Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

March - April 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 this Winter and Spring, continuing through April, at 11:00 a.m. Meet in the visitor center breezeway. Tours are free to Boyce Thompson Arboretum annual members, also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass, and for non-members tours are included with $12.50 daily admission

Guided Bird Walks April 1, April 9 , April 21 and 23
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.
Weekend walks continue April 1 with Mark Ochs and Kathe Anderson, April 9 with Anne Leight; a special Friday walk April 21 is guided by Lisa & Peggy; and our final 8:30 walk is April 23 with Cathy Wise and Steven Prager. Daily hours return to the Summer schedule starting May 1, open 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during Summer months.
Check out recent Arboretum sightings on Ebird

Weekend Wildflower Walks Move to 10 AM in April
10:00 a.m. April 1 & 2
Early April is peak wildflower season at our elevation; brittlebush color surrounding hillsides golden; Poppies and penstemons are just two among dozens of flower varieties you'll see bordering our trails. Guided weekend wildflower walks move to 10:00 a.m. in April, every Saturday and Sunday. See daily photos as the flower season progresses

Home Schoolers Plants of the Bible Lands Activity and Tour Thursday March 30
> final workshop is Edible-Medicinal Desert Plants on April 27
Guided tours offered to public school groups are also available to home-schoolers on special Fall-Winter dates, students and up to two parents or chaperones per family are $2 each; additional adults $12.50 per person; pre-register during daytime business hours - have a credit card ready and call 520. 689. 2723.
Tourguide Jim Shepherd leads a morning studying Plants of the Bible Lands day March 30; Thursday workshops conclude
with our popular module exploring Edible-Medicinal Desert Plants on April 27. Pre-registration is required; for more complete descriptions of each day, or to be added to our email list for the 2017 and 2018 schedule, contact education coordinator lacey at with this as your subject line:
Home School Days at BTA

March 30 Thursday Morning ‘Gentle Yoga' CANCELLED - and moved to April 6
* please call or email Sheila to RSVP
Beginners are definitely welcome to attend a new ‘gentle yoga’ class -- but please call or email Kripalu Yoga coach Sheila at 516.987.1042 or sheilakellym@gmail.comto RSVP for the April 6 Thursday session -- her March 30 session is cancelled. There is no extra fee to participate, the session is included with daily admission of $12.50; or free to BTA annual members -- also free if you have an Arizona State Parks annual pass. Sessions may continue in May and during Summer months, depending on interest from our members and visitors.

Lightroom, PhotoShop & More - Digital Photographers Meet April 1 , Saturday
9:00 a.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet April 1 (Saturday) at 9:00 a.m. in the Smith Building Lecture room, beginners are definitely welcome to attend this popular recurring meetup, which expands this year to include programs and platforms beyond LightRoom. For details email

Pinal Master Gardeners Workshop April 1 - G0ing Vertical
11:00 A.M.
Are you ready for some change in your garden? ‘Going Vertical’ is the topic Saturday, April 1 at 11am when green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program end their series of Saturday morning once-a-month outdoor workshops. Go vertical and discover the awesome world of flowering vines; learn to add unique, vertical dimension to your desert garden. Add a few "divine vines" and watch 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:

Art ‘Paint & Wine’ Classes with Carla Keaton 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

Thursday Morning ‘Gentle Yoga’ -- April 6
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
First-time yoga beginners are definitely welcome to attend our new ‘gentle yoga’ class here on April 6 -- and please note that a session original scheduled for March 30 is cancelled.
There's no extra fee to participate, the session is included with $12.50 daily admission for non-members; free to Arboretum annual members and also Arizona StateParks pass-holders. Sessions may continue in May and during Summer months, depending on the level of interest from our members and visitors. Where to meet? In the Children's Learning Center, the round open pavilion in the Children's Garden just east of the Smith Building. What to bring? A strap belt and yoga mat, if you have one - a beach towel or blanket if you don't.
"All are welcome," says Sheila, and readers who'd like to ask specific questions about Kripalu Yoga are welcome to call Sheila at 516.987.1042 or email

Book Club Friday, April 7 Never Don't Pay Attention by Jan Cleere -
9:00 a.m. Our BTA book club showcases a new title each month, with a lively Friday morning discussion group -- April readers will discuss Never Don't Pay Attention by Jan Cleere.
Attendance at our once-a-month meetup is included with $12.50 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

Basic Gourd Art Saturday April 8
10 a.m.
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 April 8 - 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 $42.50 fee ($52.50 for nonmembers).

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Mike Hills April 8
1:30 p.m. > repeats April 23
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail guided by desert plants enthusiast and gourmand Mike Hills twice in April: Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 23rd. 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. Summertim tours move to 8:00 a.m. May 28 and also June 25 with
Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David guiding the walk, then July 23 and Aug. 27 with Jim Shepherd. Dave Morris returns Sept. 24.
                      ** 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

Live Music with Trio Rio - Concert April 15
12:30 - 2:00
Pack a picnic and invite friends to hear these accomplished musicians; bandmates include band leader Ronnie Glover on guitar and vocals, Ron Rutowski on fiddle, Don Paddock on bass and Billy Parker on mandolin. Yes, it can be a four-person trio, and they dub their music 'acoustic americana'; one description of their style is "fiddle-driven enough to satisfy the tastes of the country, swing and bluegrass fans while also staying true to the soul of the ballads and the blues."
Hear a few songs and find the band's full schedule

Patrons at the Side Door in Scottsdale can catch the band any Thursday, at the Blind PIg in Scottsdale Sunday afternoon, and atJaney's in Cave Creek on March 25. Each year they hit the road for concerts in California andTexas. Prominent shows they played here in AZ include former AZ governor Janet Napolitano's inaugural party - and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's birthday party. Their set list often includes Pancho and Lefty, El Gallo del Cielo, Miles and Miles of Texas, Sugar Moon, Southwestern Pilgrimage, Cooler than Hell, The Road Goes on Forever, Deep Water, Saint Olof's Gate and Tonight We Ride.

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday April 15
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. March brings a chance to learn about frankincense on Dave’s ‘Unusual plants’ outing; April 15 spotlights ‘Food plants’ and in May Dave’s topic will be Trees. History, scripture and biblical botany are narrated during this relaxed, slow-paced walk through gardens that are all easily accessible for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. From May-through-September when BTA is on the Summer schedule and hours are 6am - 3pm, David’s guided walk on the 3rd Saturday each month moves to 8:00 a.m. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. Connect with David and Check out a few Plants of the Bible Lands on Facebook.
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.

Earth Day Concert – Live Music with Baba Marimba April 22, Saturday
10:00 AM outdoors - and included with $12.50 Daily Admission
Drums and marimba will echo in the picnic area Saturday morning April 22 with live music from 10-11 a.m. in celebration of Earth Day. Other events include a spider lecture by Terry Stone; for complete times and details about this special event call Lori at 520.609.7873

Geology Guided Walk April 22 , 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. Geologist Rich Leveilleis also among our guide cadre. Read more Arizona Geology with ASU Professor Steve Semken

Sunday Intro to Photography Walk April 23
Spaces Limited - RSVP by email or phone to MiMi
Valley photographers MiMi, Jack, Tim, Mark and Kathy have 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. The quintet of photographers host an informal photography walkabout each month; beginning with some classroom time inside and then heading outdoors to photograph with coaching frmo your choice of the five instructors. The goal is to share a few basic camera lessons while photographing the gardens. These photo walks 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."
there's no separate fee to attend - these informal sessions are included with $12.50 daily admission; free to Arboretum annual members and Arizona State Parks pass-holders. RSVP by email to MiMi for the photo walkabout, or sign-up for her next camera outing in April .
Read more and RSVP by Email or Phone

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks May 13, June 10, July 8
8:00 a.m.
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. Walks begin Saturday May 13 with Arizona Audubon guides Steven Prager and Cathy Wise along with Audrey Owens; continuing June 10 with 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci; on July 8 Phil will be joined by Arizona Game & Fish reptile researcher Dan Leavitt and lizard enthusiast Jamie Wisenall. July ends with a special weekend of reptile walks, Phil Rakoci guides Saturday July 29 and also Sunday July 30 when he's joined by Steven Prager and Cathy Wise of Arizona Audubon. Phil, Dan & Jamie are a trio of guides for the walks August 12 and September 9.
See photos and read more

Butterfly Walks Resume May 27
9:30 a.m.
Join us for a guided butterfy walk each month this Summer -- a walking tour to see, photograph and learn about colorful species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. This leisurely, slow-paced guided tour proceeds along paths that are wheelchair-accessible, exploring our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Ron Rutowski guides the season debut May 27 at 9:00 a.m., after that tours move to an 8:30 start time
June 24 with Marceline VandeWater as our guide, and Ron's our guide again July 22 and Aug. 26. 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.

Tree Tour with Jeff Payne DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
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.

Sunday History Walk with Sylvia Lee 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? Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee narrates this two-hour walking tour focused on the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson, and his Arboretum. READ MORE about arboretum history