Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

Most Special Events Included With Admission
$10 for Adults, $5 for Ages 5-12

Daily Guided Walking Tours "From Saguaros to Tequila Plants" at 11:00 am
Our volunteer tourguides research, study and prepare themselves to answer an array of interesting questions – just ask veteran guide Rich Adams. Guests often ask whether its true that Saguaro cacti grow arms to counter-balance the trunk; what plant tequila is distilled from, whether an extract from creosote bush produces the pungent coating on railroad ties - and if palm trees are native to Arizona. Where does BTA get its water? And how do those massive boulders of volcanic rock stay in place above the ‘Switchbacks’ section trail below Picketpost Mansion? Learn about the Sonoran Desert and hear the answers to those and many more questions on a guided 11a.m. tour; they're included with daily admission of $10 (free, for our BTA annual members), and depart from the breezeway lobby of BTA's visitor center daily at 11am. Read more about Daily Guided Tours

Ten O'Clock Guided Wildflower Walks April 16, 18, 23, 25 & 26
10 AM in April
Staff and volunteers report more flowers every day along our trails - and guided wildflower walks at 10 am will be every Thursday and Saturday of April - with one last Sunday walk April 26. What's to see during this week? Early-season flowers such as rhyolite bush (Ragged Rock Flower), purple bladderpod, miner's lettuce, bluedicks, desert phlox, blue lupines, apricot globemallow, Mormon tea, jojoba, London rocket and henbit. Watch for vines of the Wild Cucumber (Marah gilensis) seen in shaded spots along the Main Trail. Clusters of flowers are fingernail-wide and cream-white, the little flowers resemble starfish -- and the vines growing from the Wild Cucumber tuber are truly impressive, some already 10-feet-tall! Learn more about these "Jack And The Beanstalk" vines any day this month a guided walking tour - walks that circle our 1.5 mile main trail daily starting at 11:00am and included with Arboretum admission of $10 for adults or $5 for kids (and at no charge, of course, for our annual members and visitors with annual AZ State Parks pass). Connect on facebook for up-to-the-minute flower updates and photos:

Friday Yoga for BTA members-only April 17 and 24
4:00-5:00PM in the Smith Building Lobby
Free to BTA members and their guests, we offer a relaxed Friday afternoon session for all-levels fusing various styles of hatha yoga. Meet in the Smith Building lobby, located between the display greenhouses from 4:00-5:00. Classes are free to BTA annual members and their guests. Yoga coach Lance has been teaching the style since 2001. He has a degree in sociology/religious studies and possesses an extensive background in massage therapy and instruction. Questions? email Lacey

Guided Bird Walk April 18 with Mark Ochs 8:30am
* * spring season finale is April 26 with Kathe Anderson
Summer Tanager, Yellow Warbler, Hammond's Flycatcher and Northern Cardinal were reported Sunday on our guided bird walk this past weekend Read the bird checklist report and join us for guided walks to learn basic bird identification skills, and where to find birds at BTA. Our next guided walk is April 12 guided Mark Ochs - and Kathe Anderson leads our season finale April 26. Revisit this page to confirm dates and times before you drive up -- and for the most updated list of dates and bird walk leaders.

Girl Scout Badge Saturday Workshops Spring 2015
April 18 and 25, May 9 and May 23
Girl Scouts from Brownie through Cadette can earn badges during group workshops at the Arboretum.
Download our Registration PDF. Registration of a non-refundable down-payment of $20 is required to hold a position for a scout or troop. Workshop admission fees are $10 per scout and $10 per adult chaperone; $5 for each non-scout between ages 5-12 (yes, these workshops are open to kids other than girl scouts – even boys). To sign up and prepay have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff at 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours. Make sure to pre-register at least two days prior to the workshop date, and when you call please tell our staff the specific workshop and date you wish to register for, your Girl Scout troop number, your name (or the troop leader's name); contact phone numbers, and the number of scouts and chaperones attending. Questions? email Lacey at [] or call her at 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours. Spring 2015 workshops for Junior scouts are Flowers April 18 and Gardener May 16; Brownies study 'Arizona' April 25 and 'Bugs' May 23; and for Cadettes Woodworker May 9.

"Plant Problems, Disorders and Diagnosis" Lecture & Lab Garden Class - April 18
10 a.m. , included with daily admission - no pre-registrration required
Arboretum staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne invites gardeners to the 4th and final of his new series of once-a-month horticultural lectures; they're included with daily admission of $10, no pre-registration required. What is wrong with my plant? Is my plant dead? Why are the leaves yellow? I found bugs on my plants are they good or bad? What can cause dieback? Join Certified Arborist Jeff Payne as he guides you through problems that occur or can go wrong with your plants in your own backyard and what to watch out for during an informative talk and hands-on field lab diagnosing common problems with plants at Boyce Thompson Arboretum that the Horticulture Staff encounter on a daily or seasonal basis.

The Story in the Rocks: A Beginners’ Geology Walk
10:30am on Fridays and Saturdays April 18, also May 1-2
Volcanoes Rock! Ancient stories are written in the boulders, rock formations and mountains around the Arboretum; learn more on this hands-on geology walk for beginners. This walk is intended for school-aged children and their families as well as novice adults curious about geology. Participants in our Story in the Rocks Walk will explore lesser-used trails that reveal the Arboretum’s deeper secrets. Tour lasts about one hour. Would your Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop, student science club, or other group like to join this walk -- or arrange a private group tour? Contact Lacey at

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday April 18 at 1:30 pm
moves to 8:00am Third Saturday each month May 16, June 20, July 18
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. Join Arboretum volunteers on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. Tours are April 12 & 18. From May-through-Septemberthis tour moves to a morning start time. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and don't forget your sunscreen and water bottle. 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. Read a more complete description of our Plants of the Bible Land Guided Tour

Life In The Sonoran Desert Guided Walk April 18
1:30pm, also May 1-2
The Sonoran Desert covers most of southern Arizona, northern Sonora, Mexico and part of southern California. It’s a place where a toad lives underground for most of a year until rain soaked soil causes it to spring forth to find a mate, where pigs aren’t pigs but related to hippos. It’s a place where a bat may land on the ground grab a grasshopper or beetle and sometimes catch a pocket mouse carrying it to a cave to eat, where a skunk may do a hand stand to get in position to spray a predator, where a snake may swim in the sand. Learn more about some of our unusual Sonoran Desert wildlife neighbors, join our “Life In The Sonoran Desert” guided walk Saturday afternoon. Would your Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop, student science club, or other group like to join this walk -- or arrange a private group tour? Contact Lacey at

John Aho 'Painting With Light' High-Power April 18 - Saturday - After Hours
7-9pm. $40, Call 520.689.2723
Familiar plants and scenery are rendered a candy-colored rainbow of colors after dark by custom-made, high-power LED light boxes strategically placed and arranged by artist and local luminary John Aho. The $40 fee for these special-access evenings is a fundraiser for the Arboretum ( $30 for BTA annual members). Connect with John on Facebook and see photos from prior nighttime shoots with John

Writing Your Tree Rings - Workshop with Author / Poet Jari Thymian - April 19
9:00 a.m. $15 for BTA members, $25 non-members
Explore and rediscover surprising branches, roots, and shadows through mapping and writing your personal tree rings during a morning coached by poet and author Jari Thymian, who has hundreds of poems published in publications ranging from The Pedestal to The Christian Science Monitor.

Open Mic in the Garden: Poetry and Short Readings April 19
1:00 PM

Celebrate National Poetry Month along with writers, poets, and all who love words during an outdoor open mic, Sunday, April 19, from 1-3 p.m., and hosted by author and poet Jari Thymian. Poets and writers will read poetry or short writings of their own or from other authors. BTA visitors are welcome to jump into the river of words as audience and/or readers. The event is included with admission of $10 adults, or $5 ages 5-12. To sign up as a reader, contact Jari Thymian via email at

Tree Tour With Jeff Payne Sunday April 19
1:30 pm
So, just what is an Arboretum? BTA staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne leads this walk where visitors learn the answer to that often-posed question during a relaxed and leisurely guided tour through the forested areas of the Arboretum. Join Jeff for a chance to learn about the Arboretum's collection of oak and olive trees, native hackberry, mesquite and many more.

Tuesday Book Club Discusses "The Ancient Ones" April 21
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 AM in the Smith Building Lecture Room
The Ancient Ones is the first in a series of mysteries inspired by the author’s experiences as a paranormal investigator and by her avid interest in archaeology. The Ancient Ones centers on Lorelei Lanier - who finds that she has powerful connections to the spirit world. While working with the FBI and a paranormal research group on a dark arts case Lorelei makes startling discoveries about herself as well as the area where she lives. Will she be prepared for what the ancient ones have in store for her? Join our once-a-month lively book club discussion - included with $10 daily admission if you're not already among our annual members, or don't have an AZ State Parks annual pass. This book is available in the BTA Gift Shop; to order a copy by mail, have a credit card ready and call 520-689-2723. To RSVP that you plan to attend the book club meeting, please email Vicki at

Craft Classes: Basic Gourd Art April 22, Advanced Gourd Art Pine Needle Coiling April 23
fees $30-$85; have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 to enroll
Classes & dates: ; Basic Gourd Art April 22; Advanced Gourd Art with Pine Needle Coiling April 23, Build-a-Terrarium April 30. New classes recently added include Thunder Gourds May 2, Wine Bottle Windchimes May 16, Basic Gourd Art for beginners May 23. Specific questions about these workshops? Call Lacey at 520.689.2723 or email

Butterfly Walk Season Debut April 25 , Saturday,
9:30am with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski
Join ASU Professor Ron Rutowski for a chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. This relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Jan Harding and Laura Miller lead the walk May 23 at 9:00 am
See Butterfly Photos and Learn IDs from CAZBA

Science and Stories for Kids Ages 5-12: Monarch Butterflies April 25
9am-12pm; FREE for pre-registered kids - $10 for adult chaperonesi
Sign up soon for our new "Science and Stories: Monarch Butterflies" workshop featuring a story about monarch butterflies, a presentation about Arizona Monarchs by Southwest Monarch Study Coordinator Gail Morris, live monarch butterflies, a butterfly building workshop, and milkweed ball making workshop with Tom McDonald of Smiling Dog Landscapes. Pre-registration is required by parents or guardians - and enrolled children ages 5-12 are FREE (normally $5 each); children must also be accompanied by a parent or adult chaperone at all times during the program ($10 for adults other than BTA nonmembers, and state-parks-pass-holders). Register by Email to Lacey at and please include the number of children you would like to register and their ages. Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups age 5-12 also welcome; pre-registration required.

Geology walking tour Saturday, April 25 , at 1:30 PM with Rich Leveille
** tour at 1:30pm -- please note that in May this monthly tour moves to 8am start time
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour with Professional Geologist Rich Leveille.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 McFadden returns May 23, when this tour moves to a 10am start time during Summer months - repeating June 27 with Scott. Watch our schedule for future dates when this walk will be guided by ASU Professor Steve Semken

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Sunday Walk Guided By Kathy And Tom McDonald April 26
** at 1:30 PM - tour moves to 8:00 am May 24 with Dave Morris as guide
Explore our Curandero Trail on a one-hour walk guided by Arizona State Parks Volunteers Kathy and Tom McDonald, owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon, as our guides. The two desert plant enthusiasts will share anecdotes about prickly pears, along with other knowledge about ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. During Summer months hour are daily from 6am-3pm and tours moving to cooler AM start times; this tour repeats Sunday May 24, with David Morris as our special guest tourguide; Kathy and Tom return as guides June 28. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Read more about jojoba, creosote and prickly pears

Terrarium Workshop April 30
9-11:30 a.m. $30-$40; with credit card ready call 520.689.2723
Get your hands a little dirty create your own low-maintenance - and completely portable -- indoor garden; participants will arrange soil, decorative rock and assorted succulents in a drum-style glass fishbowl, creating a unique terrarium. All materials, including terrarium, soil and plants are included. Read more in our E-newsletter. Popular during the Victorian era, terrarium art is bring revived by mixed-media artist Vicki Johnson in workshops teaching the history of terrariums and offering step-by-step, hands-on instructions to build your own. Registration of $30-40 includes a (7-by-10-by-10 along with succulents, soil, rocks, and decorating materials. Vicki will explain types of succulents ideal for a terrarium, how to arrange them for aesthetic balance, and how to care for your mini-ecosystem (succulent terrariums are low-maintenance easy to maintain. This workshop is also available to private groups, for details email Lacey at or call 520.689.2723

Craft Class: Thunder Gourds, May 2
$75-$85. With your credit card ready, call 520.689.2723 to enroll.
Thunder gourds make a low rumbling noise like thunder when shaken, BTA "Artists-In-Residence" Vicki and Gerald Johnson will demonstrate how to make your own version of this popular noisemaker in this unique new class. Students will burn a design onto the gourd, then color it. After the gourd is sealed with a topcoat, students will attach a membrane and spring to the bottom of the open gourd. All materials including a clean, prepared gourd are included. Would your music club, drum circle or other community group like to schedule this activity as a private group? Contact Lacey at

Arboretum History Walk Sunday May 3 at 10 am
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? Learn about the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum on a walking tour guided by Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee. Walks typically last about 90-minutes, departing at 10am from the Visitor Center breezeway. Tour repeats May 3 at 10am. Correspond with Sylvia, or read more about

National Public Garden Day - Get Online Coupon for Free Admission May 8 Friday
Boyce Thompson Arboretum returns to Summer hours in May and we're open daily from 6:00am to 3:00 pm. One special Friday, May 8, the Arboretum joins botanical gardens, arboreta and botanical institusions offering free admission on National Public Gardens Day - a coupon is required, click here to obtain your free pass online from the American Public Gardens Association

North American Migrant Bird Count Saturday May 9
Can you ID most of the common desert birds with confidence? Pinal County coordinator Doug Jenness needs teams of skilled birders recording all they can see and hear at BTA, Oak Flat, upstream along Queen Creek, and at Top-Of-The-World (also “urban birds” in parks and neighborhoods in our neighboring town of Superior, also Queen Valley and Gold Canyon). To volunteer with the cuont, call Doug Jenness at 520-909-1529, or email

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks Resume May 9
8:00 AM with Wild Man Phil Rakoci and Steven Prager as our guides
This entertaining guided walk is for kids -- adults -- and all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. Casa Grande naturalist and outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci is our special guest tourguide. There's no additional fee, and no pre-registration necessary, just be in our Visitor Center breezeway at 8:00am. Walks continue June 13 and again July 11 - with Abi King from Arizona Game & Fish Department as our guest in July. See photos andconnect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook. See photos and read more

LightRoom 5 Users Group May 10 , Sunday
10am til noon in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Photographer and digital editing enthusiasts Rimgaudas and Jack coordinate our once-a-month meeting of the LightRoom5 users group. These informal workshops are open to the public, free to BTA annual members and included with $10 daily admission if you're not among annual members. Connect with Rim and read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Wine Bottle Windchimes May 16
Saturday from 9:00am til Noon. $30 for BTA member, $40 nonmembers . With your credit card ready, call 520.689.2723 to enroll. Learn how to cut and string empty wine bottles into a beautiful wind chime with coaching from BTA's 'Artist-In-Residence' couple Vicki & Gerald Johnson. Participants will assemble prepared bottles to create a melodic wind chime, then decorate 'em with adornments such as beads. Materials including cut and prepped wine bottles will be included. Would your community's wine tasting club, Red Hat ladies or other community group like to book this class for a private group? Email
Lacey at

Gourd Art For Beginners May 23
May 23, Saturday; 9am - noon. $35-$45.
Try your hand at gourd art -- gourds offer a 3-D canvas, they're a medium you can paint, etch, carve, burn, stitch, emboss on or all of the above. Basic Gourd Art returns Saturday morning May 23 and spaces are available, call 520.689.2723 and have a credit card ready to prepay the $35 fee ($45 for nonmembers). Gourd art is the most popular workshop offered by our artists-in-residence Vicki and Gerald Johnson; they've expanded their creative series to include advanced gourd workshops such as 'pine needle coiling', thunder gourds, and even a new class in gourd mask-making. For more info, email lpacheco@cals.arizona.ed

Advanced Photography Composition with Sue Tatterson
to be on the Waiting list
email [ BTAinfo AT ]
In the visual arts, line, shape, form, pattern and texture are the basic elements of design; learning to use them successfully in your photographic compositions will enhance your skillset and take your photographs to another level. Gold Canyon artist Sue Tatterson leads a workshop exploring each of these design elements in depth. Read a more complete description at our
Photo Class Pagefor details about other Camera classes

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Classes Aug. 1-2, Aug. 29-30
9:30am. And Don't Miss Superior’s Annual Festival Aug. 24
Have you wanted to pick a peck o’ prickly pears, but didn't know how to get the stickers off before turning the bright red fruits into tasty jelly – or margaritas? On two special weekends in August we’ll offer back-to-back classes on Saturdays and Sundays Aug. 1-2 and also Aug. 29-30 coaching the finer points of processing the ripe fruit of the season for fresh batches of jelly, jam, syrup and more. Workshops feature Chef Eric & Terri of Tall Order Catering, with their unique spin on Cactus Cuisine and lessons on de-spining & processing. No pre-registration is necessary for any of these classes, just be in the visitor center breezeway by the 9:30am start time. Over the years more than 2,000 have attended BTA’s unique series of cactus classes teaching “How To Juice Prickly Pears” -- a summertime series so popular it spawned a cactus culinary festival in the neighboring town of Superior. Our experts share proven techniques to pick, prepare, process and preserve these juicy, seasonal fruits of the Sonoran Desert -- with tasty, healthy prickly pear snacks shared at the end of each class. Learn from prickly pear pickin’ pros! And mark your calendar to attend the 4th Annual Prickly Pear Festival in Superior on Aug. 22. Superior’s culinary celebration of cactus cuisine includes guided desert hike, a pancake breakfast - complete with prickly pear syrup, of course; vendors and guest speakers. Preview the event
check out this Prickly Pear Festival Gallery By Jack Haskell

Home School Day Tours - Email to be on our list
email Lacey at to be on the list for 2016
Our guides were pleased to see the positive response to our final Home School Days event in April ("plants of the bible lands" guided tours"); to be on the email list for the 2016 schedule, email education coordinator lacey at so you'll be among the first to be notified about dates for 2016 home school tours. And if you'd like to attend our regularly-scheduled Plants of the Bible Lands guided walking tour, these continue on the third Saturday each month: April 18 at 1:30pm. The popular tour moves to a morning start time of 8am during Summer months May 16, June 20, July 18 and August 15. Want more info about Home School days? download our informative PDF

Master Gardener Presentations

Volunteers with the Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program will resume their Fall-Winter once-a-month Saturday series of seminars.There's no pre-registration required to attend these once-a-month workshops offered by Superstition Mountain Master Gardener volunteers, and no additional fee or enrollment - these are included with daily admission of $10 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. For more info about our local Master Gardeners group, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at

Camera Basics: Moving To Manual With Michael Madsen & Patty Van Herpen
DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED call 520-689-2723 to be on our mailing list f
Looking for an inexpensive class in photography and camera basics? Sign-up soon for this one: an informal but thorough Saturday afternoon that begins with classroom time, then moves outdoors for in-the-field camera practice and coaching. One recent participant wrote this: "I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this class, it was extremely helpful to me. The instructors, specially Michael, were professional, knowledgable and were able to relate well to the group. Thanks so much.". Here's one more: ""I loved the camera class given by Michael & Patty! Information was presented very well and the hands-on shoot that afternoon very helpful. An informative, and also fun class as well. BTA is one of my favorite places to go for learning." Read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Bye-Bye Buzzards - on a September Saturday To Be Announced
7am Vulture Viewing, 8:30am bird walk, 9am-1pm Live Bird Exhibit
March 21 brings the Spring Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians; the Arboretum has a day filled with events starting just after sunrise with the annual 'Welcome Back Buzzards' seasonal send-off. with a special Saturday early opening at 7:00 am, one hour early for this month, to see the famous flock of Turkey Vultures perched on the cliffs before they depart to spend their day soaring the skies. World-traveled ASU Professor Dave Pearson will be our special guest 'Vulture-ologist' from 7:00-8:30, talking about the big black birds, answering questions and sharing his appreciation for the soaring scavengers until the vultures take to the skies -- typically by 8:30am. Dr. Pearson and others will guide birdwalks through the gardens at 8:30, and from 9:00-2:00 volunteer wildlife rehabbers from the Arizona Game & Fish Department will have their popular living exhibit of raptors and reptiles set up near the Smith Building, so kids and adults alike can have closeup views of a real, live Turkey Vulture along with hawks and owls.
View a Bye Bye Buzzards Day event video by Arboretum Volunteer Mike Rolfe

Full Moon Drum Circle DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Looking for a unique way to salute the rising full moon? Cindy Green is organizing a ‘Full Moon Drum Circle’ on that Sunday evening, two hours of participatory percussion beneath our towering and shady trees that encircle the Smith Building courtyard. Drummers are invited to call Cindy Green at 480-299-4129, or to email Cindy at [] for details. Green coaches drum-building workshops, and says all drums are welcome. No percussion? No problem! Green will bring a few loaners for those who wish to participate and revel in the ancient sound of drums echoing in the towering hackberry and mesquite trees which shade the Smith Building front courtyard. BTA closes at ____ p.m. during ______; we'll reopen the main gate at ______ for BTA members on this special evening. The two-hour drum circle begins at_______, continuing through sunset and by the light of the rising full moon, expected at _________, ending and closing the park again at dark _______. You're not among our members yet, but would like to join us and attend? Membership starts at $50 for a full year for a couple - and that includes a pair of one-time-use guests passes to bring two friends or family for a visit; with a credit card ready call 520-689-2723 to order a membership by phone. View a short film clip of Cindy Green drumming at BTA