Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

February 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, adn for non-members tours are included with $12.50 daily admission

Home Schoolers Geology Activities Thursday February 23
plus Thursday workshops March 30 and April 27
for details email Lacey at
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.
For details email Lacey at
Tourguide Jim Shepherd leads a morning studying geology and rock identification February 23; Thursday workshops continue
with our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day March 30, and then a 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 schedule, contact education coordinator lacey at with this as your subject line:
Home School Days at BTA

Geology Guided Walk February 25 , Saturday
** 1:30 p.m.
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologist Rich Leveilleas 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. Phil St. George is our guide for the March 25 walk, and then Professional geologist Scott McFaddenleads the Walk April 22. Learn more Geology with ASU Professor Steve Semken

Lightroom, PhotoShop & More - Digital Photographers Meet February 25 , Saturday
2:30 p.m. in the lecture room
Photographers of all skill levels who enjoy digital image "post processing" are invited to meet Feb. 25 (Saturday) at 2:30 p.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.
Tim Wohlever coordinates the group; whether you plan to attend on Saturday or not, Tim asks photographers to complete an online survey that's linked below - a chance to tell organizers about the equipment and skill levels of participants, to meetings can be tailored to topics and skill levels as these meetups continue during the Spring, Summer and Fall. Take a minute to complete Tim's survey at

Guided Bird Walks February February 26, March 3 and 4, March 12
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 February 26 with Cathy Wise, Steven Prager and Charlie Babbitt; Friday walks March 3 and 17 are guided by Lisa & Peggy; weekend dates continue next month March 4 with Cynthia Donald and Pete Moulton, March 12 with Troy Corman, March 18 with Cynthia Donald and Pete Moulton, March 26 with Anne Leight and Kathe Anderson. April 1 with Mark Ochs and Kathe Anderson, April 9 with Anne Leight, April 23 with Cathy Wise and Steven Prager.
Check out recent Arboretum sightings on Ebird

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided with Kathy And Tom February 26 Sunday
1:30 p.m. > repeats March 11
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail guided by local authors and desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald, owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon Sunday Febr
uary 26 at 1:30 p.m. 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. This tour repeats Saturday March 11 guided by 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

Book Club Friday, March 3 -- Cadillac Desert by Marc Riesner
9:00 a.m. Our BTA book club showcases a new title each month, with a lively Friday morning discussion group -- and our title for March is Cadillac Desert by Marc Riesner.
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. In April readers will discuss Never Don't Pay Attention by Jan Cleere. 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

Craft Class - Thunder Gourds March 4, Basic Gourd Art March 5
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 March 5 and also 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).
>Or sign up for the March 4 specialized workshop to make a "Thunder Gourd" fitted with a synthetic drum head and spring, these make a rumbling thunder-like noise when they're shaken. Vicki & Gerald suggest students should already have completed their basic Gourd Art class to learn the basics, but that's not required. Thunder gourd enrollment is $57.50 - $67.50/

Sunday History Walk with Sylvia Lee March 5
10 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

Spring Plant Sale Daily through March 10 - 26
Members-Only Preview Shopping March 10, Friday
This popular annual fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, cacti and succulents helps raise money to support programs and collections at the Arboretum – and if you need planting and landscaping advice, Arboretum staff are joined by helpful volunteers from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program weekend days advising and assisting buyers with suggestions for trees and smaller plants ideal for landscaping projects. Event continues daily throug March 26. Wondering about specific plants in stock? Call Arboretum staff during daily business hours at 520.689.2723, or
browse the most recent plant sale list posted online

Sunday Intro to Photography Walk March 12
Spaces Limited - RSVP by email or phone to MiMi
Valley artist MiMi Paris has 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. She hosts our new photography walkabout once each month. Her classroom is outdoors and informal, and her goal is to share a few basic camera lessons while photographing the gardens. These photo walks with MiMi 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."
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

Art ‘Paint & Wine’ Classes with Carla Keaton March 12, 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

Learning Lightroom at the Arboretum March 12
from 2:00 - 5:00 PM
$40 for BTA members; non-members also pay $12.50 Arboretum daily admission
Creating amazing images doesn’t stop when you click the shutter; learn how to import and adjust your images using Adobe Lightroom post-processing software to fulfill your creative vision. Alex Coleman's "Learning Lightroom" afternoon workshop begins with outdoors with a group photography shoot - then moves into the Lecture Room where you'll learn everything from importing to editing, a basic introduction designed to give enrollees a complete understanding of how to work in Lightroom.
This course is designed for beginning and intermediate level photographers, and includes an hour long photowalk and two hours of classroom education with 1-on-1 assistance throughout. Read more and enroll online

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday March 18
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. January 21 spotlights ‘Food plants’ and February 18 Dave’s topic will be Trees. March brings a chance to learn about frankincense on Dave’s ‘Unusual plants’ outing. Expect to learn some new things, too, about history, scripture and biblical botany during this relaxed, slow-paced walk through gardens that are all easily accessible for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Can't join us Saturday, but you're intrigued by this walking tour? David’s other Plants of the Bible Lands walks recur on the 3rd Saturday each month this winter at 1:30pm. See
Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. Read more in our ENews

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

Tree Tour with Jeff Payne March 19
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

Gardening Workshop With Pinal Master Gardeners 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 resume their informal series of Saturday morning once-a-month outdoor workshops. It’s time to go vertical and discover the awesome world of flowering vines. Discover the tips and tricks to adding unique, vertical dimension to your desert garden. Try some "divine vines" and watch as 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:

Spring 2017 Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks
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. See photos and read more

Butterfly Walks Resume April 2017
9:30 a.m.
Gail Morris found so much Butterfly variety in our gardens on her October walk that she offered to lead a "Sunday Special" season finale butterfy walk November 13 -- 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 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.