Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

Most Special Events Included With Admission
$12.50 for Adults, $5 for Ages 5-12

September Hours 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - October Daily from 8:00 - 5:00
September ends our Summer schedule, hours are daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and no entry after 2:00 so our final visitors have a full hour to enjoy the trails and gardens. Summer hours end October 1 when the Fall-Winter schedule resumes and BTA is open 8:00 to 5:00 daily

Guided Bird Walks Oct0ber 6-7-8, also October 20-21-22
8:30 a.m.
Arboretum guided bird walks are an ideal way to get into birding and to sharpen your skills – beginners are welcome. No binoculars are no problem! Ask in our gift shop when you pay admission – loaner binoculars are available. Lisa & Peggy team-up to lead Friday bird walks October 6 & 20 starting at 8:30 a.m.; Arizona Audubon wildlife biologists Cathy Wise & Steven Prager guide on Saturday Oct. 7, with Kathe Anderson scheduled Sunday Oct. 8. Mark Ochs is the guide Oct. 21; Anne Leight Oct. 22, Lisa & Peggy return Nov. 3, then Rich Ditch & Mark Ochs Nov. 4. Want to check recent bird sightings? Read our hot-spot page on Ebird

Book Club Friday, October 6: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
9:00 a.m.
Stopby our gift shop and get your copy of Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya - wooden shade ramadas in the Demonstration Garden here offer a great place to read on a September day beneath towering shade trees. Our BTA book club showcases a new title each month, with a lively discussion that meets on the First Friday . Rudolfo Anaya won the Pen Center West Award for Fiction for his unforgettable novel Alburquerque, but he is perhaps best loved for this classic bestseller, Bless Me, Ultima. Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past-a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world...and who will nurture the birth of his soul.
Our BTA Book club we showcase a new title each month with a lively discussion that meets on the first friday each month. Attendance at our once-a-month meetup is included with $12.50 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). 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 an RSVP to Vicki Johnson:
email meeting coordinator Vicki

History Walk with Sylvia Lee Saturday October 7
10:00 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? Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee narrates this two-hour walking tour focused on the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson, and his Arboretum. Sylvia's tour moves to 10:00 a.m. and on Saturday October 7, the same month that Arboretum daily hours return to the 8:00 to 5:00 Fall and Winter schedule.
READ MORE about arboretum history

Butterfly Walk with Gail Morris October 8 - a Special Sunday Bonus
9:00 am
Butterfly populations spike each October, and enthusiastic guide Gail Morris will lead a ‘Sunday Bonus’ walk teaching about them Oct. 8. Gail coordinates Monarch Butterfly migration research, and will to bring her net to (safely) capture any low-hanging monarchs for tagging as part of the international migration study which was initiated here at BTA a decade ago. Gail coordinates volunteers with the Southwest Monarch Study netting, tagging and safely releasing the insects to continue their journey, in hopes people will spot one of the fingernail-sized white tags on a rear wing, and report the number by email. More than 600 volunteers have tagged thousands of monarchs since the project began here at BTA in 2005, helping map migration routes. Meet researcher Gail Morris, Coordinator of this special Sunday butterfly walk. She'll give us an update about the ongoing research. Gail's also an ‘asclepias evangelist,’ expect her to point-out these butterfly-friendly plants in BTA gardens, offering advice about how you can plant 'em in your yard, too, as a way you can personally help bolster the dwindling species. Connect with monarch study volunteers and read more at:

Fall Plant Sale Daily October 13 - 29
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
Our 2017 Fall Plant Sale opens Friday October 13 with our special Members-Only preview day of shopping, and then continues daily through October 29. Wondering if we have specific plants in stock? Call our staff during daily business hours at
Fall Plant Sale brings a great selection, also a prime time to buy annual membership at BTA, our annual members save 20-percent on plant purchases during this fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, cacti and succulents. Need planting and landscaping advice? Arboretum staff are joined by helpful volunteers from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program there to advise and assist buyers with suggestions for trees and smaller plants ideal for awide range of landscaping projects. Special events during the October plant sale include lectures, guided tours and weekend wildflower walks; most are included with daily admission of $12.50. Experienced BTA horticultural staff and Master Gardeners grow many of the the plants we sell, and they maintain many of these same plants in the gardens and plant exhibits throughout the grounds - so they know firsthand how these plants perform, from nursery pot to maturity in your garden or landscape.

Tom's Top Ten Landscape Plants – Friday Guided Garden Walks October 13 & 20
9:00 a.m. and included with daily admission -- no advance signup necessary
Bring photos of your front yard, back patio or landscape blueprints and you can get expert advice on ideal trees, shrubs, cacti, flowers and herbs that thrive in our corner of Arizona. Smiling Dog Landscapes owner Tom McDonald returns on the special ‘Members Only’ Friday Oct. 13 to guide his popular Tom's Top Ten walking tour as a special 9:00 a.m. kick-off for the plant sale (and repeats the walk Oct. 20). Tom's leisurely stroll proceeds down to the Demonstration Garden where he explains the relative merits of trees ranging from Mesquite to Palo Verde to Eucalyptus and spotlights a short list of his favorite plants, and why they're excellent choices for gardening and landscaping in Pinal County and central Arizona. There's no pre-registration required and no fee to attend, Tom's walk is free to BTA annual members and also free if you have an Az State Parks annual pass (included with $12.50 daily admission for nonmembers). Got plant questions?
Connect with Tom & Kathy on Fb

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Jim Shepherd October 14
1:30 p.m. in October, when daily hours are 8:00 - 5:00
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail guided by desert plants enthusiast Jim Shepherd. This leisurely one-hour walk is your chance to 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.
                      ** 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

Intro to Photography Walk - October 15
10:00 a.m.
RSVP by email or phone to MiMi
Valley photographers MiMi, Jack, Tim, Mark and Kathy have photographed landscapes and people from Arizona to the Mediterranean, criss-crossing America, west to east and north to south exploring national parks, urban landscapes and exploring subjects through portrait, close-up photography. The quintet of photographers volunteer a day here at the Arboretum each month -- sharing their camera skills and coaching beginners. The goal is to share a few basic camera lessons while photographing the gardens. These photo walks include time for participants to learn basic camera functions ranging from aperture and exposure to white balance. In addition, participants will be able to ask their specific questions answered in a supportive small groups, each with a friendly camera coach whose goal is to "put the fun in camera functions, and eliminate aspects of photography that can be intimidating to beginners."
there's no separate fee to attend - these informal sessions are included with $12.50 daily admission; free to Arboretum annual members and Arizona State Parks pass-holders. RSVP by email to MiMi for the next photography walkabout
Read more and RSVP by Email or Phone

Tree Tour October 15 Sunday at 1:30 a.m.
tours move to 1:30 p.m. October-through-April
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 certified Arborist Jeff Payneor else 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.

Digital Photographers Roundtable October 21 , Saturday
10:00 a.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet October 21 (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m. in the Smith Building Lecture room. Beginners are definitely welcome to attend this popular recurring meetup, which includes programs and platforms beyond LightRoom and Photoshop. There's no additional charge to attend; meetings are free to BTA annual members and Az State Parks pass-holders, and included with $12.50 daily admission to nonmembers.
Planning to attend? This brief survey helps organizers plan their agenda each month
Monthly meetings usually include on-screen demonstrations of digital editing tools and techniques, discussion of artistic elements such as composition and lighting - and friendly critique of participants' photos. For more detail, Email Tim a brief RSVP, and feel free to mention your preferred editing software:

Home School Days October 24, November 17, December 7
We offer homeschool families several of the same programs and guided tours that are popular with thousands of public school kids who visit, and October 24 we debut a new one: ‘Backyard Butterflies’. Homeschool day programs begin at 11:00 am, spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. Students age 4-18 may attend, along with 2 parents or adult chaperones. Pre-pay $2 enrollment per person (that’s both kids and adults), with $12.50 for additional adults who attend. Have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours (6am-3pm August-September, 8am-5pm in October). Questions – or want to be added to the email list for Homeschool Day announcements? Email
• Backyard Butterflies October 24 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Our flower gardens are butterfly magnets and students will learn about butterflies, see them on plants in our collections, study the amazing migration of monarch butterflies. Guest instructor Gail Morris is a BTA annual member who coordinates the Southwest Monarch Study, and Gail will explain the
importance of international Monarch Watch Conservation.
• Plants of the Bible Lands November 17, Friday. Pomegranate, palm, fig, pine and more than a dozen other plants that originated in the Middle East are referenced in scripture – and thrive in our lovely gardens. Using references from ancient texts, guides describe how people of the Bible Land used plants as food, medicine, and shelter in ways that have modern Sonoran Desert parallels.
• Edible & Medicinal Desert Plants Thursday, December 7. Native Americans and Spanish settlers used plants for fiber, food, medicine and shelter – from prickly pear cactus pads and fruit to agaves, saguaro, mesquite and palo verde. These plants are explained with interpretive signs along our Currandero Trail; walk the trail with our guides to see these plants in their natural habitat and sample tastes unique to our Sonoran Desert.

Butterfly Walk October 28 , Saturday -- Season Finale
at 9:30 a.m. with Adriane Grimaldi as our guide
Join us for a guided butterfy walk each month this Summer -- a walking tour to see, photograph and learn about colorful species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. This leisurely, slow-paced guided tour proceeds along paths that are wheelchair-accessible, exploring our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Butterfly Wonderland's Education Director Adriane Grimaldi leads our season finale walk Oct. 28 when the tour moves to 9:30 a.m.

Geology Guided Walk October 28 , Saturday -- at 1:30 p.m.
1:30 start times in October when daily hours are 8:00 - 5:00
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with Scott McFaddenas your guide. His lively 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 'Rock Star' among our guide cadre is professional Geologist Rich Leveille and get acquainted withASU Professor Steve Semken

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk
November 4

10:00 a.m.
Phoenix historian and author Sylvia Lee guides monthly walking tours narrating nuggets of Arboretum history - and putting her anecdotes in perspective next to 1920s structures, and the very first trees planted here. On Saturday November 4, starting at 10:00 a.m., Sylvia host another slideshow of vintage photos projected enlarged on a big screen - a chance to get better acquainted with Col. William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum. This was also arranged for history fans who are physically unable to walk the 1.5 mile main trail. During an hour in our air-conditioned Lecture Room, Sylvia will show images of vintage historic structures and arboretum gardens while sharing her behind-the-scenes knowledge from spending the past decade researching the history of Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
READ MORE about arboretum history

Beginning Oil & Acrylic Painting 2 Day Workshop with Carla Keaton
November 12-13
Professional artist Carla Keaton expands upon her popular series of ‘art & wine’ basic painting classes with a new 2-day course for beginning painters to master basic techniques, properly use tools and media, and apply color strategically – and with flair! No experience necessary, although Carla says that some drawing experience will be helpful. Students may choose oil or acrylic and will receive instruction, demonstration, samples, and a series of student practice exercises. Enrollment is $285 for Arboretum annual members ($310 non-members). A supply list will be provided upon registration - students should expect to spend $75 - $100 for materials.
Questions? Contact Carla at or 480-228-1500.
Carla Keaton earned a degree from ASU in Fine Art and Physical Anthropology; she specializes in portraits and has illustrated several children’s books. Carla was recently a recipient of the 2016 ARDG (Artist Research and Development Grant) funded by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the State of Arizona, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Connect with Carla

Pinal Master Gardeners Workshop DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Fall, Winter and Spring Saturdays
Green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program host a series of Saturday morning once-a-month outdoor workshops. For more information about our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email:

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk
future dates are TO BE ANNOUNCED
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. This tour narrates palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other Plants of the Bible Land. Tours usually move to 1:30 p.m. during Fall and Winter months; date from October-through-April are TO BE ANNOUNCED.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. Read more about
Plants of the Bible Lands on Facebook
The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths.
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.