Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

January - February Hours Daily from 8:00 - 5:00 > no park entry or admission after 4:00
BTA is open 8:00 to 5:00 daily during Winter months, with no park entry after 4:00 so our final visitors each day have one full hour to explore the gardens and trails before we close at 5:00 sharp. The Arboretum is open for regular daytime hours on all 2018 holidays - except December 25, Christmas.

Guided Walking Tour of the Main Trail Daily
11:00 a.m.
Our expert tour guides narrate arboretum history and point-out fascinating plants, animals and geology seen around the gardens on daily guided walking tours at 11:00 a.m. Guided tours are included with daily admission; no pre-registration needed, just be in the visitor center breezeway lobby at start time. Tours are daily at 11:00 a.m. through February 28, then daily tours move to earlier start at 10:00 a.m. during March and April. Read more

Digital Photographers Roundtable January 20, Saturday
10:00 a.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet in the Smith Building Lecture room (and again February 17, and March 10). 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. Future meetings are For more detail, Email Tim a brief RSVP, and feel free to mention your preferred editing software:

Plants of the Bible Lands Lecture: Agriculture in Ancient Israel January 20, Saturday
1:30 p.m. in the lecture room - and repeats February 17
David Oberpriller has guided popular “Plants of the Bible Lands" walks around the Arboretum for more than a decade, pointing out plants mentioned in the Bible that can grow and thrive here in AZ, and sharing anecdotes from scripture. Trouble walking has side-lined our popular tourguide, and David has arranged something new - for visitors who are also unable to walk the main trail, but would enjoy learning about plants on this tour.
Referencing ancient documents, archaeological finds and scripture - David hosts a lecture about agriculture in ancient Israel, repeating January 20 and also February 17 in the lecture room of our historic Smith Building Lecture Room. Describing the presentation, David says: "we’ll look at the context of agriculture in ancient Israel — including the geography of the land, the climate, and the agricultural calendar — and understand how these things influenced the way the people of the Bible lived and are reflected in the Bible. We’ll also discuss some of the tools and techniques used in farming, and the crops that were grown and harvested. For such a small land, the variety is surprising. And some of the techniques are still in use today."
Following the lecture, David may lead a short walk to shocase Bible plants that are in gardens near the Smith Building.
Whether you've
attended one of David’s guided tours over the years, or have been waiting to enjoy this information as a lecture indoors, here's an excellent introduction to Plants of the Bible Lands!

Guided Walk Narrated in French Sunday January 21
9:00 a.m.
Vous êtes invité à rejoindre notre nouveau tour guidé en Français ! Whether you’re learning French or fluent in the language, we’re offering a new tour guided in Gallic – a chance to walk our main trail and hear narration about familiar gardens and scenery described in that most romantic of all Romance languages. Catherine Dhuicq is a musician and expat living in Chandler; she loves the Arboretum gardens and wanted a unique, new way to volunteer here – and will lead a walking tour narrated in her native tongue on January 21, Sunday. She devoted time this summer to learning waypoints around the Main Trail and attending tours guided by our expert cadre of guides; as with other guided walks here, Catherine’s outing is included with $12.50 daily admission – and free for our annual members

Winter Rose Care & Pruning Workshop Sunday January 21
10:00 a.m. - Noon
Winter's the season for pruning roses while they're dormant; rose expert Steve Sheard will host an informal session here Jan 21 coaching gardeners on 'Winter Rose Care,' also demonstrating proper pruning tips and techniques. Sheard chairs the board that oversees the acclaimed Mesa Community College rose garden of approximately 10,000 bushes, and is an ARS-certified Master Rosarian. Describing these iconic plants, he says: "Roses are like teenagers, they love a little TLC to keep the bugs off, food and getting wet. They will then flourish and provide wonderful blooms in the fall". There's no additional fee to attend his workshop -- which will be outdoors and informal. The 10:00 a.m. workshop is included with $12.50 daily admission; free to Arboretum annual members and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass.

Tree Tour Sunday January 21 and February 18
1:30 p.m. repeats February 18, March 18, April 15
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.

Stitching Classes with Cindy Adams Monday January 22 and 29
9:00 a.m. - 12:00
$10 - $22.50 > With Credit Card ready Call 520.689.2723
Students will learn casting on and the basic knit stitch. How to purl and to combine the knit and purl stitch to create patterns. As well as, learn to bind off and finish a piece. Students will also learn additional skills: increasing, decreasing, yarn overs, even cables if time permits. Reading a pattern will also be included. All materials are provided. Mastering these kitting skills will enable students to create garments and make the Freeform Shawl offered Monday, February 5th.

Australia Day: Morning Didgeridoo Workshop & Afternoon Concert Saturday January 27
• didgeridoo and circular breathing workshop with Bernie Haley & Ryan 10:00 a.m.
• 11:00 a.m. walking tour through our Australian collections

• 1:00 – 3:30 Didgeridoo and Australian stories beneath the eucalyptus and gum trees with Gold Canyon ‘didge’ player Bernie Haley and friends.
Hear the growling, howling, haunting Aboriginal sound of the didgeridoo and experience a taste of The Land Down Under -- the plants and culture of Australia are closer than you might expect, particularly on a special Saturday in January when the Arboretum celebrates Australia Day. Didge players, and those who own a didge but never learned the technique of circular breathing to play it, are invited to join Bernie Haley and Ryan Nemec for an informal didge jam session from 10:00 a.m. til 11:30 in the lecture room. For details or to sign-up, Call Bernie at 250. 927. 5544, or e-mail him at Participants are welcome to bring their didgeridoo, hear about 'Didge history -- and get some coaching on how to play with emphasis on circular breathing. After lunch Bernie Haley will MC a concert open to all visitors that afternoon from 1:00-3:00, outdoors beneath the Eucalyptus trees if the weather is clement -- or in our lecture room of the Smith Building if the event of rain or excessive cold. $12.50 daily admission includes this event.

Geology Guided Walk with Scott McFadden January 27 , Saturday
1:30 p.m.
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologistScott 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. Geologist Rich Leveilleis another 'Rock Star' among our guide cadre. Want to read more about rocks and geologu?
Get acquainted with guide and ASU Professor Steve Semken

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Sunday January 28
1:30 p.m., again Saturday February 10
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail guided by Choctaw tribal nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris. His 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. Desert plants enthusiast Jim Shepherd guides this walk February 10, and shares tastes and samples of foods made from desert plants: agave syrup, nopalitos, prickly pear jelly.
                      ** 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

Friday Guided Bird Walks Friday February 2 and Saturday February 3
8:30 a.m. and more Saturday-Sunday bird walk dates below
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 and Peggy are Friday guides February 2. Winter-spring weekend 8:30 bird walks continue February 3 with Troy Corman as guide, then Feb. 11 with Anne Leight and Cindy Marple guiding the walk, Feb. 17 with Kathe Anderson and Charles Babbitt, Feb. 25 with Anne Leight and Cindy West, March 3 with Troy Corman, March 11 with Anne Leight and Marceline VandeWater, March 16 (Friday) with Lisa and Peggy; March 17 with Mark Ochs, March 25 with Kathe Anderson & Anne Leight, and April 7 with Cindy Marple. Want to check recent bird sightings? Read our hot-spot page on Ebird

Book Club Friday, February 2 with author Scott Calhoun: Yard Full of Sun
9:00 a.m.
Stopby our gift shop and get your copy Yard Full of Sun by Scott Calhoun; peaceful benches around our main trail offer a great place to read on a sunny January day beneath, and our BTA book club showcases this title with a lively discussion that meets on Friday February 2 at 9:00 a.m. The author relates the journey of his family as they set out to build a home and garden in the desert. The text maintains a balance between practical and personal as Calhoun brings the same gusto to writing as to gardening, and his humor makes a very readable account. This warm and sunny book will inspire all gardeners to work with, rather than against, their climates. Calhoun is a fourth generation Arizonan and works as a writer, teacher and garden designer in Tucson. He operates Zona Gardens, and his home and garden have been featured in Horticulture and Sunset magazine. 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 Walking Tour with Sylvia Lee Saturday February 3
10:00 a.m. repeats Sunday April 1and Saturday June 2
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

Pinal Master Gardeners Workshop February 3
Fall and Winter Saturdays at 11:00
Green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program present ‘Succulents: Out of Africa,' on Saturday Feb. 3 when their Saturday series of 11am outdoor workshops continues. Held on the tree-shaded flagstone courtyard in front of the Smith Building, this session will help keep you stocked with healthy greens, all year 'round. Workshops. Once-a-month Master Gardener workshops are free to BTA annual members and state-parks-pass-holders; included with $12.50 daily admission for others. Get active with our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email:

Watercolor Painting Classes February 4, March 4 and April 8
11:00 a.m. $35 - $47.50, enroll by Phone 608-618-3055
Ever wanted to try your hand with a brush and canvas, or you need to fine-tune your skills? Beginner-to-Intermediate painters are invited to enroll in winter-spring watercolor painting classes that accomplished local artist Chuck Davison will coach here.
February 4: Hummingbirds
March 4: Wildflowers
April 8: Butterflies

They're affordably priced at $35 for BTA members, $47.50 nonmembers, and if need encouragement to signup, here's what one happy painter said a month or two back:
"We enjoyed Chuck's class and loved that it was held at our very favorite place: the Arboretum! Chuck is friendly and made the class fun. Because he allowed us the freedom to express our individual tastes through our paintings, we feel we brought home a unique piece of art...even though we all painted the same lizards. Friends and family are able to easily pick out who painted which lizard with the comment that they can tell because each lizard matches the personality of the artist."
Local artist Chuck Davison invites any and all students from beginning to advanced to learn watercolor painting; he gives step-by-step instruction and coaching to help paint a colorful botanical design."
Enrollment includes all art supplies you'll need for the class - and includes the day's admission to the Arboretum as well, so arrive early - we open at 8:00 -- and get some inspiration for your paintings while exploring our gardens before the 11:00 a.m. class. Taught in the air-conditioned lecture room of the historic Smith Building from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 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 call or text the instructor directly at 608-618-3055
See a few examples of Chuck's signature style and read more

Freeform Shawl Stitching Class with Cindy Adams February 5 - Monday
9am - 12 Noon. $10 - $22.50 . With Credit Card ready Call 520.689.2723
Create a beautiful shawl of your own design. Ideas will be shared, but each knitter’s creation will be unique. Bring a size 8 circular needle at least 24” long and worsted weight yarn. You may use one yarn or combine a variety of fibers and colors. Though each garment will be different, you should probably have enough yarn to equal about 1200 yards. The project will not be completed in class, but you may join the Arboretum’s Stitcher’s group to complete it and ask questions.
**Completion of the Beginning Knitting class(s) or experience in all the skills covered is required to participate.
Please email the instructor, Cindy at, if you have any questions.

Wednesday Workshops > Thunder Gourds February 7, Pine Needle Coiling February 21
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day. With Credit Card Ready, Call 520-689-2723 to enroll and pre-pay
Thunder Gourd February 7 & April 4 . Members $55, Non-Members $67.50. Make a thunder gourd, a gourd with a synthetic drum head and spring that makes a rumbling thunder-like noise when shaken. A cleaned and cut gourd and all materials are provided and students leave with a completed project.
Pine Needle Coiling on Gourds Wednesday, Feb 21, Members $50, Non-Members $62.50. 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. Most students will complete their project in class, materials will be provided to finish at home if necessary.
Gourd Art Basics & Beyond March 7. Arboretum annual members pay $45, Non-Members $57.50. This class is good for beginners or for repeat students wanting to improve their skills. This class covers the basics of gourd art, including how to clean and prepare gourds, choosing and drawing a design, wood burning and applying color. A cleaned gourd and all materials are provided, and students leave with a completed project.

Intro to Photography Workshop and outdoor shoot Sunday February 11, March 11
9:00 a.m. - no signup or pre-registration necessary
RSVP by email to MiMi for details
Read more and RSVP by Email
or phone 480.319.2229
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.
Valley photographers MiMi, Jack and Mark 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."

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Sundays February 11 , March 11 , and April 8
1:30 p.m.
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. During this once-a-month Sunday walk Rich Adams narrates palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other Plants of the Bible Land. Conducted at a leisurely pace, this guided tour lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. Using references in ancient texts, Rich describes 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. Editors Note > for more Plants of the Bible, check out the February 17 lecture announced below.
Read more about Plants of the Bible Lands on facebook

Beginning Crochet Stitching Classes with Cindy Adams Mondays, February 19 and 26
9am-11am . $10 - $22.50 . With Credit Card ready Call 520.689.2723
Students will learn chain stitch, single and double crochet. Also, how to increase and decrease and use these stitches to make decorative patterns. All materials are provided. Mastering these crochet skills will enable students to create items and make the Water Bottle Carrier offered Monday, March 5th.

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk Saturday March 3
10:00 a.m. and repeats Sunday May 6 and Saturday July 7
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 Sunday January 7 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

Sunset Live Music: ‘Handpan’ Percussion
If you love the sound of steel drums or marimba – just wait ‘til you hear the peaceful sound of ‘handpan’ drums on a date to be announced when East Valley recording artist Saggio shares his singular music here, just before sunset. Saggio loves to create music outdoors, surrounded by nature and beauty – and wanted to celebrate the season with Arboretum members and visitors. Predictions for rain, excessive wind or cold weather will cancel his free concert – check the weather report, and feel free to call our staff and verify the music’s on.
520.689.2723 (during business hours 8am-5pm)
“I prefer to play informally, unplugged and improvising – to just be a part of the organic unfolding of the plant life as visitors make their way around, enjoying the gardens. I believe I have a beautiful unique sound to share, and I want to complement the natural beauty of the arboretum, not upstage it.”
Saggio’s new CD ‘Tree of Life’ will be available for purchase, too. Read more about Saggio and his dedication to the healing power of percussion and music at

Butterfly Walks Return Spring 2018
Join us for a guided butterfy walk each month of the Spring and 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. Revisit this page in March, 2018 for the butterfly walk schedule.

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.