Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

Daily Guided Walking Tours of the Main Trail - End April 30, Sunday
11:00 AM tour start time
Arizona State Parks volunteers narrate Arboretum history and point out colorful plants, birds, and seasonal changes on guided walking tours every day of April, at 11:00 a.m. Meet in the visitor center breezeway. Tours are free to Boyce Thompson Arboretum annual members, also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass, and for non-members tours are included with $12.50 daily admission. Daily guided tours end May 1 when BTA returns to our 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.

Final Weekend Wildflower Walks April 29 and 30
10:00 a.m.
April is peak wildflower season, and the weekend of April 29 and 30 brings our final two guided 10:00 a.m. wildflower walks. See photos of cactus blossoms and other BTA scenes during May

Home Schoolers Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Activity and Tour Thursday April 27
Registration $2 for students, $12.50 parents and chaperones
Guided tours offered to public school groups are also available to home-schoolers on special Fall-Winter dates, students and up to two parents or chaperones per family are $2 each; additional adults $12.50 per person; pre-register during daytime business hours - have a credit card ready and call 520. 689. 2723.
Tourguide Jim Shepherd leads a morning studying Edible-Medicinal Desert Plants on April 27. Pre-registration is required; for more complete descriptions of each day, or to be added to our email list for the 2017 and 2018 schedule, contact education coordinator lacey at with this as your subject line:
Home School Days at BTA

Guided Bird Walk May 5 - Friday - at 6:30 a.m.
Yellow-breasted Chats have returned, with a vocal chorus around the gardens. Sharpen your birding skills on a tour guided by Lisa and Peggy Friday May 5, Friday, at 6:30 a.m. What other colorful birds are likely? Read the latest intel about BTA bird sightings at:

Book Club Friday, May 5 "Desert Trader: the life and quilts of Goldie Tracey Richmond"
by Carolyn O'Bagy Davis
9:00 a.m. Our BTA book club showcases a new title each month, with a lively Friday morning discussion group -- on May 5 readers will discuss "Desert Trader: the life and quilts of Goldie Tracey Richmond" by Carolyn O'Bagy Davis.
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). 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

Sunday History Walk with Sylvia Lee Date May 7, Sunday
10:00 a.m. - Summer Tours at 8:00 a.m. June 4, 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

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks May 13, June 10, July 8
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. 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. Walks begin Saturday May 13 with Arizona Audubon guides Steven Prager and Cathy Wise along with Audrey Owens; continuing June 10 with 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci; on July 8 Phil will be joined by Arizona Game & Fish reptile researcher Dan Leavitt and lizard enthusiast Jamie Wisenall. 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 Steven Prager and Cathy Wise of Arizona Audubon. Phil, Dan & Jamie are a trio of guides for the walks August 12 and September 9.
See photos and read more

Mother’s Day ‘Paint & Wine’ Class May 14, Sunday
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Carla Keaton, owner of the Keaton Fine Art Gallery, is leading a special Mother’s Day themed ‘Paint and Wine’ class Sunday May 14th. “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

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday May 20
1:30 Start Time; moves to 8:00 a.m. May 20, June 17, July 15, August 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. 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. April 15 brings a chance to learn about ‘Food plants’ and in May Dave’s topic will be Trees. 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. From May-through-September when Summer hours are 6am - 3pm, David’s guided walk on the 3rd Saturday moves to 8:00 a.m.; dates are May 20, June 17, July 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 May 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 May 20 (Saturday) at 10:00 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. For details email

Tree Tour with Jeff Payne May 21 and June 18 at 8:00 a.m.
8:00 am Summer start time
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.

Geology Guided Walk May 27 , Saturday
** 1:30 p.m.
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with Professional geologist Geologist Rich Leveille
as your guide for a lively tour that 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 Phil St. George. Read more Arizona Geology with ASU Professor Steve Semken

Butterfly Walks Resume May 27
9:30 a.m.
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. Ron Rutowski guides the season debut May 27 at 9:00 a.m., after that tours move to an 8:30 start time
June 24 with Marceline VandeWater as our guide, and Ron's our guide again July 22 and Aug. 26. Read more about butterflies in this interview with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris May 28
1:30 p.m. > tour moves to 8:00 a.m. May 28 , June 25 , 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. May 28 and also 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

Sunday Intro to Photography Walk May 28
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 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 photo walkabout, or sign-up for her next camera outing May 28 .
Read more and RSVP by Email or Phone

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.

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: