Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

January Daily Guided Walking Tours of the Main Trail
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 this month, and continuing through March, at 11:00 a.m. Meet in the visitor center breezeway; tours are free to BTA annual members, also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass, adn for non-members tours are
included with $12.50 daily admission

Guided Bird Walks Friday January 20, also January 29, February 4, February 12
8:30 a.m.
Bright red resident Northern Cardinals are among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens here every week --Read bird checklist reports and learn more about BTA winter birds on guided birdwalks at 8:30 a.m. Special twice-a-month Friday birdwalks guided by Lisa Murphy are January 20 and February 3 and 17; our weekend walks resume
Sunday January 29 with Cindy West and Kathe Anderson as our guides, then continue February 4 with Marceline VandeWater, February 12 with Troy Corman, Ferbruary 18 with Kathe Anderson, and February 26 with Cathy Wise, Steven Prager and Charlie Babbitt.
Check out recent Arboretum sightings on Ebird

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday January 21
1:30 Start Time, repeats on the third Saturday each month
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. January 21 spotlights ‘Food plants’ and February 18 Dave’s topic will be Trees. March brings a chance to learn about frankincense on Dave’s ‘Unusual plants’ outing. Expect to learn some new things, too, about history, scripture and biblical botany during this relaxed, slow-paced walk through gardens that are all easily accessible for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Can't join us Saturday, but you're intrigued by this walking tour? David’s other Plants of the Bible Lands walks recur on the 3rd Saturday each month this winter at 1:30pm. See
Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. Read more in our ENews

The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes
and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths.
Check out a few Plants of the Bible Lands on Facebook
. 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

Sunday Intro to Photography Walk with MiMi Paris January 22
Spaces Limited - RSVP by email or phone to MiMi
Valley artist MiMi Paris has 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 making amazing portraits. She hosts our new photography walkabout once each month. Her classroom is outdoors and informal, and her goal is to share a few basic camera lessons while photographing the gardens. These photo walks with MiMi 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 environment - a small group 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."
RSVP by email to MiMi for the photo walkabout January 22, or sign-up for her special Valentines-themed camera outing on February 11.
Read more and RSVP by Email or Phone

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Kathy and Tom January 22 Sunday
1:30 p.m. > repeats February 11 with Dave Morris
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail guided by local authors and desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald, owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon
January 22 at 1:30 p.m. 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. This tour repeats February 11, and our special guest guide for that Saturday walk is Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris
                      ** 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

Geology Guided Walk January 28 , Saturday
** 1:30 p.m.
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with Professional geologist Scott McFadden 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. Rich Leveille guides the February 25 walk -- get acquainted with engaging BTA geology tour guide professional geologist Rich Leveilleand another charismatic rock walk guide, ASU Professor Steve Semken

Gardening Workshop With Pinal Master Gardeners February 4
Saturdays once-a-month February 4; and April 1
“Fruits of Your Labor”is the topic Saturday, February 4 at 11am
when green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program resume their informal series of Saturday morning once-a-month outdoor workshops. Ever since man first tasted the apple, luscious fruit has become essential to our diet. In Arizona we can grow apples, oranges, lemons, peaches, figs, plums, apricots, pomegranates and more in our backyards and even patios! Make your desert garden more “fruitful." The topic April 1 is ‘Going Vertical.’ Are you ready for some change in your garden? It’s time to go vertical and discover the awesome world of flowering vines. Discover the tips and tricks to adding unique, vertical dimension to your desert garden. Try some "divine vines" and watch as your flowers reach for the sky! For more information about our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email:

Gourd Art for Beginners February 4, Gourd Rain Sticks February 5
10 a.m. (and more gourd classes March 4 - 5 )
Try your hand at a new art form this Winter; gourd art offer a three-dimensional canvas, gourds are inexpensive, and a medium you can paint, etch, carve, burn, stitch, emboss upon -- or all of the above. Vicki & Gerald Johnson’s popular introductory workshop in Basic Gourd Art returns Saturday February 4 -- this class is for beginners and repeat students wanting to improve their skills - basic gourd art includes gourd cleaning and preparation, choosing and drawing a design, wood-burning and applying color. Spaces are available, to enroll call 520.689.2723 with your credit card ready to prepay the $40 fee ($50 for nonmembers). Basic Gourd art repeats March 5 and April 8
> Or sign up for the Sunday (February 5) specialized workshop to make a Gourd Rain Stick', that simulates the soothing sound of rain using a gourd, chicken wire and rice. Instructors Vicki and Gerald suggest that students complete the basic Gourd Art class befoerhand to learn the basics, but it is not required.  A cleaned and cut gourd and all materials are provided and students leave with a completed project. Enrollment $45 - $55.

Book Club Friday, February 6 - Keeping the Rope Straight, Annie Dodge Wauneka's Life of Service to the Navajo
9:00 a.m. Our BTA book club showcases a new title each month, with a lively Friday morning discussion group -- and our title for February is Keeping the Rope Straight, Annie Dodge Wauneka's Life of Service to the Navajo by Carolyn Niethammer
“Do not let my straight rope fall to the ground. If you discover it dropping, quickly one of you pick it up and hold it aloft and straight.” Henry Chee Dodge, father of Annie Wauneka Inspired by the example of her father, Henry Chee Dodge, Annie dedicated her life to helping her people. With amazing skill and foresight, Annie melded traditional Navajo culture with the modern world, and brought about unprecedented improvements in the healthcare and education available to her people. Her years of service earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to her by Lyndon B. Johnson. More precious, however, was her title of Our Legendary Mother in the hearts of the people of the Navajo Nation.
Attendance at our once-a-month meetup is included with $10 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. In March readers will discuss Cadillac Desert by Marc Riesner. April brings Never Don't Pay Attention by Jan Cleere. 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

Art ‘Paint & Wine’ Classes with Carla Keaton February 11, March 12, April 1
12:00 - 2:00 PM
$35 - $47.50 prepaid enrollment - call 520.689.2723 with credit card ready

Create your own unique piece of personal art; with an optional glass of wine to help spark creativity!
Carla Keaton, owner of the Keaton Fine Art Gallery, launched a new series of ‘paint & wine’ events in her gallery and also in clients’ homes. “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.
Connect with Carla at call her at 480-228-1500 or email

Tree Tour with Jeff Payne February 19
1:30 pm
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

Spring Plant Sale Daily through March 10 - 26
Members-Only Preview Shopping March 10, Friday
This popular annual fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, cacti and succulents helps raise money to support programs and collections at the Arboretum – and if you need planting and landscaping advice, Arboretum staff are joined by helpful volunteers from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program weekend days advising and assisting buyers with suggestions for trees and smaller plants ideal for landscaping projects. Event continues daily throug March 26. Wondering about specific plants in stock? Call Arboretum staff during daily business hours at 520.689.2723, or
browse the most recent plant sale list posted online

Home School Day Tours 2017
for details email Lacey at
Guided tours offered to public school groups are also available to home-schoolers on special Fall-Winter dates, ranging from $2 - $10 per person. Topics include our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day; we also have a new workshop in geology and rock identification -- another module on Edible-Medicinal Desert Plants. Pre-registration is required; for more complete descriptions of each day, or to be added to our email list for the 2017 schedule, contact education coordinator lacey at with this as your subject line:
Home School Days at BTA

Spring 2017 Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks
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. See photos and read more

Butterfly Walks Resume April 2017
9:30 a.m.
Gail Morris found so much Butterfly variety in our gardens on her October walk that she offered to lead a "Sunday Special" season finale butterfy walk November 13 -- a walking tour to see, photograph and learn about colorful species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. This relaxed and slow-moving walk explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Read more about butterflies in this interview with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

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.