Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

May Hours Daily from 6:00 - 3:00 > no entry after 2:00
Summer hours resumed May 1 and continue daily through September 30.
The Arboretum is open 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
with no entry after 2:00

Geology Guided Walk with Rich Leveille May 26 and also June 23
8:00 a.m.
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologist Geologist Rich Leveille as your guide May 26 and also June 23. 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 Semkenis another 'Rock Star' among our guide cadre. Want to read more about rocks and geology? Get acquainted with guide and professional geologist Scott McFadden

Butterfly Walk May 26 with Laura Miller
9:00 a.m., and more walks June 23 and July 28 at 8:30 a.m.,
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. Central Arizona Butterfly Association's Laura Miller is our special guest tourguide on May 26. 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. ASU Professor Ron Rutowski guides this walk at an earlier 8:30 a.m. start time June 23, July 28 and August 25. Start time moves back to 9:00 a.m. September 22 with guide Adriane Grimaldi, then another half-hour later (9:30 a.m.) when Adriane teams-up with Gail Morris to lead the season finale walk October. 27.

Watercolor Painting For Beginners and Intermediates May 26, June 10, and July 11
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 watercolor or acrylic painting class that accomplished local artist Chuck Davison will coach here. 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

Almost-Full-Moon Drum Circle May 26
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Members $5 for adults, $2.50 for ages 5-12
Non-members $15 adults, $7.50 ages 5-12

Gravitational pull of an almost-full-moon overhead will combine with the ancient percussion of drums luring visitors to Boyce Thompson Arboretum for a rare evening of after-hours-access May 26. Sunset drum circles have been BTA-members-only events in recent years; to help raise money for the Arboretum during the hot season when visitation drops,
May 26 is a special event night where non-members may also enter for $15 adult admission -- or $7.50 for ages 5-12; for BTA annual members and Az State Parks pass-holders, the reduced fee is $5 and $2.50. BTA will close as usual at 3:00 on that Saturday afternoon, reopening at 6:00 for arrivals who want to BYO dinner in the picnic area - or join a welcoming drum circle hosted by Cindy Green -- two hours of participatory percussion beneath towering and shady trees that encircle the Smith Building front courtyard. Drummers are invited to call Cindy at 480.299.4129, or to email Cindy at: for details.
No percussion? No problem! She usually brings a few loaner drums, rattles and rain-sticks for those who wish to participate and revel in the ancient sound of drums and aboriginal instruments echo in the towering hackberry and mesquite trees which shade the Smith Building front courtyard. The two-hour drum circle begins at 6:30, continuing through sunset at 7:30 and by the light of the full moon; ending at 8:30 when the Arboretum will close.

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Sunday May 27, and Saturdays June 2, July 7, August 4
8:00 a.m.
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail Sunday May 27 on a guided tour with David Morris 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. Desert plants enthusiast Jim Shepherd guides this walk on Saturdays June 2, July 7, August 4 and September 1 - and shares tasting samples of agave syrup, mesquite flour and prickly pear cactus fruit jelly with his guests.
* * * 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

History Walking Tour with Sylvia Lee Sunday June 2
10:00 a.m.
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 June 9, 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 June 9 and also 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. More walks continue on Septembr 8 and September 29.
Read more about Lizard Walks

Tree Tour Sunday June 17, 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 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 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. Tree tours move to 8:00 a.m. Start time May 20, when Summer hours resume and we're open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Intro to Photography Workshop and Outdoor Shoot Sunday June 17
9:00 a.m. - no signup or pre-registration necessary
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, Jack and Mark 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 exploring subjects through portrait, close-up photography. The quintet of photographers 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."

Digital Photographers Roundtable June 23 , Saturday
10:00 a.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image post-processing are invited to meet in the Smith Building Lecture room June 23. 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:

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

Guided Walk Narrated in French - DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
10:30 a.m.
Vous êtes invité à rejoindre notre nouveau tour guidé en Français ! Whether you’re learning French or fluent in the language, we’re offering a new tour guided in Gallic – a chance to walk our main trail and hear narration about familiar gardens and scenery described in that most romantic of all Romance languages. Catherine Dhuicq is a musician and expat living in Chandler; she loves the Arboretum gardens and wanted a unique, new way to volunteer here – and leadS occasional walking tours narrated in her native tongue, the next is on a Date TO BE ANNOUNCED starting at 10:00 a.m. Catherine’s outing is included with $12.50 daily admission – and free for our annual members, also free with your Arizona State Parks annual pass.

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