Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

Daily Hours 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. May-through-September
From June-through-September the Arboretum hours are on summer schedule, open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with no entry after 2:00 so our final visitors have a full hour to enjoy the trails and gardens.
Summer hours continue through September.


Geology Guided Walk June 24 , Saturday -- at 8:00 a.m.
Tour repeats July 22
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with ASU Professor Steve Semken June 24, or with world-traveled gold prospector and professional geologist Phil St. George when he's our featured guide on July 22. This 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. Scott McFaddenis also among our guide cadre, and Geologist Rich Leveille

Saturday Intro to Photography Walk June 24
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

Butterfly Walk June 24 , Saturday, at 9:00 AM
start time moves to 8:30 a.m. July 22 and August 26
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. 8:30 a.m. is the start time June 24 with Marceline VandeWater as our guide; Ron Rutowski returns to guide this walk again July 22 and August. 26. Read more about butterflies in this interview with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris June 25
starts at 8:00 a.m. June 25 and again July 23
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail guided by desert plants enthusiast Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris . 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. Summertime tours move to 8:00 a.m. June 25 with Dave, and then July 23 and Aug. 27 our special guest tourguide is Jim Shepherd. Dave Morris returns Sept. 24.
                      ** 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

June 25 Painting Class with Chuck Davison: Dragonflies
11am – 2pm; classes with Chuck repeat July 30 and September 24
$35 - $47.50 with credit card ready call 520.689.2723 to enroll (daytime business hours 630am-3pm)
Among the charms of downtown Superior are building brightened by colorful murals; perhaps you’ve recognized a signature whimsical style of Southwestern contemporary scenes from art magazines and event posters. This month artist Chuck Davison invites you to learn basic painting -- and take home your own unique piece -- following a beginners’ painting class where he’ll give step-by-step instruction and coaching to help beginners paint a colorful Dragonfly design. Enrollment of $35 for Arboretum annual members and $47.50 nonmembers includes all art supplies you'll need for the class (includes the day's admission, too, for nonmembers). June 25 enrollees will complete a dragonfly painting. Taught in the air-conditioned lecture room of the historic Smith Building from 11am-2pm, enrollment includes canvas, paint, brushes, embellishments - plus light refreshments. Children are welcome to register along with an adult chaperone; both must be registered and pre-paid for the class. To register have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff during daytime business hours 6:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Painting Classes Continue in June, July, August, September

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk July 1, Saturday
10 a.m.
On the first Sunday each month Phoenix historian and author Sylvia Lee guides a walking tour around the main trail, a chance to hear fascinating nuggets of Arboretum history narrated - putting her anecdotes in perspective when you're standing right next to 1920s-era structures, or the very first trees planted around Arizona's oldest botanical garden. As a special Summer bonus July 1, Sylvia's hosting a 10am slideshow of vintage photos projected enlarged on a big screen - a chance to get better acquainted with Col. Thompson and his namesake 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. Her talk is included with $12.50 daily admission; free to our annual members - also free to Az State Parks pass-holders.
READ MORE about arboretum history

Sunday History Walk with Sylvia Lee July 2
8:00 a.m. Start Time July 2 and August 6
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. READ MORE about arboretum history

Guided Bird Walk July 7 - Friday - at 6:30 a.m.
6:30 a.m .
A dozen Yellow-breasted Chats were counted during our annual Spring migrant bird census; visit this week to hear their vocal chorus around the gardens. Sharpen your birding skills on a bird walk July 7 guided by Lisa and Peggy at 6:30 a.m. What colorful birds are likely? Read the latest intel about BTA bird sightings at:

Book Club Friday, July 7 - The Harvey Girls, Women Who Opened the West
9:00 a.m.

Stopby our gift shop and get your copy of The Harvey Girls, Women Who Opened the West by Lesley Poling-Kempes; wooden shade ramadas in the Demonstration Garden offer a great place to read beneath towering shade trees. Join our BTA book club this summer - we showcase a new title each month, with a lively Friday morning discussion. 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). The Harvey Girls came West in the 1880's to work as waitresses in Fred Harvey's restaurants along the Santa Fe Railway. There weren't many women West of Dodge City and although they came as waitresses, many of them stayed in the West, helping to settle the growing frontier. The Harvey Girls, Women Who Opened the West by Lesley Poling-Kempes uses interviews and personal accounts as well as historical research to tell the stories of these women who served travelers into the 1950's. 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

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks July 8 - also July 29 and 30
8:00 a.m.
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. 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. Walks continue July 8 with 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci as our guide watch a sneak preview of their Lizard Walk on Arizona Wildlife Views YouTube
July ends with a special weekend of reptile walks, Phil Rakoci guides Saturday July 29 and also Sunday July 30 when he's joined by Arizona Audubon naturalist Steven Prager and Cathy Wise
Phil, Dan & Jamie are a trio of guides for the walks August 12 and September 9.
See photos and read more

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday July 15
8:00 a.m. repeats August 19 and September 16
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. Dave is a Mesa resident and Bible scholar, and alternates a trio of themed tours. July 15 brings ' Food Plants’ and in August Dave’s topic will be Trees; Septemer features 'Unusual Food' theme. History, scripture and biblical botany are narrated during this relaxed, slow-paced walk through gardens that are all easily accessible for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. Connect with David and Check out a few 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.

Lightroom, PhotoShop & More - Digital Photographers Meet July 15 , Saturday
9:00 a.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet June 17 (Saturday) at 9:00 a.m. in the Smith Building Lecture room. Beginners are definitely welcome to attend this popular recurring meetup, which expands this year to include programs and platforms beyond LightRoom and Photoshop. There's no additional charge to attend, the 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:

Tree Tour with Certified Arborist Jeff Payne July 16 Sunday at 8:00 a.m.
8:00 am Summer start time; tour repeats August 20
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, 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.

‘Paint & Wine’ Class with Carla Keaton July 22, Saturday
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Carla Keaton, owner of the Keaton Fine Art Gallery, hosts seasonal ‘Paint and Wine’ classes ansd her next is Sunday July 22. “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.”
Enrollment of $35 for Arboretum members and $47.50 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 photos and read more about Carla,
Connect with Carla on Facebook or call her at 480-228-1500 or email

A Midsummer Night's Dream – After-Dark Photography Shoot
July 22, Saturday, from 9:00 p.m. til Midnight
Lisa Langell hosts special after-hours access during a ‘dark skies’ night that could be optimal for astro-photography. The Arboretum closes at 3:00 pm during July; the entry gate will re-open to prepaid and pre-registered photographers for this special nighttime shoot was purposefully scheduled to be under the NEW moon (not the full moon), making lighting conditions for night photography optimal. This session does not have an indoor classroom portion - participants will meet in the Arboretum parking lot, then walk to Ayer Lake for the second half of the shoot. > Please note that July weather can be stormy; predictions for cloud cover may postpone this shoot to a later date -- participants will get a confirmation email the day of the shoot.
Clear conditions bring opportunities for
• Light painting
• Slow shutter / night shots
• Milky Way rising
Enroll online ($42.50) and read more

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class July 30
11:00 AM
Learn how to pick a peck o’ prickly pears, remove the spines and turn the bright red fruits into tasty jelly, ice cream – or margaritas. Opuntia expert Robert Lewis leads his audience for a short walk, and demonstrates proven techniques for picking and de-spining cactus fruit. Then Chef Eric & Terri of Tall Order Catering, offer their unique cactus cuisine with a culinary demonstration – with their audience invited so sample fresh cactus snacks, until supplies run out. No pre-registration necessary, just be in the Arboretum visitor center breezeway by start time. BTA’s summertime series of cactus classes spawned a cactus culinary festival in the neighboring town of Superior – now in its 6th year, and scheduled for Aug. 19 – mark your calendar!

Dragonfly Walks August 5 and September 2
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. Photographer and dragonfly fan Roger Racut guides the walk August 5; ASU Professor Pierre Deviche is our guide September 2. 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.

Photographing Botanicals Indoors: Creative Lighting & Creative Shots
Saturday Aug. 5 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
In Arizona's Valley of the Sun, many photographers agree it's just TOO HOT to shoot outside during early August – so Lisa Langell is bringing the botany indoors for a fun, imaginative and creative shoot using tools you can find right around your house. Enrollment is $47.50; enroll online using the link below. She'll demonstrate great ideas to set up creative lighting setups indoors without the need for expensive studio setups. This is a DIY type class that's easy and has seemingly endless possibilities. Lisa worked as a high-end floral designer for 15 years --and she's merging her knowledge of flowers and photography together in this fun, inspirational class. "We'll play with lighting setups and backdrops that give you effects that go from the ethereal to the dramatic! You'll be provided with a variety of flowers, botanicals, backgrounds, lighting tools, and more to create beautiful imagery...from the comfort of your air conditioned classroom!"
Enroll online

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: