Education Tours and Programs
For Children and Adults

    Teachers and parents: our goal is that you consider the Arboretum an extension of your class rather than just a day-trip destination for the students. Our guided tours are targeted to meet a range of Arizona statewide academic standards, and we want to hear from educators as we continue to develop and improve our new school outreach program. Review the guided tours we offer below and request one by email to Education Coordinator Lacey Pacheco, or call Lacey during daytime business hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at
602. 827. 3165

   We offer a wide range of tours throughout the year including once-a-month tours interpreting Edible/Medicinal Desert Plants, also Plants of the Bible Land. During summertime months we offer "Learn Your Lizards" guided walking tours, guided butterfly and dragonfly walks. More detail on all of these can be found below
read more on the EVENTS page

    Thousands of students from Maricopa, Pinal and Gila county schools visit the Arboretum each year, and our volunteer tourguides have plenty of practice answering questions like these. Classes from public and private schools - and homeschoolers, too - visit the arboretum nearly every week to enjoy a guided tour of the grounds and lessons in desert ecology from our knowledgeable docents and staff.

    Teachers: don't miss the opportunity to bring your class for a guided tour. To request one review the tours below and email your request to Education Coordinator, Lacey Pacheco,, or call Lacey at 602. 827. 3000
Education is among our highest priorities and fees are reduced: from $2-$4 per student for groups of at least 15 youths who are affiliated with a public or private school (homeschoolers please see Homeschool Days schedule below). Guided tours must be pre-arranged with at least four weeks' notice ahead of the requested tour date. School groups typically arrive between 9-10 a.m. for a tour that lasts about two hours and ends up in the picnic area for lunch. All of our theme tours are aligned with Arizona Department of Education Standards.
     Themes and grade levels for the coming year include: The Arizona Tour for grades 3-8, The Tree Tour (grades 3-8), Deserts of the World ( grades 7-12), Plants of the Bible Land (for any grade level, and adult tour groups as well).

    Arizona Tour for grades 3-8
Teaches Arizona ecology and habitat, Arizona's common plants, state symbols, and the geology that has shaped our state.

    Deserts of the World for grades 7-12
Students learn about the various deserts of the world, weather patterns and landforms that create these desert conditions and how plants, animals, and people have adapted to life in the desert.

    Tree Tour for grades 3-8
Students will learn about the processes trees use to sustain life, be able to identify trees common to central and southern Arizona, discuss the interdependence between trees and people, and receive an introduction to "Treeometry."

    Plants of the Bible Land for all grades -- this tour is also available by special arrangement for adult groups and clubs
Did you know that the Sinai Desert lies roughly at the same latitude as our own Sonoran Desert? For this reason, it is not surprising that many of the same plants common in the Middle East thrive right here at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Join an Arboretum volunteer on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. 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. Opinions and views expressed by volunteers are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum or its management. Read more about our
Plants of the Bible Land Guided Tour

    High School - Art, Photography, Language - All Year (grades 9-12)
These self-guided tours offer opportunities for specialized classes to practice their specialty in a natural setting. For foreign language classes, the arboretum has printed trail guides available in Japanese, Spanish, German, and French. Our beautiful grounds are ideal for art and photography. Be sure to bring plenty of adult chaperones.

Home School Day Learning Activities

Wednesday February 28 - Geology
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Pre-registration is required $2 - $10 per person
Enroll by Phone - Have a Credit Card Ready and Call 602. 827. 3000
Home School families are invited to gather and learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail during a presentation with professional geologist Scott McFadden. The route follows the narrow and rocky High Trail, this is not a "stroller friendly tour.
Spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. 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. Have a credit card ready and call 602. 827. 3000
during daytime business hours from 8am-5pm. Questions – or want to be added to the email list for Homeschool Day announcements? Email Lacey at

Tuesday, March 27 – Arizona Tour
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Join us for this special tour that highlights the many unique and wonderful attributes of Arizona, including geology, edible plants, state symbols, and habitats.

Thursday, April 26, 2017 – Tree Tour
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
The Arboretum is a natural fit for the study of trees. This tour teaches students about basic tree physiology, or in other words how trees work, plant classification,
and even some mathematics with our treeometry activities.

Girl Scout Badge Workshops 2018
You're a Retired Teacher?
Scout Mom
or grown-up Girl Scout?
We Need You -- to Coach Girl Scout Badge Workshops

Here’s a fun way to volunteer and help our education mission here at BTA: coaching girl scout badge workshops this coming Fall, Winter and Spring! Are you a retired teacher, or were you a scout mom who enjoyed escorting your daughters to Girl Scout events -- or maybe you’re a woman with happy memories of your own Girl Scout experiences, and ready to volunteer a day or two each month during the Fall or Spring coaching half-day workshops here? If yes, you’ll be working with education coordinator Lacey Pacheco – she already has the curricula and supplies for badge workshops ranging from the popular ‘Arizona’ badge to Trees, Bugs, Gardening, Animal Habitats, and Geocaching (that’s GPS, compass and map navigation); even unusual workshops such as ‘Letterboxer’ and ‘Woodworker.’
Your volunteer time commitment? Probably 6 hours of a Saturday each month spent here at BTA coaching the workshop, with an additional morning or afternoon one week or two beforehand to meet with Lacey and prepare lessons and supplies. Share your passion for girls’ education -- and join our wonderful cadre of BTA volunteers! Call Lacey at 602. 827. 3000 or email her at