Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

June - July Hours Daily from 6:00 - 3:00 > no entry after 2:00
Summer hours continue daily through September 30.
The Arboretum is open 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with no entry after 2:00

Photo Essentials with Alex Coleman Improve Your Photography June 30
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Want to learn more about photography and how to create amazing images? Attend this hands-on class, combining an outdoor shoot on the grounds of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum with an indoor, air-conditioned post-processing session demonstrating the essential tips to import and edit images in Adobe Lightroom. Class will be lead by Alex Coleman, an award winning nature and travel photographer; Coleman donates part of the proceeds to benefit the Arboretum. $40 - does not include $12.50 Arboretum admission

After-Hours Event Saturday June 30: Creepy Crawlies!
5:00-9:00 pm
Parents – signup soon and bring your kids for a special family after-hours evening to learn fact from fiction about scorpions and spiders. Read a complete description in our E-news! This special ‘Creepy Crawlies’ evening helps raise money for the Arboretum during the hot months when visitation drops, June 30 is a special event night where non-members may also attend for $20 adult admission ($10 for ages 5-12). Arboretum annual members and Az State Parks pass-holders pay a reduced enrollment of $7.50 and $5. The Arboretum will close as usual at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon before the event, reopening at 5:00, and the evening ends at 9:00. Check the website for more complete details (, or; sign-up and preregister by phone call to Lacey Pacheco at 520.689.2723, or email

Friday Bird Walks July with Lisa & Peggy July 6 and August 3
6:30 a.m.
Guides Lisa & Peggy will search for Violet-green Swallow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow Warbler and other colorful species on their Friday birdwalk around the main trail. The pair of engaging guides returns Friday July 6 and invite all who love birds to join their 6:30 a.m. walk. Beginners are welcome and so are kids (provided they’re accompanied by a parent or chaperone); and no binoculars are no problem - ask our friendly gift shop staff when you arrive and pay admission, loaners optics are available. BTA bird walks are a great way to get into birding, sharpen your skills and appreciate nature while outdoors getting some light exercise. Read recent bird checklists at BTA’s hot-spot page on Ebird

Book Club Friday, July 6: Pioneer Doctor by Mari Grana
9:00 a.m.
Stopby our gift shop and get your copy of Pioneer Doctor, The Story of a Woman's Work by Mari Grana. Shaded benches around our main trail offer a great place to read on a Summer day beneath towering trees. When Mollie stepped off the train in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1890, she knew she had to start a new life. She had left her husband and their medical practice behind in Iowa. With only a few hundred dollars in her pocket and a great deal of pride, she set out to find a new position as a physician. She was offered a job as a doctor to the miners in Bannack, Montana, and thus began her epic adventures as a pioneer doctor, a suffragette, and a crusader for public health reform in the Rocky Mountain West. Pioneer Doctor is the true story of Dr. Mary (Mollie) Babcock Atwater, a doctor when women doctors were unheard of, who found freedom and opportunity in the wide-open spaces of America's frontier West. This remarkable tale has been told here by her granddaughter, award-winning author Mari Grana. Blending information from records as well as interviews with family and friends, the author has reconstructed Mollie's steps into a dramatic narrative that brings to life the doctor's struggles, her accomplishments, and the times in which she lived. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, this is not just the biography of a fascinating woman, it is also the story of an era when daring women ventured forth and changed history. Attendance at our once-a-month book club 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). Stop by our gift shop this week to buy a copy or order the book by mail, have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723. RSVP that you plan to attend the book club meeting, please email an RSVP to Vicki Johnson:

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Saturdays July 7, August 4 and September 1
8:00 a.m.
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail on a leisurely walk guided by Desert plants enthusiast Jim Shepherd. Expect a few tasting samples, too; Jim usually shares samplers of agave syrup, mesquite flour and prickly pear cactus fruit jelly with his guests -- while explaining ways that native plants such as prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves and jojoba have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. Read more about desert plants in this profile of BTA guide 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

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk Saturday July 7
10:00 a.m.
Phoenix historian and author Sylvia Lee guides monthly walking tours narrating nuggets of Arboretum history - and putting her anecdotes in perspective next to 1920s structures, and the very first trees planted here. Sylvia host another slideshow of vintage photos projected enlarged on a big screen - a chance to get better acquainted with Col. William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum. This was also arranged for history fans who are physically unable to walk the 1.5 mile main trail. During an hour in our air-conditioned Lecture Room, Sylvia will show images of vintage historic structures and arboretum gardens while sharing her behind-the-scenes knowledge from spending the past decade researching the history of Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
READ MORE about arboretum history

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk with Heather and Audrey July 8, Sunday
8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Your daughter, sister, niece or mom loves the outdoors – perhaps in particular those colorful little lizards which scurry around your backyard? Invite her for a Sunday morning visit to Boyce Thompson Arboretum July 8 and attend the singular ‘Learn Your Lizards’ guided walk – featuring two adventurous AZ women who defy the stereotype that girls are squeamish about wriggly reptiles.
Heather Bateman, for one. Was this ASU research professor into reptiles and amphibians as a kid growing up in Colorado?
“Absolutely! I would bring home gartersnakes and big fat salamanders. I loved to play in ditches to catch leop-ard frogs and tiger salamanders.” Now she earns a paycheck catching and studying lizards and snakes along the San Pedro River and the Verde, and teaching ornithology and other classes at ASU.”
Girls who’d like to learn more about a career in science and ecology can spend July 8 exploring the Arboretum with Heather – her guided 8:00 a.m. tour is included with Arboretum daily admission of $12.50 for adults, $5 for ages 5-12. Free, or course, for BTA annual members and Arizona State Parks pass-holders. Is wildlife biol-ogy a good career choice for an AZ girl interested in nature and native critters?
“Yes!,” says Heather, “there are so many great role models for young women and girls interested in nature and science. I’m co-leading this walk with Audrey Owens who is the Ranid Frogs coordinator for AZ Game and Fish Department. All our state universities offer course work in science and biology. I work at ASU on the Pol-ytechnic campus and our biology program focuses on applied aspects of science. We have many courses with field trips and give our students opportunities to engage with wildlife professionals. Our campus hosts science camps that girls and boys can participate in. We also host Open Door night, where the public is invited to come tour campus and see what type of projects are done by professors and students. We have some faculty who have taken an interest in girl scouts and helping with the STEM-related badges.”

Sunday July 8 > Acrylic Painting For Beginners and Intermediates
11am – 2pm
$35 - non-members pay additional $12.50 daily admission
> call 602. 618. 3055 to RSVP and pre-register with Chuck

Ever wanted to try your hand with a brush and canvas -- or you just need to fine tune your skills? Enroll in a Summertime acrylic painting class that accomplished local artist Chuck Davison will coach here Sunday July 8, with 'Owls' as the art theme for the day. They're affordably priced at $35 for BTA members, and if need more encouragement to signup, here's what one happy painter said:
"We enjoyed Chuck's class and loved that it was held at our very favorite place: the Arboretum! Chuck is friendly and made the class fun. Because he allowed us the freedom to express our individual tastes through our paintings, we feel we brought home a unique piece of art...even though we all painted the same lizards. Friends and family are able to easily pick out who painted which lizard with the comment that they can tell because each lizard matches the personality of the artist."
Read more, and see a few of Chuck Davison's own paintings

Tree Tour on Sundays July 15 and August 19
8:00 a.m. > note new Summer start time for this guided walk
Silviculturally-speaking, and since an Arboretum is by definition a living collection of trees - what guided tour could be more fitting than our once-a-month Trees Of The Arboretum 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 certified Arborist Jeff Payneor else 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.

Carla Keaton ‘Paint & Wine’ Class Sundays July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 9
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
$35 members, $47.50 non-members - with credit card ready call 520.689.2723
Take home your own unique painting of a hummingbird after Carla Keaton’s two-hour class for novice artists July 15; or enroll in future $35 classes to paint our Drover’s Wool Shed on Aug. 12 or the Outback Bridge over Silver King Wash Sept. 9. “Paint-and-Wine classes are 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 Az State Parks pass-holders includes art supplies to use during the session, plus two hours of coaching and encouragement from Carla Keaton. Nonmembers $47.50, which includes daily admission required to enter the Arboretum. Have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff during daytime business hours (6am-3pm) 520.689.2723.
Connect with Carla on Facebook call her at 480. 228. 1500 or email

Digital Photographers Roundtable July 21 , Saturday
10:00 a.m. until Noon in the lecture room. Future Dates August 18, September 22
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet in the Smith Building Lecture room July 21. Beginners are definitely welcome to attend this popular recurring meetup, which includes programs and platforms beyond LightRoom and Photoshop. There's no additional charge to attend; meetings are free to BTA annual members and Az State Parks pass-holders, and included with $12.50 daily admission to nonmembers.
Planning to attend? This brief survey helps organizers plan their agenda each month
Monthly meetings usually include on-screen demonstrations of digital editing tools and techniques, discussion of artistic elements such as composition and lighting - and friendly critique of participants' photos. Future meetings are For more detail, Email Tim a brief RSVP, and feel free to mention your preferred editing software:

Geology Guided Walk with Phil St. George July 28
8:00 a.m.
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with Phil St. George guides as your guide July 28. His lively 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. ASU Professor Steve Semkenleads the August 25 walk. Two additional 'Rock Stars' among our guide cadre areprofessional geologist Scott McFaddenand retired senior exploration geologist Geologist Rich Leveille

Butterfly Walk July 28 with Ron Rutowski
8:30 a.m., and more walks August 25
Join us for a guided butterfly walk each month of the Spring and Summer -- a walking tour to see, photograph and learn about colorful species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. ASU Professor Ron Rutowski guides this walk July 28 and also August 25. His leisurely, slow-paced guided tour proceeds along paths that are wheelchair-accessible, exploring our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Start time moves back to 9:00 a.m. September 22 when Adriane Grimaldi returns as guide; she is Butterfly Wonderland Education Coordinator. Start time is another half-hour later (9:30 a.m.) when Adriane teams-up with Gail Morris to lead the season finale walk October. 27

History Walking Tour with Sylvia Lee Sunday August 5
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

Learn Your Lizards - Guided Tours Saturday August 11, September 8
8:00 a.m.
Arizona lizards do comical pushups to display their blue bellies - attend a guided tour this summer to learn why these little reptiles have azure abs. Boyce Thompson Arboretum is an ideal place to observe native reptiles such as Tree, Side-blotched and Greater Earless Lizards while learning about their behavior and Sonoran Desert adaptations. Casa Grande outdoor educator Phil Rakoci is our special guest leader for Saturday walks August 11. The August outing is extra-special, because he's likely to be joined by Arizona Audubon wildlife biologists Steve Prager and Cathy Wise.
Guided lizard walks continue September 8 and September 29.
Read more about Lizard Walks

Beginners Photography Workshop and Outdoor Shoot
FALL DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED - RSVP by email to MiMi for details
Read more and RSVP by Email
or phone 480.319.2229
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.
Valley photographers MiMi, Mark and Bob volunteer a day here at the Arboretum each month -- sharing their camera skills and coaching beginners.Read more in MiMi's E-news email to participants
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 small groups, each 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."

DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED Sunset Live Music: ‘Handpan’ Percussion
If you love the sound of steel drums or marimba – just wait ‘til you hear the peaceful sound of ‘handpan’ drums on a date to be announced when East Valley recording artist Saggio shares his singular music here, just before sunset. Saggio loves to create music outdoors, surrounded by nature and beauty – and wanted to celebrate the season with Arboretum members and visitors. “I prefer to play informally, unplugged and improvising – to just be a part of the organic unfolding of the plant life as visitors make their way around, enjoying the gardens. I believe I have a beautiful unique sound to share, and I want to complement the natural beauty of the arboretum, not upstage it.”
Saggio’s new CD ‘Tree of Life’ will be available for purchase, too. Read more about Saggio and his dedication to the healing power of percussion and music at