Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

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

April Hours Daily from 8:00 - 5:00 > no entry after 4:00
April Daily 10:00 A.M. Guided Walking Tour
Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily during April, 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 10:00 a.m. during April. Guided tours are included with daily admission; no pre-registration needed, just be in the visitor center breezeway lobby at start time. Daily tours end April 30.
Summer hours resume May 1, the Arboretum will be open 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with no entry after 2:00

Guided Bird Walks April 15, 20 and 29
8:30 a.m.
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. Mark Ochs guides a bird walk on April 15. Lisa & Peggy guide their Friday walk at 8:30 on April 20 . Our final walk scheduled this month is April 29 and guided by Arizona Audubon wildlife biologists Cathy Wise & Steven Prager.
Want to check recent bird sightings? Read our hot-spot page on Ebird

Intro to Photography Workshop and outdoor shoot Sunday April 15
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."

Tree Tour Sunday April 15
1:30 p.m. > then moves to 8:00 a.m. May 20, the month Summer hours resume
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.

Guided Walk Narrated in French - April 18 , Wednesday
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 Wednesday April 18, 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.

Wildflower Walk at Ten O'clock April 21 and 22
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 Saturday April 21, or Sunday with Cass Blodgett on April 22.

Digital Photographers Roundtable April 21 , 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 April 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:

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday April 21
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 special 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

Saxophone Concert > French Riviera Sax Orchestra April 22
11:30 a.m.
Live music outdoors is a peaceful way to enjoy our scenic gardens, and Earth Day on April 22 brings a unique sound to the Picnic Area: a group of musicians from France, touring Arizona that week , and sharing saxophone arrangements that showcase the talented Bass (rare instrument ) Tenors, Baritones, Altos and Sopranos -- with some percussion too.
“We are 17 musicians representing the Conservatory of Grasse (Côte d'Azur ) ...the French Riviera Sax orchestra is conducted by Romuald Maryn , professor in the Conservatory, ” says Catherine Debouy, an Arboretum annual member, saxophonist and French expat now living in Chandler.
"While still fairly new, our group already has an eclectic repertoire. They perform in southeast of France, and will record a CD at the end of June." Free to Arboretm annual members and Arizona State Parks pass-holders, the music is included with $12.50 admission for nonmembers. Their 11:30 a.m. concert here is just the start of a big day of music for the touring sax orchestra. The same day they perform at 7:00 p.m. in the History museum in Tempe. Wednesday April 25 they play a nighttime concert at the Gilbert-Chandler Community College on Pecos Road where the French ensemble will perform at the final concert of the school year and will play two pieces in common with the Community Band conducted by Randy Wright. Follow the musicians at their website

Earth Day Paper-Making Class with Linda Harrison-Parsons April 22
$10 Members, $22.50 non-Members
$5 Member’s Children, $10 non-Member’s Children (Must have paid adult to enroll.)

Come celebrate Earth Day with artist Linda Harrison-Parsons and learn to make recycled handmade paper from your holiday cards, coffee filters, tea bags -- and even old blue jeans. All materials and equipment provided for you to make and take your paper. Fee is just $10 Members, $22.50 non-Members. This workshop is kid friendly, enroll your children or grandchildren along with you for $5 each for BTA members' children, $10 each for nonmember kids. Children must have an adult enrolled with them to participate. This is a flexible DIY workshop. Walk in anytime between 12:00pm to 3:00pm to make your paper. Registration requested, credited cards accepted: Call 301-606-5772. Questions? email
Check out Linda’s website:

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Sunday April 22
1:30 p.m.
Learn the edible and medicinal uses of native desert plants on a walk along our Curandero Trail Sunday April 22 with desert plants enthusiast Jim Shepherd -- 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. Guests on Jim's tour usually also get a taste of desert edibles; Jim shares tastes and samples of foods made from desert plants: agave syrup, nopalitos, prickly pear jelly.
                      ** 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

Gourd Art Workshop - Pine Needle Coiling April 25
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day. With Credit Card Ready, Call 520-689-2723 to enroll and pre-pay
Pine Needle Coiling on Gourds Wednesday, April 25 , 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.

Education Workshop for Home School Families : Tree Tour April 26
11:00 a.m. > our final Spring home school event
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 for a two-hour learning workshop that focusses on exactly what the Arboretum is all about: Trees! the two-hour workshop will cover basic tree physiology, plant classification - and even some mathematics, with a "tree-ometry" activity for measuring tree height. 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. Questions – or want to be added to the email list for Home School Day announcements? Email

Wildlife Photography Workshop with Author Bruce Taubert April 28
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Pre-registration of $37.50 - $50 includes his book
Four decades photographing Arizona wildlife has made Bruce Taubert rich with experience and anecdotes, from netting bats after dark, to staying calm while face-to-face with massive bull elk on the Mogollon Rim. Taubert earned a doctorate in wildlife management and retired a few years back as assistant director for wildlife management at the Arizona Game and Fish Department and celebrates his latest accomplishment with an enthralling workshop for photographers modeled around his book: "Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona's Wildlife". $50 Pre-paid enrollees will get a copy of his $25 book, plus a two hour slideshow and workshop with insider tips about wildlife photography ($37.50 for Arboretum annual members - who don't need to pay garden admission). With a credit card ready, call 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours to pre-pay and enroll. READ MORE ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP

Live Music with Trio Rio April 28
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Invite friends to pack a cooler and join you in the picnic area and you'll agree that these accomplished musicians stage a high-energy concert -- with 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 writer described 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."
As usual with outdoor concerts here at BTA, a prediction for stormy weather could cancel the music - call our gift shop after 8:00 a.m. (520.689.2723) if forecasts call for rain or excessive wind.
Patrons at the Side Door in Scottsdale can catch this band any Thursday; watch for dates at the Blind Pig in Scottsdale, and also Janey's in Cave Creek. Each year they hit the road for concerts in California and Texas. Prominent shows they played here in AZ include a former governor'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.
Hear a few songs and view the band's June-July schedule:

Geology Guided Walk with Phil St. George April 28 at 1:30 p.m.
Summer geology tours move to 8:00 a.m. May 26 and June 23 with Rich Leveille
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologist Phil St. George as your guide April 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. Geologist Rich Leveilleis another 'Rock Star' among our guide cadre, and leads the walk May 26 at 8:00 a.m., also June 23. Summer Hours resume in May and the Arboretum is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Want to read more about rocks and geology? Read about
Scott McFaddenand then gGet acquainted with guide and ASU Professor Steve Semken

Summer Hours Resume May 1 > Open Daily 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., no entry after 2:00
Winter-Spring daily hours end April 30, and on Tuesday May 1 our Summer schedule resumes and the Arboretum will be open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily during May, June, July, August and September. No entry after 2:00, so our final visitors each day have one full hour to enjoy and explore the trails and gardens.

Learn Your Lizards - Guided Tours May 5, 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 abs of azure. 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. Arizona Game & Fish Department researcher Audrey Owens guides the season debut walk on May 5 (Saturday) at 8:00 a.m.; then 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

May 5 'Global Big Day' Annual Spring Bird Count
6:30 a.m.
Can you confidently ID resident Sonoran Desert birds and Spring migrants? Skilled birders will count every Sparrow, Swallow and Starling they can see and hear around the Arboretum May 5 during the annual 'Global Big Day' Bird Count. Not to be confused with a guided bird walk, this tally is an example of "citizen science" where those who know their birds join a worldwide census -- acting locally, while being part of something global. Kurt Radamaker leads the Arboretum team; sign up by contacting Pinal County coordinator Doug Jenness at 520.909.1529, or email [ ]
Doug also needs birders for worthy areas that are currently overlooked, such as 'urban birding' around the communities of Superior or Gold Canyon; counting desert birds along the wagon tracks road and Apache Tears mine roads, or at the Picketpost Trailhead and down the AZ Trail. Others can drive around counting birds on agricultural fields in Florence, or hike Queen Creek and Arnett Canyons.

Pictures From Our Past - Slideshow & History Talk Sunday May 6
10:00 a.m. and repeats 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

Butterfly Walk May 26 with Marceline VandeWater
9:00 a.m.
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. Marceline guides 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. Revisit this page in May for the full summertime butterfly walk schedule.

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

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