Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

October Hours Daily from 8:00 - 5:00 > no park entry or admission after 4:00
Fall and Winter hours resume from October-through-April and BTA is open 8:00 to 5:00 daily, 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.

Fall Plant Sale Daily Through October 29
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
Wondering if we have specific plants in stock? Call our staff during daily business hours at 520.689.2723
Fall Plant Sale brings a great selection 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.

Home School Days October 24, November 17, December 7
Homeschool families have three dates this fall to gather for shared educational workshops; 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

Guided Bird Walk Oct0ber 29 with Larry Langstaff
8:30 a.m. Bird Walks continue November 4, 12, 18 and 26
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. Maricopa Audubon Society volunteer Larry Langstaff guides a special Sunday walk October 29 at 8:30; Lisa & Peggy return to lead their twice-a-month Friday birdwalk Nov. 3, then Rich Ditch & Mark Ochs Nov. 4; Anne Leight guides on November 12, Charles Babbitt and Troy Corman team-up Nov. 18, Cindy West and Cindy Marple Nov. 26, Lisa & Peggy on Friday Dec. 1; Troy Corman and Cindy Marple Dec. ; Charles Babbitt, Kathe Anderson and Cindy West on Saturday Dec. 10. Want to check recent bird sightings? Read our hot-spot page on Ebird

Book Club Friday, November 3: The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus
9:00 a.m.
Stopby our gift shop and get your copy of The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus - wooden shade ramadas in the Demonstration Garden here offer a great place to read on an October 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. Fergus' book is a sequel to One Thousand White Women, and tells the 1876 journal of Margaret Kelly, a woman who participated in the government's "Brides for Indians" program in 1873. The Vengeance of Mothers is a novel that explores what happens to the bonds between wives and husbands, children and mothers, when society sees them as "unspeakable." What does it mean to be white, to be Cheyenne, and how far will these women go to avenge the ones they love? As he did in One Thousand White Women, Jim Fergus spotlights a time and place in American history, and fills it with unforgettable characters who live and breathe with a passion we can relate to even today. 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

Pinal Master Gardeners Workshops November 4, December 2
Fall and Winter Saturdays at 11:00
Green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program present ‘Container Gardening’ Nov. 4 when their Saturday series of 11am outdoor workshops resumes here. Held on the tree-shaded flagstone courtyard in front of the Smith Building, this session will help you ‘Think outside the pot’ and make strategic use of a small yard or patio with container gardening. Workshops continue Dec. 2 with ‘Cool vs. Warm-Seasonal Edibles,’ and Feb. 3 with ‘Succulents –Out of Africa”. 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:

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

Live Music November 11, Saturday with Bernie Haley -- and Trio Rio
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Pack a picnic and invite friends to hear live music in the gardens on Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11. Gold Canyon recording artist Bernie Haley will share flute and didgeridoo music along with a few accompanists from 10:30 until noon near the Drover Shed, then Trio Rio takes the stage our front of the Smith Building from 12:30 - 2:00. “Bernie's flute music ranges from soothing and peaceful to soaring and inspiring,” said one fan, “music outdoors at BTA is always something special - and Bernie's style is particularly suited to the gardens and trails. Can you imagine anything more relaxing than having an hour to sit in the sun and listening to live flute music while the wind rustles leaves and birds are singing in the gardens nearby?”
Trio Rio bandmates include Ron Rutowski on fiddle, Ronnie Glover on guitar and vocals, Don Paddock on bass and special guest Billy Parker on mandolin and vocals. True, that makes it a four-person trio for this gig; they dub their music ‘acoustic americana’; one reviewer describes their style is “fiddle-driven enough to satisfy the tastes of the country, swing and bluegrass fans while also staying true to the soul of the ballads and the blues."
Their set list often includes Pancho and Lefty, El Gallo del Cielo, Miles and Miles of Texas, Sugar Moon, Southwestern Pilgrimage, Cooler than Hell, The Road Goes on Forever, Deep Water, Saint Olof's Gate and Tonight We Ride. Check out song videos and find the band's Valley schedule at

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris November 11
1:30 p.m.
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail guided by ethno-botanist and Choctaw nation member Dave 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.
                      ** 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

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

Digital Photographers Roundtable November 18 , Saturday
10:00 a.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet November 18, Saturday, at 10:00 a.m. in the Smith Building Lecture room (and again December 16). 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:

Intro to Photography Workshop and outdoor shoot Sunday November 19
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, 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."

Tree Tour November 19 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.

History Walking Tour with Sylvia Lee Sunday December 3
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

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.