Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

March and April Hours Daily from 8:00 - 5:00 > no park entry or admission after 4:00
Daily 10:00 A.M. Guided Walking Tour in March and April
Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily during March and April months, with no park entry after 4:00 so our final arrivals each day still have one full hour to explore the gardens and trails before we close at 5:00. Tour guides narrate arboretum history and point-out fascinating plants, animals and geology seen around the gardens on daily guided walking tours at 10:00 a.m. during March and April. Guided tours are included with daily admission; no pre-registration needed, just be in the visitor center breezeway lobby at start time. READ MORE IN OUR E-NEWSLETTER

Spring Plant Sale - Daily Through March 25
During Daily Business Hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Daily admission is not required if you are only here to buy plants during our big Spring Plant Sale fundraiser, contniuing daily through March 25. Wondering if we have specific plants in stock? Call our gift shop staff during daily business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at
520. 689. 2723
Spring Plant Sale includes special events, and is a prime time to buy an Arboretum annual membership, our members save 20-percent on plant purchases during the opening weekend of this fundraising sale 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, here to advise and assist buyers with suggestions for trees and smaller plants ideal for awide range of landscaping projects. Please note that daily admission of $12.50 is not required if you're only here to buy plants during the March sale; admission is required, though, if you enter the gardens.

Geology Guided Walk with Phil St. George, Saturday March 24
1:30 p.m., geology tours continue April 28
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologist Phil St. George as 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, and Scott McFadden
. Want to read more about rocks and geology?
Get acquainted with guide and ASU Professor Steve Semken

Guided Bird Walks March 25, April 7, 8, 15, 2- and 29
8:30 a.m.
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. Winter-spring weekend 8:30 bird walks continue March 16 when Lisa and Peggy guide the second of their Friday walks offered here each month. March 17 our guide is Mark Ochs, March 25 features Kathe Anderson & Anne Leight, and April 7 with Cindy Marple; Kathe Anderson April 8, Marceline VandeWater and Mark Ochs April 15, Lisa & Peggy April 20, Cathy Wise & Steven Prager April 29. Want to check recent bird sightings? Read our hot-spot page on Ebird

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Sunday March 25
1:30 p.m., repeats Saturday April 14
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail Sunday March 25 with Choctaw tribal nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris as special guest tour guide - explaining ways that native plants such as prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves and jojoba have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. This walking tour repeats Saturday April 14 with desert plants enthusiast Jim Shepherd; his tour guests can expect a taste of desert edibles; Jim usually offers to share 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

Education Workshop for Home School Families : Arizona Tour Tuesday March 27
11:00 a.m. > and our final Spring home school event April 26
Spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. Have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours from 8am-5pm. Home School families are invited to gather for a two-hour learning workshop that focusses on unique and wonderful attributes of Arizona including geology, edible plants, state symbols, and habitats. Programs last two hours; 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. Fees are the same for our final Home School education event on April 26, the Tree Tour. Questions – or want to be added to the email list for Home School Day announcements? Email

Welcome Back Buzzards March 31, Saturday
7:00 – 11:00 a.m.
March brings the Spring Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians - at the Arboretum one sure sign of Spring is the return of our seasonal resident flock of Turkey Vultures. ASU Professor Dave Pearson hosts a morning ‘vulture viewing’ observing the big, black birds at 7:00 a.m. (we open one hour early today) and 8:30 guided walk. Stay for live music, Mark Fogelson hosts a lunchtime ‘Snowbird Send-Off’ Concert!
Read more about Turkey Vultures

Snowbird Send-Off with Mark Fogelson Minnesota Humor & Original Songs
Saturday March 31 at 11:00 a.m.
Visitors and seasonal residents from the snowy north: show your out-of-state driver's license from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Alberta, or other wintry states or provinces, show it with pride Saturday March 31 for a 2-for-1 discount at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Daily admission of $12.50 includes garden admission, live music and guided walking tours: that Saturday features an 11am Snowbird Send-Off concert by Minnesota songwriter and humorist Mark Fogelson.
Fogelson winters in Apache Junction; he's a popular entertainer at BTA, the Superstition Mountain Museum, Lost Dutchman State Park, and at winter visitor communities throughout the Valley. Fogelson performs originals ("She was so Beautiful") punctuated with occasional Ole & Lena jokes - and regional odes to the mid-western life. Youtube has a clip of his version of "If Jesus Was Norwegian"; find other clips linked at

History Walking Tour with Sylvia Lee Sunday April 1
10:00 a.m. repeats 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

Gourd Art Workshops April 4 and 11
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 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.
Gourd Art Basics & Beyond - April 11. Arboretum annual members $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.
Call 520-689-2723 and ask to be on the waiting list -- and first invited to the next class date

April 6 Book Club: Chasing Arizona by Ken Lamberton
9:00 a.m. book club meetup Friday April 6
Stopby our gift shop and get your copy of Chasing Arizona by Ken Lamberton. Shaded benches around our main trail offer a great place to read on a mild March day beneath towering trees. It seemed like a simple plan—visit fifty-two places in fifty-two weeks. But for author Ken Lamberton, a forty-five-year veteran of life in the Sonoran Desert, the entertaining results were anything but easy. In Chasing Arizona, Lamberton takes readers on a yearlong, twenty-thousand-mile joyride across Arizona during its centennial, racking up more than two hundred points of interest along the way. In the vivid, lyrical, often humorous prose the author is known for, each destination weaves together stories of history, nature, and people, along with entertaining side adventures and excursions. Chasing Arizona is unlike any book of its kind. It is an adventure story, a tale of Arizona, a road-warrior narrative. It is a quest to see and experience as much of Arizona as possible. Through intimate portrayals of people and place, readers deeply experience the Grand Canyon State and at the same time celebrate what makes Arizona a wonderful place to visit and live. Attendance at our once-a-month book club 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 our gift shop this week to buy a copy or order the book 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:

Wildflower Walk at Ten O'clock April 7, 8, 21 and 22
10:00 a.m.
Learn to identify penstemons, poppies and primrose with Angie Dale and Barb Vander Meulen as your guides for wildflower walks on Saturdays April 7 and 21, or Sundays with Cass Blodgett on April 8 and 22.

Master Gardeners Workshop April 7 : Pollinators The Birds and the Bees
11:00 a.m.
Green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program present a workshop on pollinators on April 7, the Spring season finale of their Saturday outdoor workshops held on the tree-shaded flagstone courtyard in front of the Smith Building. 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 Class April 8: Butterflies
$35 -- additional $12.50 admission to the Arboretum
Questions? Call Chuck Davison at 602. 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 encouraged to enroll in a watercolor painting class that accomplished local artist Chuck Davison will coach here. Davison is arguably the best known and most successful artist living in our neighboring town of Superior; he also runs a unique and cozy little Bed-and-Breakfast adjacent to his home and studio (Casita Azul, easy to find online if you’re looking for local lodging); and generously shares his enthusiasm for painting with beginner-to-intermediate art students during monthly classes here at BTA. Informal and also inexpensive at just $35, these classes have earned a reputation for being an encouraging forum for art coaching. Enrollment includes art supplies you'll need for the class: canvas, paint, brushes, embellishments - plus light refreshments. Children are welcome to register along with an adult chaperone; both must be pre-registered for the class.
To RSVP please call Chuck directly at 602. 618. 3055
See a few examples of Chuck's signature style and read more

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Sunday 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.
Read more about Plants of the Bible Lands on facebook

Intro to Photography Workshop and outdoor shoot Sunday April 15
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. Read more in MiMi's E-news email to participants
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 Sunday April 15
1:30 p.m. > then moves to 8:00 a.m. May 20, the month Summer hours resume
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. Tree tours move to 8:00 a.m. Start time May 20, when Summer hours resume and we're open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Digital Photographers Roundtable April 21 , 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 April 21. 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:

Education Workshop for Home School Families : Tree Tour April 26
11:00 a.m. > our final Spring home school event
Spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. Have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours from 8am-5pm. Home School families are invited to gather for a two-hour learning workshop that focusses on exactly what the Arboretum is all about: Trees! the two-hour workshop will cover basic tree physiology, plant classification - and even some mathematics, with a "tree-ometry" activity for measuring tree height. 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. Questions – or want to be added to the email list for Home School Day announcements? Email

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk Sunday May 6
10:00 a.m. and repeats 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

Butterfly Walk May 26 with Marceline VandeWater
9:00 a.m.
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. Marceline guides May 26, 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 May for the full summertime butterfly walk schedule.

Learn Your Lizards - Summer Guided Tours > June 9, August 11, September 8
8:00 a.m.
Arizona lizards do comical pushups to display their blue bellies - attend a guided tour this summer to learn why these little reptiles have abs of azure. Boyce Thompson Arboretum is an ideal place to observe native reptiles such as Tree, Side-blotched and Greater Earless Lizards while learning about their behavior and Sonoran Desert adaptations. Casa Grande outdoor educator Phil Rakoci guides our Saturday walks at 8:00 a.m. June 9 and also August 11 when he's joined by Arizona Audubon wildlife biologists Steve Prager and Cathy Wise. Walks continue Sept. 8 and Sept. 29.

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

Guided Walk Narrated in French - March 6 , Tuesday
10:00 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 Tuesday March 6, starting at 10:00 a.m. She devoted time last 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