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. July-August-September
Our Summer schedule continues July-through-September 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 end October 1 when the Fall-Winter schedule resumes


Geology Guided Walk July 22, Saturday -- at 8:00 a.m.
Tour repeats August 26
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologist Phil St. George as our featured guide 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 McFaddenleads the geology walk August 26 ; another 'Rock Star' among our guide cadre is Geologist Rich Leveille

Butterfly Walk July 22, Saturday, at 8:30 a.m.
start time is 8:30 a.m. 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 and Ron Rutowski our special guest tourguide for this walk July 22 and again August. 26. Read more about butterflies in this interview with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

‘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

After-Dark Photography Shoot - FILLED -- follow link below for future dates
July 22, Saturday
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. READ MORE and use the link below to enroll - you'll be added to her Wait List for an alert about an August or September date

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Jim Shepherd July 23
starts at 8:00 a.m. and repeats August 27
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. Summertime tours start at 8:00 a.m. July 23 and August 27with Jim; Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David 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

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks July 29 and 30
8:00 a.m.
The final weekend of July is special > two days with back-to-back lizard walks each day at 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. Guides July 29 include 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci and his son Arch, also Arizona Game And Fish researcher Dan Leavitt and Jamie Wisenall
watch a sneak preview of their Lizard Walk on Arizona Wildlife Views YouTube
Wild Man Phil Rakoci guides again

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 our season finale September 9.
See photos 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!

July 30 Painting Class with Chuck Davison: Prickly Pear Cactus
11am – 2pm; classes with Chuck repeat September 24
Painting Classes Continue in July, August, September
$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). July 30 enrollees will complete a prickly pear cactus 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.

Book Club Friday, August 4 - Going Back To Bisbee
9:00 a.m.

Stopby our gift shop and get your copy of ________ by __________; 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). 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

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.

Sunday History Walk with Sylvia Lee August 6
8:00 a.m. > and again September 3 > moves to 10:00 a.m. and on SATURDAY October 7
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 will be alternate Saturdays and Sundays for the Fall adn Winter, moving to 10:00 a.m. 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

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

Guided Bird Walk Sunday August 13
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 Sunday bird walk August 13 guided by Mark Ochs at 6:30 a.m.
What colorful birds are likely during Summer months?
Read the latest intel about BTA bird sightings at:

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday August 19
8:00 a.m. repeats 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 August 19 , Saturday
9:00 a.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet August 19 (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 August 20 Sunday 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, 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.

Sunday Intro to Photography Walk - September 10
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

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk
September 3 at 8:00 a.m. - moves to 10:00 a.m. November 4

8:00 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 a date TO BE ANNOUNCED Sylvia will 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

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: