - 10 pm
You've never walked our trails after hours or explored the gardens by flashlight? Saturday August 15 brings another special evening of after-hours access for our annual members -- when BTA partners with the Central Arizona Butterfly Association ( to offer another "Moth Night." The Arboretum will close at 3:00 as usual, then BTA members and CAZBA members are welcome to begin an evening outing with dinner at our Picnic Area frmo 6:00-7:00pm, then learn about insects and night-flying critters during a slideshow from 7:00-8:00pm. Kelly Walterscheid will guide a UV black-light scorpion walk from 8:00-9:00pm -- and during that first hour af
ter dark a powerful mercury vapor light aimed at a white sheet will offer close-up photographers the chance at macros of fascinating insects lured to the light. Vivid green katydids, ant-lions, assassin bugs, desert tarantulas, and even a rare Tiger Rattlesnake were all seen and photographed during our July Moths and Scorpions event. Read more about these events

POSTPONED Tree Tour With Jeff Payne August 16 - moved to September 20, 8am
8:00 am
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.

Geology walking tour Saturday, August 22 , with Steve Semken
**Summer 8:00 am start time; repeats August 22 with Steve Semken
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour with ASU Professor Steve Semken; 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. Geologist Scott McFadden guides this walk September 26; another engaging geology guide is BTA member andprofessional geologist Rich Leveille

Butterfly Walk Saturday August 22
Saturday at 8:30am with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski, and also Adriane Grimaldi - repeats September 26
Adriane Grimaldi is the education director at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale - and Saturday August 22 she's our special guest tourguide leading a walk to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterflies here at the Arboretum, ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. This relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Tour start time is 8:30am our butterfly walk leaders are ASU Professor Ron Rutowski and Adriane Grimaldi. This walk repeats September 26 our special guest is Gail Morris -- coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Butterfly Migration research project, along with Jan Harding and Laura Miller
See Butterfly Photos and Learn IDs from CAZBA

LightRoom 5 Users Group August 22 , Saturday
10am til noon 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. Connect with organizers and read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Sunday Guided Bird Walk August 23
7:30am with Kurt Radamaker and members of the Arizona Field Ornithologists board
Yellow-breasted Chat, Lucy's Warbler, Bell's Vireo,Northern Cardinal and dozens more species were seen and heard around the gardens this week -- Read bird checklist reports and join us for guided walks to learn basic bird identification skills, and where to find birds at BTA. Kurt Radamaker and members of the Arizona Field Ornithologists board guide a special bird walk August 23 at 7:30am, Sunday, prior to their board meeting here.

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Sunday Walk Guided By Dave Morris August 23
**Summer tours at 8:00 am Kathy and Tom McDonald return as guides September 27
Explore our Curandero Trail on a one-hour walk guided by ethno-botanist and Choctaw Tribal Nation member David Morris Sunday August 23; sharing anecdotes about prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves, jojobas -- and explaining ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. This once-a-month Sunday walk repeats September 27 when our guides are desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald; authors, Arizona State Parks Volunteers and owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon. ** Please note: this 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

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class Sunday August 29-30
9:30am. And Don't Miss Superior’s Annual Festival Aug. 22
Have you wanted to pick a peck o’ prickly pears, but didn't know how to remove those painful cactus needles before turning the bright red fruits into tasty jelly – or margaritas? On the final weekend of August we’ll offer back-to-back classes both Saturday and Sunday Aug. 29-30 coaching the finer points of processing the ripe fruit of the season for fresh batches of jelly, jam, syrup and more. Workshops feature Chef Eric & Terri of Tall Order Catering, with their unique spin on cactus cuisine and instruction on de-spining & processing. No pre-registration is necessary for any of these classes, just be in the visitor center breezeway by the 9:30am start time. Over the thousands have attended BTA’s unique series of cactus classes teaching “How To Juice Prickly Pears” -- a summertime series so popular it spawned a cactus culinary festival in the neighboring town of Superior. Our experts share proven techniques to pick, prepare, process and preserve these juicy, seasonal fruits of the Sonoran Desert -- with tasty, healthy prickly pear snacks shared at the end of each class. Learn from prickly pear pickin’ pros! And mark your calendar to attend the 4th Annual Prickly Pear Festival in Superior on Aug. 22. Superior’s culinary celebration of cactus cuisine includes guided desert hike, a pancake breakfast - complete with prickly pear syrup, of course; vendors and guest speakers. Preview the event check out this Prickly Pear Festival Gallery By Jack Haskell

Dragonfly Walk Saturday September 5, again October 3
8:30 AM
Dragonfly enthusiast and photographer Roger Racut guides our once-a-month odonate excursion on Saturday morning September 5 and for our season finale on October 3. This interpreted walking tour takes visitors to Ayer Lake and garden water features -- a chance to learn about these beautiful, fascinating insects. Check out colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website:
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

Camera Basics with Sue Tatterson - Sunday September 6
8:00 - 11:00 am, $20-$30 - call 520.689.2723 to enroll and pre-pay
This thorough class in camera basics coached by Gold Canyon artist Sue Tattersonis a bargain at $20 for BTA members, or $30 for nonmembers. Tatterson has spent nearly three decades behind the lens and is expert in the settings and dials of digital cameras, from simple point-and-shoot models to complex DSLRs. Read more and find links to Sue's websites with a visit to our Photo Class Page

Museum Day Sept. 26 -- FREE admission with Online Coupon - see link below
open 6am - 3pm. The website listed below offers a coupon that you'll receive by email for a free pass to visit the Arboretum -- or a dozen other AZ museums Sept. 26, which is 'Museum Day Live!' a nationwide promotion of by the Smithsonian. Already a BTA member? Then please tell co-workers, friends and neighbors who haven't visited lately - suggest they get a coupon, visit for free, and explore our gardens. And then get your own coupon, and visit one of the other participating museum - see our short list below. 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, or even sit-in with an informal one-hour class at 10 that'll teach you how to pick and process pomegranates -with tasty snacks shared after class. Other museums include the Heard in Phoenix, Deer Valley Rock Art center, Pueblo Grande Museum, Smoki Museum in Prescott, Tubac Presidio, Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction, ASU Art Museum; the complete list is online. Drive up early if you're visiting BTA - daily hours this month are 6am-2pm (starting Oct. 1 hours return to the Fall-Winter schedule of 8am-4pm).

Master Gardener Presentations
resume October 3 with "Hot Plants for Cool Spaces"
, again November 7 and December 5
Volunteers with the Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program resume their Fall-Winter once-a-month Saturday series of seminars October 3 with an 11:00 am presentation about "Hot Plants for Cool Spaces." There's no pre-registration required to attend these once-a-month workshops offered by Superstition Mountain Master Gardener volunteers, and no additional fee or enrollment - these are included with daily admission of $10 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. November 7 brings "Co-existing With Wildlife", and December 5 the topic is Plants of the Mediterranean. For more info about our local Master Gardeners group, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at

Butterfly Walk with a Special Monarch Morning for Kids Saturday,October 10
from 9am-noon

a special class on that Saturday morning for ages 5-12 where kids will learn about the amazing migration and life cycle of monarch butterflies. Kids who are pre-registered for the 10 a.m. "Science & Stories" workshop devoted to monarch migration will get free admission as a bonus (otherwise daily admission's $5 for kids age 5-12). Pre-registration is required, and participating kids must be accompanied by a parents or adult chaperone. Enroll by email to: with a subject line of your email reading "Lacey - Sign Me Up For science & Stories" - and make sure to list the number of children you'll bring, and ages of each. The morning includes a story about monarch butterflies, followed by a presentation about the insects migration. Kids will have a chance to see live monarch butterflies, and also make a "milkweed ball" with instruction.

Home School Day Tours: November 5 'Edible Medicinal Plants;' Plants of the Bible Lands December 3
for details email Lacey at or call 520. 689. 2723
Guided tours offered to public school groups are also available to home-schoolers on special Fall-Winter dates. This year we're adding a new tour and date, with an Edible-Medicinal Plants guided walk and activity November 5, and then our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day for home-schoolers is December 3. To be on the email list for the 2016 schedule, and for more information email education coordinator lacey at to be notified about dates

Craft Classes: Gourd Art, Wine Bottle Wind Chimes - And More
Wine Bottle Wind Chimes 9am-1pm on Nov. 4; repeats Jan. 6, 2016 and Feb. 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.
Thunder Gourds 9am-1pm Nov. 8; repeats Jan. 20, 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. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art prior to this class to learn the basics, but it is not required. A cleaned and cut gourd and all materials are provided and students leave with a completed project.
Gourd Art 9am-1pm Nov. 7, Jan. 2, Feb. 6, March 2 and April 6. $35-$45. Basic gourd art includes gourd cleaing 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
Closed Coiling on Gourds Jan. 23, Feb. 7, 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.
Gourd Mask $85-$105 (2-day class). Saturday & Sunday, January 16 & 17; 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.
Gourd Rain Sticks Feb. 3, Feb. 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
Living Succulent Wreath or Centerpiece. Dec 2, Dec. 6. $30-$40. Students will make a living wreath or centerpiece using succulent cuttings. Plants and all materials are provided, but students may bring special bows or other items for decoration. Students will leave with a completed project.
Pine Needle Coiling on Gourds, Jan. 3, also 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
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.

Girl Scout Badge Workshops 2015-2016
Nov. 14 & 15, Dec. 5, Jan. 9, Jan. 30 and more Winter-Spring dates
$10 per scout, $10 per adult chaperone - call 520.689.2723 to pre-register and prepay

Letterboxer (for Brownie level scouts); Nov. 14 from 10am-12:30pm. Learn the history of letterboxing, and how to read a letterbox map and code. They will then create their own letterbox, making a unique handmade stamp and notebook. The Scouts will then break into small groups and go on a letterbox hunt in the Arboretum’s Demonstration Garden, using clues from letterbox maps to locate letterboxes hidden earlier by Arboretum staff. Cadette scouts have the "Trees" badge session Nov. 15 from 9am-1:30pm, exploring the variety of trees at the Arboretum with an arborist and learning about care, needs and parts of a tree. Participants will make a tree journal, a tasty dish with ingredients that come from trees, and make a family tree with tree cookies. *Depending on season and need, Scouts may be able to help plant or care for a tree. Dec. 5 Junior scouts have the "Arizona" badge from 9am-12:30pm. The Arboretum is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is the perfect place to learn about the diverse cultures, wildlife and plant life that make Arizona unique. The Girl Scouts will tour behind the scenes of the Arboretum to see how a state park operates, and hike the trail to learn to identify plants and wildlife. Scouts will also learn to prepare Navajo tacos, taste foods from native plants and participate in activities designed to teach about the history of Arizona (Cadettes have this badge workshop Jan. 9, 2016.Other 2016 workshops include Geocatching for Juniors Jan. 30, Flowers for Juniors March 26, '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

Calling All Authors -- Arboretum Book Festival November 21
Meet authors from across southern Arizona, writers from genres ranging from historical fiction and non-fiction, to mystery and suspense, memoir and children's books. Our Autumn foliage remains glorious in early December, here's a chance 'to meet the person behind the pen' and take home personalized holiday gifts for bookworms on your list. Plans for the day include readings by select authors, music; maybe even a writing workshop!
Visit our website in November for the agenda and list of participating authors; and authors who'd like to be involved, please contact co-coordinators ____________ Or call BTA 520. 689. 2723

Arboretum History Walk Sunday FALL DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
this tour resumes in October
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 on a walking tour guided by Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee. Walks typically last about 90-minutes, departing at 10am from the Visitor Center breezeway. Correspond with Sylvia, or read more about

Spider Talk -- and Web Walk -- Saturday with Terry Stone
Saturday, May 30th, 10 a.m. in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Are you (or someone you know) just a wee-bit squeamish when it comes to the subject of spiders? If a spider is on your ceiling, do you contemplate burning down the house to get rid of it? Now is a good time to allay those fears and learn a few fascinating things about our eight-legged friends. Spider enthusiast and BTA writer/photographer T. Stone offers you a chance to familiarize yourself with the common local spiders and will help dispel any qualms you may have of them. Did you know that brown recluses don't exist in Arizona, but other, less venomous, members of the same spider family do? Did you know that black widows are exceedingly shy of humans? Did you know that we have such fascinating arachnids as spitting spiders and "wind scorpions." T. Stone will present a slide show, live specimens, and then walk you around a portion of the BTA to look at various webs and arachnids. No more need for that rolled up newspaper! Get rid of your arachnophobia with a little practical instruction and a few laughs in this informal talk. Free with general admission or membership. Kids are welcome to attend with their grown-ups, but this is not a talk designed for young children.

Camera Basics: Moving To Manual With Michael Madsen & Patty Van Herpen
DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED call 520-689-2723 to be on our mailing list f
Looking for an inexpensive class in photography and camera basics? Sign-up soon for this one: an informal but thorough Saturday afternoon that begins with classroom time, then moves outdoors for in-the-field camera practice and coaching. One recent participant wrote this: "I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this class, it was extremely helpful to me. The instructors, specially Michael, were professional, knowledgable and were able to relate well to the group. Thanks so much.". Here's one more: ""I loved the camera class given by Michael & Patty! Information was presented very well and the hands-on shoot that afternoon very helpful. An informative, and also fun class as well. BTA is one of my favorite places to go for learning." Read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Bye-Bye Buzzards - on a September Saturday To Be Announced
7am Vulture Viewing, 8:30am bird walk, 9am-1pm Live Bird Exhibit
March 21 brings the Spring 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 'Welcome Back Buzzards' seasonal send-off. with a special Saturday early opening at 7:00 am, one hour early for this month, 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 our special 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 the Arizona Game & Fish Department will have their popular living exhibit of raptors and reptiles set up near the Smith Building, so kids and adults alike can have closeup views of a real, live Turkey Vulture along with hawks and owls.
View a Bye Bye Buzzards Day event video by Arboretum Volunteer Mike Rolfe

Full Moon Drum Circle DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Looking for a unique way to salute the rising full moon? Cindy Green is organizing a ‘Full Moon Drum Circle’ on that Sunday evening, two hours of participatory percussion beneath our towering and shady trees that encircle the Smith Building courtyard. Drummers are invited to call Cindy Green at 480-299-4129, or to email Cindy at [] for details. Green coaches drum-building workshops, and says all drums are welcome. No percussion? No problem! Green will bring a few loaners for those who wish to participate and revel in the ancient sound of drums echoing in the towering hackberry and mesquite trees which shade the Smith Building front courtyard. BTA closes at ____ p.m. during ______; we'll reopen the main gate at ______ for BTA members on this special evening. The two-hour drum circle begins at_______, continuing through sunset and by the light of the rising full moon, expected at _________, ending and closing the park again at dark _______. You're not among our members yet, but would like to join us and attend? Membership starts at $50 for a full year for a couple - and that includes a pair of one-time-use guests passes to bring two friends or family for a visit; with a credit card ready call 520-689-2723 to order a membership by phone. View a short film clip of Cindy Green drumming at BTA

Members-Only Evening Access - Scorpion Walk And Astronomy DATE TBA
Hot SUMMER daytime temperatures drop at sunset; evening hours from 6:00-8:00 p.m. can be a sublime time to enjoy a picnic and walk around our gardens -- which is why we reserve special access on Summer nights for Arboretum annual members! June 13 brings our next evening of special after-hours-access; bring your own picnic for dinner in the shady picnic area from 6:30-7:30pm, followed by nighttime activities including a scorpion walk and astronomy. Bring your BTA membership card, and join us for an evening of special access including:
* gate reopens at 6:30 pm - bring-your-own dinner for an evening in our picnic area
* Scorpion Lecture 7:30-8:30 p.m.
* UV "Scorp Walk" 8:30-9:30
* Astronomy in the upper parking lot 9:30-10:00 p.m.