Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

Saturday Guided Bird Walk August 1
6:30am with Nathan Williams August 1
Yellow-breasted Chat, Lucy's Warbler, Bell's Vireo,Northern Cardinal and dozens more species were seen and heard around the gardens this week -- Read bird checklist reports and join us for guided walks to learn basic bird identification skills, and where to find birds at BTA. Kurt Radamaker and members of the Arizona Field Ornithologists board guide a special bird walk August 23, Sunday, prior to their board meeting here - revisit this page next week for the specific start time.

Dragonfly Walk Saturday August 1
8:30 AM - repeats September 5
Dragonfly enthusiast and photographer Roger Racut guides our once-a-month odonate excursion on Saturday mornings August 1 and September 5. This interpreted walking tour takes visitors to Ayer Lake and garden water features -- a chance to learn about these beautiful, fascinating insects. Check out colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website:
http://azdragonfly.netBring your camera because Pierre safely nets a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects unharmed.

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Classes August 1-2, Same Classes Repeat August 29-30
9:30am. And Don't Miss Superior’s Annual Festival Aug. 22
Have you wanted to pick a peck o’ prickly pears, but didn't know how to remove those painful cactus needles 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

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks Saturday August 8 with Wild Man Phil and Abi King
8:00 AM, and our season finale is September 12
This entertaining guided walk isn't just for for kids -- our unique Lizard Walks are popular with all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. There's no additional fee, and no pre-registration necessary, just be in our Visitor Center breezeway at 8:00am start time. Arrive early and explore - BTA opens at 6:00am during August and September. And on August 8 we have two guides: reptile wrangler and researcher Abi King from the Arizona Game & Fish Department - along with Casa Grande outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' RakociSee photos and connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook. Our season finale September 12 will be guided by Phil -- plus a special guest: Tucson author Larry Jones. See photos and read more

General Tour of the Main Trail Saturday August 8
7:30 AM, also September 12
What bird molts foot-long wing feathers? How old is a 10-foot-tall Saguaro? Can you name a desert plant that has a fruit, seed, or nut at its edible peak in mid-July? Arizona State Parks volunteer Jim Shepherd has the answers to a wide range of natural history questions - and shares anecdotes on an informal guided tour of our 1.5 mile main trail. Jim's once-a-month tours are included with daily $10 admission - and depart the visitor center breezeway at 7:30am (future dates are August 8, and September 12) - read more in our E-newsletter

Camera Basics with Sue Tatterson - Sunday August 9
8:00 - 11:00 am, $20-$30 - call 520.689.2723 to enroll and pre-pay
This thorough class in camera basics coached by Gold Canyon artist Sue Tattersonis a bargain at $20 for BTA members, or $30 for nonmembers. Tatterson has spent nearly three decades behind the lens and is expert in the settings and dials of digital cameras, from simple point-and-shoot models to complex DSLRs. Read more and find links to Sue's websites with a visit to our Photo Class Page

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday August 15 at 8am
at 8:00am Third Saturday each month again September 19
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. From May-through-September this tour moves to a morning start time of 8:00am to take advantage of cooler AM temperatures. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. 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

Members Only Nighttime Events - Moth Night Saturday August 15
7:30 PM - 10 pm
You've never walked our trails after hours or explored the gardens by flashlight? Saturday August 15 brings another special evening of after-hours access for our annual members -- when BTA partners with the Central Arizona Butterfly Association ( to offer another "Moth Night." The Arboretum will close at 3:00 as usual, then BTA members and CAZBA members are welcome to begin an evening outing with dinner at our Picnic Area. After dark we'll have a powerful mercury vapor light aimed at a white sheet - offering close-up photographers the chance at macros of fascinating insects lured to the light. Vivid green katydids, ant-lions, assassin bugs, desert tarantulas, and even a rare Tiger Rattlesnake were all seen and photographed during our July Moths and Scorpions event. Read more about these events

POSTPONED Tree Tour With Jeff Payne August 16 - moved to September 20, 8am
8:00 am
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.

Geology walking tour Saturday, August 22 , with Steve Semken
**Summer 8:00 am start time; repeats August 22 with Steve Semken
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour with professional geologist Rich Leveille; this 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.
August 22 our rock walk will be guided by ASU Professor Steve Semken

Butterfly Walk Saturday August 22
Saturday at 8:30am with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski, and also Adriane Grimaldi - repeats September 26
Adriane Grimaldi is the education director at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale - and Saturday August 22 she's our special guest tourguide leading a walk to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterflies here at the Arboretum, 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. Tour start time is 8:30am our butterfly walk leaders are ASU Professor Ron Rutowski and Adriane Grimaldi. This walk repeats September 26 our special guest is Gail Morris -- coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Butterfly Migration research project, along with Jan Harding and Laura Miller
See Butterfly Photos and Learn IDs from CAZBA

LightRoom 5 Users Group August 22 , Saturday
10am til noon in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Photographers and digital photo editing enthusiasts 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 organizers and read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Sunday Walk Guided By Dave Morris August 23
**Summer tours at 8:00 am Kathy and Tom McDonald return as guides September 27
Explore our Curandero Trail on a one-hour walk guided by ethno-botanist and Choctaw Tribal Nation member David Morris July 26 and again August 23; sharing anecdotes about prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves, jojobas -- and explaining ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. This once-a-month Sunday walk repeats September 27 when our guides are desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald; authors, Arizona State Parks Volunteers and owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon. ** 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

Master Gardener Presentations
resume October 3 with "Hot Plants for Cool Spaces"
, again November 7 and December 5
Volunteers with the Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program resume their Fall-Winter once-a-month Saturday series of seminars October 3 with an 11:00 am presentation about "Hot Plants for Cool Spaces." 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. November 7 brings "Co-existing With Wildlife", and December 5 the topic is Plants of the Mediterranean. For more info about our local Master Gardeners group, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at

Gourd Art For Beginners - DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
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 ON A DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED , 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 - DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
$30 - $40, call 520.689.2723 to enroll
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

Arboretum History Walk Sunday FALL DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
this tour resumes in October
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. Correspond with Sylvia, or read more about

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

Spider Talk -- and Web Walk -- Saturday with Terry Stone
Saturday, May 30th, 10 a.m. in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Are you (or someone you know) just a wee-bit squeamish when it comes to the subject of spiders? If a spider is on your ceiling, do you contemplate burning down the house to get rid of it? Now is a good time to allay those fears and learn a few fascinating things about our eight-legged friends. Spider enthusiast and BTA writer/photographer T. Stone offers you a chance to familiarize yourself with the common local spiders and will help dispel any qualms you may have of them. Did you know that brown recluses don't exist in Arizona, but other, less venomous, members of the same spider family do? Did you know that black widows are exceedingly shy of humans? Did you know that we have such fascinating arachnids as spitting spiders and "wind scorpions." T. Stone will present a slide show, live specimens, and then walk you around a portion of the BTA to look at various webs and arachnids. No more need for that rolled up newspaper! Get rid of your arachnophobia with a little practical instruction and a few laughs in this informal talk. Free with general admission or membership. Kids are welcome to attend with their grown-ups, but this is not a talk designed for young children.

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

Members-Only Evening Access - Scorpion Walk And Astronomy DATE TBA
Hot SUMMER daytime temperatures drop at sunset; evening hours from 6:00-8:00 p.m. can be a sublime time to enjoy a picnic and walk around our gardens -- which is why we reserve special access on Summer nights for Arboretum annual members! June 13 brings our next evening of special after-hours-access; bring your own picnic for dinner in the shady picnic area from 6:30-7:30pm, followed by nighttime activities including a scorpion walk and astronomy. Bring your BTA membership card, and join us for an evening of special access including:
* gate reopens at 6:30 pm - bring-your-own dinner for an evening in our picnic area
* Scorpion Lecture 7:30-8:30 p.m.
* UV "Scorp Walk" 8:30-9:30
* Astronomy in the upper parking lot 9:30-10:00 p.m.