Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

Winter Hours Daily from 8:00 - 5:00 > no park entry or admission after 4:00
February Daily 11:00 A.M. Guided Walking Tour
Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily during Winter months, with no park entry after 4:00 so our final arrivals each day still have one full hour to explore the gardens and trails before we close at 5:00. Tour guides narrate arboretum history and point-out fascinating plants, animals and geology seen around the gardens on daily guided walking tours at 11:00 a.m. Guided tours are included with daily admission; no pre-registration needed, just be in the visitor center breezeway lobby at start time. Tours are daily at 11:00 a.m. through February 28, then daily tours move to earlier start at 10:00 a.m. during March and April. READ MORE IN OUR E-NEWSLETTER

Register Online for ‘Arboretum Family Day’ Tours and Activities, Saturday February 24
FREE to those who
pre-register online at

Families get FREE admission February 24 if they pre-register for a day of educational tours and participatory activities here from 9am-2pm. Arboretum daily admission of $12.50 for adults and $5 for ages 5-12 is waived for those who preregister for this event; read more and sign-up at
'Trees’ is the theme; a choice of morning tours oriented to kids and families ranges from a guided bird walk to a tree tour (offered twice, at 9am and also noon); a general tour and also a special geology walk. Indoor workshops are another option: kids can learn basic birding skills in the lecture room from 10:30 til noon, or join creative outdoor activities such as nature journal writing, or making a ‘Tree Cookie Necklace’ and learning basic dendrochronology – the formal name for the study of tree rings, the science of aging trees. Additional activities may be announced as the event date approaches, revisit for schedule updates.

Geology Guided Walk with Scott McFadden, Saturday February 24
1:30 p.m., and tours continue March 24 and April 28
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologistScott McFaddenas your guide. 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. Geologist Rich Leveilleis another 'Rock Star' among our guide cadre. Want to read more about rocks and geology?
Get acquainted with guide and ASU Professor Steve Semken

Guided Bird Walk Sunday February 25
8:30 a.m. and more Saturday-Sunday bird walks March 2 & 3
Arboretum guided bird walks are an ideal way to get into birding and to sharpen your skills – beginners are welcome. No binoculars are no problem! Ask in our gift shop when you pay admission – loaner binoculars are available. Winter-spring weekend 8:30 bird walks continue February 25 with Anne Leight and Cindy West. Lisa and Peggy return as Friday guides March 2, and then Troy Corman leads the walk Saturday March 3 - a special walk followed by a book signing; Troy is among co-authors of the new edition of Birds of Maricopa County, and will sign copies following his walk - around 10:30 a.m. in the visitor center breezeway (other co-authors may be here that morning, too!). March 11 our guides are Anne Leight and Marceline VandeWater; Lisa and Peggy return March 16 for a Friday walk; March 17 our guide is Mark Ochs, March 25 features Kathe Anderson & Anne Leight, and April 7 with Cindy Marple. Want to check recent bird sightings? Read our hot-spot page on Ebird

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Sunday February 25
1:30 p.m., repeats Saturday March 10
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail Sunday February 25 with Choctaw tribal nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris as your guide - 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 March 10, and shares tastes and samples of foods made from desert plants: agave syrup, nopalitos, prickly pear jelly. This walking tour repeats
                      ** 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

Beginning Crochet Stitching Class with Cindy Adams Monday February 26
9am-11am . $10 - $22.50 . With Credit Card ready Call 520.689.2723
Students will learn chain stitch, single and double crochet. Also, how to increase and decrease and use these stitches to make decorative patterns. All materials are provided. Mastering these crochet skills will enable students to create items and make the Water Bottle Carrier offered Monday, March 5th.

Geology Workshop for Home School Families Wednesday February 28
11:00 a.m. more home school dates March 27 and April 26
Spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. Have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours from 8am-5pm.
Home School families are invited to gather and learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail during a presentation with professional geologistScott McFaddenas your guide through "rocky areas” of the Arboretum where students learn about rocks and how to identify rocks commonly found in local backyards and parks. Programs last two hours; 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.
Fees are the same for each of two more Home School education events: the Arizona Tour March 27, Tuesday; and the Tree Tour Thursday April 26. Questions – or want to be added to the email list for Home School Day announcements? Email

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk Saturday March 3
10:00 a.m. and repeats Sunday May 6 and Saturday July 7
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. On Sunday January 7 starting at 10:00 a.m., 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

Master Gardeners Workshop March 3: Shade - How to Make It, How To Use It
Fall and Winter Saturdays at 11:00
Green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program present “Shade: How to make it, How to use it” on Saturday March 3 when their Saturday series of 11am outdoor workshops continues. Held on the tree-shaded flagstone courtyard in front of the Smith Building, this session will address shade, a precious commodity in Arizona. Learn about choosing, planting and caring for native and desert adapted trees that thrive in the low desert. Explore their traits and suitability for diverse spaces and environments. Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners will also explore shade loving plant in case you already have that perfect tree.
Once-a-month Master Gardener workshops are free to BTA annual members and state-parks-pass-holders; included with $12.50 daily admission for others. Get active with our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email:

Wildflower Walks at One O'clock March 3, 4, 17, 18
April walks move to 10:00 a.m.
Learn to identify penstemons, poppies and primrose with Angie Dale and Barb Vander Meulen as your guides for wildflower walks on Saturdays March 3 and 17, or Sundays with Cass Blodgett March 4 & 18. Wildflower walks move to 10:00 a.m. April 7, 8, 21, 22.

Watercolor Painting Class March 4: Wildflowers
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Questions? Call Artist Chuck Davison at 602-618-3055
Ever wanted to try your hand with a brush and canvas, or you need to fine-tune your skills? Beginner-to-Intermediate painters are invited to enroll in winter-spring watercolor painting classes that accomplished local artist Chuck Davison will coach here.
March 4: Wildflowers
April 8: Butterflies

They're affordably priced at $35 for BTA members. There's a separate $12.50 for garden admission, unless you are among Arboretum annual members or have an arizona state parks pass. Need encouragement to signup? Here's how one happy painter described her experience:
"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."
Local artist Chuck Davison invites any and all students from beginning to advanced to learn watercolor painting; he gives step-by-step instruction and coaching to help paint a colorful botanical design."
Enrollment includes all art supplies you'll need for the class - and includes the day's admission to the Arboretum as well, so arrive early - we open at 8:00 -- and get some inspiration for your paintings while exploring our gardens before the 11:00 a.m. class. Taught in the air-conditioned lecture room of the historic Smith Building from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., enrollment includes canvas, paint, brushes, embellishments - plus light refreshments. Children are welcome to register along with an adult chaperone; both must be registered and pre-paid for the class.
To register call or text the instructor directly at 602-618-3055
See a few examples of Chuck's signature style and read more

Wednesday Gourd Art Workshops > Basics March 7, Pine Needle Coiling March 14
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day. With Credit Card Ready, Call 520-689-2723 to enroll and pre-pay
Gourd Art Basics & Beyond March 7. Arboretum annual members pay $45, Non-Members $57.50. This class is good for beginners or for repeat students wanting to improve their skills. This class covers the basics of gourd art, including how to clean and prepare gourds, choosing and drawing a design, wood burning and applying color. A cleaned gourd and all materials are provided, and students leave with a completed project.
Pine Needle Coiling on Gourds Wednesday, March 14 Members $50, Non-Members $62.50.
Students will learn to weave pine needles on the rim of a gourd to create a decorative finish. A clean and prepared gourd and all materials are provided, but students may bring special feathers, beads or other adornments if they like. Most students will complete their project in class, materials will be provided to finish at home if necessary.
Thunder Gourd April 4 . Members $55, Non-Members $67.50. Make a thunder gourd, a gourd with a synthetic drum head and spring that makes a rumbling thunder-like noise when shaken. A cleaned and cut gourd and all materials are provided and students leave with a completed project.

Spring Plant Sale March 9 - 25
> Opening Friday reserved for Members-only Preview Shopping March 9
Sale Open to Everyone During Daily Business Hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. March 10 - 25
Arboretum gardens and trails are open as usual on Friday, March 9, but our special Members-Only preview shopping that day allows Arboretum annual members first-pick of select plants roped-off and reserved for our seasonal sale and fundraiser. On Saturday the plant sale opens to everyone, contniuing daily through March 25. Wondering if we have specific plants in stock? Call our gift shop staff during daily business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at
520. 689. 2723
Spring Plant Sale includes special events, and is a prime time to buy an Arboretum annual membership, our members save 20-percent on plant purchases during the opening weekend of this fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, cacti and succulents. Need planting and landscaping advice? Arboretum staff are joined by helpful volunteers from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program, here to advise and assist buyers with suggestions for trees and smaller plants ideal for awide range of landscaping projects. Please note that daily admission of $12.50 is not required if you're only here to buy plants during the March sale; admission is required, though, if you enter the gardens.

Tom's Top Ten Landscape Plants - Garden Tour March 9, Friday
9:00 a.m. Spring Plant Sale Special Event
Can you name 10 essential plants that no Pinal County landscape or garden should be without? Would your list include mesquite or palo verde trees; maybe a few native plants with edible or medicinal uses - and a few milkweeds to lure and nourish monarch butterflies? Author and landscaping expert Tom McDonald returns to guide his popular Tom's Top Ten walking tour on March 9, the opening Friday of our Spring Plant Sale. Meet in the visitor center at 9:00 a.m. for his guided walk down to the Demonstration Garden where Smiling Dog Landscapes' Tom McDonald explains the relative merits of various trees and spotlights a short list of his favorite plants, and why they're excellent choices to Pinal County and central Arizona. There's no pre-registration required and no fee to attend, Tom's walk is included with $12.50 daily admission -- free to BTA annual members and also free if you have an Az State Parks annual pass. Bring photos of your front yard, back patio or landscape blueprints and you'll hear an expert's advice on ideal trees, shrubs, cacti, flowers and herbs that thrive in our corner of Arizona.
Connect with Tom on Facebook

Digital Photographers Roundtable March 10, 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 March 10. 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:

Intro to Photography Workshop and outdoor shoot Sunday March 11
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."

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Sundays March 11 , and April 8
1:30 p.m.
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. During this once-a-month Sunday walk Rich Adams narrates palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other Plants of the Bible Land. Conducted at a leisurely pace, this guided tour lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. Using references in ancient texts, Rich describes 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 more about Plants of the Bible Lands on facebook

Steve Holmquist Concert Saturday, March 17
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Local singer-songwriter Steve Holmquist celebrates our charismatic neighboring town with original ballads
Superior State of Mind, Greasewood Flats, Borrowed Time , Shadow of the Wind
his songs evoke the history and heritage of rugged mountains that surround us. Steve will serenade an outdoor audience in our visitor center breezeway March 17 during a lunchtime concert from noon til about 1:30 p.m. Bring a tasty takeout lunch from any of Superior's restaurants (pizza at DeMarcos or Edwardo's; red chile burro combo from Los Hermanos - of tasty Asian noodle dinner from Jade Grill) and invite friends to join you for an al fresco lunch at one of our bistro tables on the sunny patio behind our gift shop.
"We're annual members at BTA and I enjoy sharing my songs and stories with others who love the gardens," says Steve. "Picketpost Mountain, Apache Leap, and the surrounding Superstitions ... this place is so rich in history and beauty -- it stimulates creativity, and I believe that with any visit to Superior or for a walk in the desert we always leave here a little better than we arrived."

Squill, Frankincense & Unusual Plants of the Bible Land Saturday, March 17
1:30 p.m.
Dozens of plants that originated in the Middle East thrive here in AZ; big, mature examples can be seen on a walk around our main trail. The Sinai Desert is situated about the same latitude as our own Sonoran Desert; and on the 3rd Saturday of March Plants of the Holy Lands are narrated by Arboretum volunteer Dave Oberpriller on his guided walk showcasing palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and more. In fact, there are so many plants here with scriptural references that Dave has divided his tour into three themed outings that alternate monthly: 'Unusual plants' is the subject March 17, Dave's topic will be 'Food plants' April. Walks are included with $12.50 daily admission, no reservations required. Dave's tour begins at 1:30 p.m. and participants learn new things 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. Dave suggests comfortable walking shoes and a hat, sunscreen and carry water.
Read more on the topic, see photos and connect with Dave on Fb

Tree Tour Sunday March 18
1:30 p.m. repeats April 15
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.

History Walking Tour with Sylvia Lee Sunday April 1
10:00 a.m. repeats Saturday June 2
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. Sylvia's tour moves to 10:00 a.m. and on Saturday October 7, the same month that Arboretum daily hours return to the 8:00 to 5:00 Fall and Winter schedule.
READ MORE about arboretum history

Guided Walk Narrated in French - February 10, Saturday
10:00 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 will lead a walking tour narrated in her native tongue on Saturday February 10, starting at 10:00 a.m. She devoted time this summer to learning waypoints around the Main Trail and attending tours guided by our expert cadre of guides; as with other guided walks here, Catherine’s outing is included with $12.50 daily admission – and free for our annual members

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. Predictions for rain, excessive wind or cold weather will cancel his free concert – check the weather report, and feel free to call our staff and verify the music’s on.
520.689.2723 (during business hours 8am-5pm)
“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

Butterfly Walks Return Spring 2018
Join us for a guided butterfy 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. 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. Revisit this page in March, 2018 for the butterfly walk schedule.

Plants of the Bible Lands Lecture: Agriculture in Ancient Israel February 17, Saturday
1:30 p.m. in the lecture room
David Oberpriller has guided popular “Plants of the Bible Lands" walks around the Arboretum for more than a decade, pointing out plants mentioned in the Bible that can grow and thrive here in AZ, and sharing anecdotes from scripture. Trouble walking has side-lined our popular tourguide, and David has arranged something new - for visitors who are also unable to walk the main trail, but would enjoy learning about plants on this tour.
Referencing ancient documents, archaeological finds and scripture - David hosts a lecture about agriculture in ancient Israel, repeating January 20 and also February 17 in the lecture room of our historic Smith Building Lecture Room. Describing the presentation, David says: "we’ll look at the context of agriculture in ancient Israel — including the geography of the land, the climate, and the agricultural calendar — and understand how these things influenced the way the people of the Bible lived and are reflected in the Bible. We’ll also discuss some of the tools and techniques used in farming, and the crops that were grown and harvested. For such a small land, the variety is surprising. And some of the techniques are still in use today."
Read more about Plants of the Bible Lands on facebook

Following the lecture, David may lead a short walk to shocase Bible plants that are in gardens near the Smith Building.
Whether you've attended one of David’s guided tours over the years, or have been waiting to enjoy this information as a lecture indoors, here's an excellent introduction to Plants of the Bible Lands!