Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

Summer Hours 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM
6 a.m. - 3 p.m. daily > No Entry After 2:00 PM
The Arboretum is open during summer every day through September 30 from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is taken until 2:00 pm., visitors are not admitted after 2:00, so our final guests each day still have one full hour to walk the gardens and trails. READ MORE IN OUR E-NEWSLETTER

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Kathy & Tom McDonald July 24 , Sunday
Explore our Curandero Trail July 24 on a one-hour Sunday walk guided by local authors and desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald, owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon . 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. Another of our special guest leaders for this walk 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

Arizona’s Edible Mushrooms Lecture/Slideshow July 24, Sunday, 9:30am
Late July could be prime time for harvesting native mushrooms – Arizona ‘fungophiles’ are optimistic that precipitation this month will sprout mushrooms that summon visions of culinary adventure and haute cuisine: chanterelles, morels, oysters and boletes; shaggy-manes and lobster mushrooms – plus the Caesar’s amanita, unique to our American Southwest. Even puffballs are edible, as you’ll learn July 24 in a Sunday morning lecture by author, videographer and fungi aficionado Jim Warnecke. The lecture follows our regularly scheduled 8am guided walking tour where Kathy & Tom McDonald explain edible & medicinal uses for native plants. After their walk, cool off in our air-conditioned lecture room from 9:30 – 11:00 am and learn about edible mushrooms from retired AZ Game & Fish Department biologist Jim & and his wife Dana, both experienced and enthusiastic hunters of Arizona’s most prized edible mushrooms. They’ll have copies of their video Arizona’s 11 Most Edible Mushrooms presenting the what, where, when, how and why of Grand Canyon State fungi foraging. Jim & Dana are BTA members and will discount their DVD at $13 (cash or check accepted) for those who attend the talk.
“If one hunted only the 11 species presented in our 21-minute film, it would still be enough for a lifetime of tasty pleasures,” says Jim. “This professionally produced film contains lush and illustrative cinematography of fungi - you’ll see all the distinguishing features of these choice edibles in clear, close-up detail.” For a sneak preview, check out:
Find a mushroom hunters’ checklist, read precautionary advice -- even get tips on training your dog to find fungi at

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk with 'Wild Man Phil' July 30
at 8:00 a.m. - tour repeats August 13 and September 10 with guides Dan, Jamie & Steven
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. Walks continue July 30 Casa Grande outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' Rakocias our special guest tourguide. connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook . Lizard walks continue August 13 and also September 10 feature Arizona Audubon naturalist Steven Prager, along with with Arizona Game & Fish Department reptile researcher Dan Leavitt & Jamie Wisenall. 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
Arrive early and explore - during Summer months from May-through-September BTA opens at 6:00am.

Dragonfly Walks August 6, September 3
8:30 AM
Arizona State University researcher Joanna Henry is our special guest leader August 6, guiding the once-a-month odonate excursion here, an interpreted walking tour to Ayer Lake and garden water features -- a chance to learn about these beautiful, fascinating insect predators. Bring your camera because our guides safely net a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects unharmed. Dragonfly enthusiast Justin Jones guides this walk on alternate months, and ASU Professor Pierre Deviche leads our season finale dragonfly walk October 1. Check out colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website launched by Pierre:

Book Club Special ‘Meet the Author’ Event Friday, August 5
9:00 a.m.
Max Early has been described as "the Carl Sandburg of Laguna Pueblo. Nothing escapes his notice: not the bustle of ants, not the shiver of tassels in a husk of corn, not even the 'sounds eagles hear' when rainclouds gather. Golden, gossamer, the poems in this volume shimmer and gather light. Meet this acclaimed Native American potter and poet in person when he's the special guest of Arboretum Book Club members to discuss his book Ears of Corn: Listen. His poems gracefully detail both the everyday and the extraordinary moments of family and community life, work and art, sadness and celebration at the Laguna Pueblo of New Mexico. The beauty of Early's writing beckons the reader to accompany him on the journey between ancient and modern times.
Our BTA book club showcases a new title each month, with a lively Friday morning discussion group. 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. 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

Guided Bird Walk August 7, Sunday -- and Also August 8, Monday
6:30 A.M. Our resident Northern Cardinals were among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens this week -- Read bird checklist reports and join us for a birdwalk with Kathe Anderson at 6:30 am on August 7, or Monday August 8 with a special Monday bird walk guided by Rick Wright.

Members-Only Sunday Evening ‘Bird Sit’ With Rick Wright Aug. 7
> plus a a Monday morning Bird Walk Aug. 8 open to the public
You may have attended one of our popular weekend bird walks – but how about a ‘bird sit’? New Jersey resident and author Rick Wright returns to Arizona by popular demand during the first week of August – he’s among featured field trip leaders at the SouthWest Wings birding and nature festival in Sierra Vista; while in the Grand Canyon State he also wanted a chance to revisit BTA, and offered to host a Sunday Aug. 7 Bird Sit just before sunset, an exclusive for BTA annual members.
“Enjoy great birds, great company – and a relaxed evening of armchair birding and talking together quietly,” says Rick. “We'll spend most of our time actually sitting in a peaceful, shady spot in the Demonstration Garden, letting the park's impressive variety of breeding birds come to us.” Connect with Rick Wright on Facebook. No sign-up is required for this special after-hours BTA members-only event, but you should RSVP with an email to Paul at for a ‘day-of-event’ confirmation email, just in case a summer storm appears likely to cancel the event.
Rick will also sign copies of his new ABA Field Guide to Birds of Arizona.
Monday Bird Walk & Sit
The next morning (Monday, Aug. 8) brings a traditional bird walk guided by Rick from 6:30 am to about 8:30 am, ending in the Demo Garden with an hour or two ‘bird sit’ similar to his plans for Sunday evening. Enthused for some exercise? Be here at 6:30 for a guided walk around the whole main trail – then stick around and cool-off for a sedentary hour parked in the Demo Garden. Rick’s ‘Bird Sit’ is also ideal for senior birders who find fewer chances to visit BTA to enjoy a morning birding with friends – and also for those who bird by wheelchair, and birders of all different mobilities.

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturdays August 20 and September 17 at 8:00 am
8:00 AM on the Third Saturday of each Summer 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. 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

LightRoom 5 Users Group August 20, September 25
10:00 AM til Noon in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Theme for the month is "Food and Summer Treats," August 20 when photographers and digital photo editing enthusiasts assemble for their once-a-month meeting of the LightRoom5 users group. For details email moderator Tim Wohlever. September 25 the group once again meets on a Sunday morning and the assignment is for all participants to process the same RAW photo. Also during the September meetup
Moderator Jack Haskell will demonstrate portraiture setup and processing. 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

Sunday Tree Tour - August 21
at 8:00 am - repeats August 21
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 August 27
** 8:00 am
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with a professional geologist as your guide; this tour begins at 8:00 am from our visitor center breezeway. 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. professional geologist Rich Leveilleis one of our engaging BTA geology tour guide here, another is ASU Professor Steve Semken

August 27 Butterfly Walk with Adriane Grimaldi
8:30 AM; start time moves to 9:00 am for the September 24 guided walk
Adriane Grimaldi leads Arboretum guests on 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 Adriane Grimaldi ; and she returns September 24 when the start time moves to 9:00 am. Gail Morris leads the season finale walk October 22 at 9:30 a.m. Read more about butterflies in this interview with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

September 10 – Annual ‘CAZBA’ Butterfly Count
8:30 am. Volunteers with the Central Arizona Butterfly Association host their 10th annual census of these lovely “flowers on the wing” at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, as well as Oak Flat and several other locations within the total count circle, which has a 15-mile diameter. Participants will be assigned to a leader to tally all the butterflies they can find during the morning – and then meet for an informal buffet lunch at a restaurant in nearby Superior (usually Jade Grill, where Chef Lucy Wing serves a delicious family-style buffet for about $10 each). How many species can be found? The record is 44 during a single day by CAZBA board member and volunteer Marceline VandeWater. To sign up for the count, email coordinator Ron Rutowski at

Photography Class with Sue Tatterson - date to be announced
Gold Canyon photography instructor Sue Tatterson strives to tell new stories with each subject captured in her len; her early morning workshop here is timed to optimal natural light -- and will focus on 'behind the scene' photography, which she describes as: "getting to a deeper and more artistic truth of your subject, for example - not just capturing that beautiful façade of your favorite old weathered building - but inviting the viewer to think about the age and origin of the structure - who built it, who may have lived or raised a family there. It's said that every picture tells a story; my take is that truly memorable photos will spark a conversation." Read more

Sunday History Walk - Date To Be Announced
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 -- read more

Home School Day Tours Fall, Winter Spring DATES TO BE ANNOUCED
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; and with themes ranging from geology to edible-medicinal desert plants, the Arizona tour, and our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day. Pre-registration is required; for more complete descriptions of each day, or to be added to our email list for the 2016-2017 schedule, contact education coordinator lacey at with this as your subject line:
Home School Days at BTA