Location

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Locator Map

Elevation 2,400 feet   Fees

Contact the Park:
(520) 689-2811
Boyce Thompson Arboretum SP
37615 U.S. Hwy 60
Superior, AZ 85273

Facilities

Visitor Center Restrooms Gift Shop Exhibits Group: Day Use Areas Picnic Areas/Shelters Hiking Trails Wildlife Viewing

Nearest Services: 3 miles

Click icons for more info

511 Speed Code

511 logo

Park's Speed Code: 4202#

Fees

Park Entrance Fees:
Adult (13+): $10.00
Child (5-12): $5.00
Age 4 & Under: FREE

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Winter Hours in Effect

Park is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. Daily admission is $10 for adults and $5.00 for ages 5–12.

Summer Hours: May – August

Starting May 1 the park is open daily from 6 am to 3 pm, with the day's final admission at 2 pm, one hour before closing time so the last-admitted guests of the day have a full hour to explore the gardens and trails.

Daily Guided Walking Tours at 11 am

11 am Visitor Center. Pentemons, poppies and primrose – oh my – it's wildflower season! What's new around the gardens this week? Every day of March & April guides lead a walk showing visitors the best spots to see and photograph spring color, to enjoy a look at the resident Northern Cardinals -- on a walk that includes a briefing on Arboretum history and information about plants, critters and geology.

Girl Scout Badge WorkshopsUntil May 24: Saturday Girl Scout Badge Workshops

Learn more This season the park will host Girl Scout badge workshops, offering girls a chance to study a range of subjects. Includes a non-refundable down payment of $20, is required to hold a position for a scout or troop. Workshop/Admission Fees: $10 per Scout, $10 per Adult, $5 per Non-Scout age 5-12. To sign up and prepay, have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff at 520-689-2723. Deadline to pre-register is two business days prior to the workshop date

When calling about Girl Scout workshops please be ready to tell staff the specific workshop and date you wish to register for, your Girl Scout troop number, your name (or the troop leader's name); contact phone numbers, the number of scouts and chaperones attending, and provide a credit card. Girl Scout leaders or parents wanting more information are invited to email Lacey Pacheco at lpacheco(at)ag.arizona.edu to be added to Lacey's email alert list for scout troops, parents and educators (or call 520-689-2723). Learn more

See more upcoming Events below


Boyce Thompson Arboretum Video Tour

After you start the video, change resolution to 480 for High Quality.


A variety of plants from the world's deserts await you at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is the place to discover the intricate beauty and many faces of Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. Featured are plants from the world's deserts, towering trees, captivating cacti, sheer mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, panoramic vistas, many natural habitats with varied wildlife, a desert lake, a hidden canyon, specialty gardens and more.

The Arboretum was founded in the 1920s by mining magnate Col. William Boyce Thompson. In 1917 Col. Thompson served as co-leader of a Red Cross mercy mission to Russia, where he came to understand the importance of plants as the ultimate source of a large portion of mankind's food, clothing, and shelter. It was then, that he determined to use his great wealth to improve the use of plant resources. The Arboretum is one of his legacies.

Take a 360° Virtual Tour (Photo Gallery)

Encompassing 323 acres, the Arboretum is Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. It was the first purely botanical institution in the inter-mountain states. The Arizona State Parks Board entered into agreement with the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Board and the University of Arizona in 1976 to cooperatively manage the Arboretum.

Event Calendar

Look for Boyce Thompson Arboretum events on the Master Calendar of Events (Next)

 

The University of Arizona also maintains a website for this park, with additional park information and photos. Learn more. External Link

April 26: Saturday Wildflower Walk

10 am. See, photograph and learn to ID wildflowers on a Saturday walk guided by Pat Pingel, or Sunday walks with Cass Blodgett of the Arizona Native Plants Society's Phoenix Chapter.

April 26: Spring Break Saturday Science & Stories

10 am. Ages 9-12 (grades 4-6). Looking for activities during Spring Break? A new 'Saturday Science and Stories Hour' continues with two April dates. Parents: sign up your children for Science and Stories with an email to Lacey at lpacheco@ag.arizona.edu, or call 520.689.2723. Have ready the number of children you would like to enroll, their ages, the number of parents, and which session(s) you would like to participate in. Due to the limited space available we ask that parents only sign up if they and their child are able to attend. Children must be accompanied by a parent or adult chaperone during the program. Programs are admission-free but space is limited and pre-registration is required. April science and stories hours feature 'Bugs' and lessons about insects, stories about insects, and real live ones, too.

April 26: Geology Walking Tour

1:30 pm. Geologist Rich Leveille is our special guest guide for this once-a-month walk, a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided 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.

April 27: Edible & Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris

1:30 pm. Explore the Curandero Trail on this guided tour offered twice each month, a one-hour walk where expert guides share their knowledge about the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. Guide is Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist Dave Morris, sharing his wealth of knowledge about edible and medicinal uses for prickly pear cactus fruits and other Sonoran Desert plants. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.

April 27: Tom Boggan Camera Basics Photo Class

2 pm. Enrollment $20 for Arboretum members, $30 nonmembers. Call 520-689-2723. Do you have a fancy new digital SLR, or even a digital point-and-shoot camera that you're eager to learn to use more effectively? Once-a-month photo workshops with Scottsdale artist Tom Boggan offer that chance all four seasons of the year at BTA. Improve your camera skills on a relaxed outing surrounded by beautiful gardens and alongside a pro -- and with plenty of chances to ask questions about the dials, settings and controls on your own camera. Learn basic photography skills including composition, lighting, white balance and aperture-exposure.

April 28: Digital Photo Post-Processing Basics With Rim

10 am. $20 BTA members or $30 nonmembers. with a credit card ready call 520-689-2723. OK, you have pictures in your camera -- now what? If you've wanted to learn to easily and efficiently download, organize and archive your JPG or RAW files -- including basic digital imaging skills such as resizing, cropping and simple editing, East Valley photographer 'Rim' Vidziunas offers a two-hour workshop in post-processing and work-flow. A bargain at $20 for BTA members ($30 for nonmembers) this workshop will cover skills such as transferring RAW or JPGs from camera-to-computer to basic image archiving, work-flow, resizing and basic photo editing. Bring your laptop - this will be a hands-on class; no camera required. Rim will also discuss and demonstrate basic functions of popular software ranging from Adobe Photoshop Elements to Lightroom.

May 3: Dragonfly Walk with Roger Racut

8:30 am. Mesa photographer and dragonfly enthusiast Roger Racut leads the season debut dragonfly walk - a chance to see, photograph and learn about odonate species ranging from Blue-eyed Darner to Flame Smimmer, Mexican Amberwing and more. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. (repeats July 5, Aug. 2, Sept. 6)

May 3: Book Club: The Magnate

1 pm. Our Book Club celebrates it's one year anniversary in May; that's one year, twelve books -- six visits from authors and lots of good discussion. To celebrate the one year mark, we'll read The Magnate by Hermann Hagedorn, the biography of William Boyce Thompson. He was among the larger-than-life leaders during a period in the United States that included World War I and the Great Depression. Thompson started life in the West, born in a mining town, and became one of the richest men of his time. He had a lifelong fascination with botany and started the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Yonkers, New York, across the street from his palatial home he built there. In time, Thompson bought the Magma mine in Superior, Arizona and fell in love with this area. He decided to build another large home near Superior (Picket Post Mansion) and founded the Arboretum. The Colonel was a mining man with a passion for botany who had a vision that we know and love today as Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Order your copy by phone 520.689.2723; inquire about the book club meetup or RSVP to Book Club Coordinator Vicki with an email BTABookClub@msn.com or call 480.688.3342

May 4: History Walk with Sylvia Lee

10 am. 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? Learn about the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum on a walking tour guided by Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee. Walks typically last about 90-minutes, departing at 10am from the Visitor Center breezeway.

May 9: FREE admission on National Public Gardens Day

6 am. Celebrate National Public Gardens day with FREE admission at Boyce Thompson Arboretum SP.

May 10: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks

8 am. Ed Tunstall leads the May 10 walk for kids – and everyone who enjoys Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. Popular Casa Grande outdoor educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ leads the walk May 31 . 'Wild Man Phil' returns June 14, then June 29 our special guest tourguide is Abi King – reptile researcher for AZ Game & Fish Department. (repeat May 31, June 14, June 29)

May 10: Mothers' Day Weekend Camera Class With Michael & Patty

10 am. Need a unique, thoughtful Mother's Day gift for your mom, your wife, sister or a friend? Enroll her in a class where she can spend a day learning photography - and practice in beautiful gardens ($40; with a credit card ready call 520-689-2723). Gilbert pro photographers Michael Madsen and Patty Van Herpen will teach camera basics and more May 10. “Mexican Evening Primrose and other flowers in BTA's Demonstration Garden are usually at their peak color around Mother's Day," said Madsen, "so Patty and I picked Mother's Day Weekend for our next workshop. Moms do a lot of photography - and here's a chance to learn camera functions and to practice what you have learned in the Demonstration Garden alongside two professionals, a Canon and a Nikon expert.” Gilbert professional photographer Michael Madsen is among featured artists in our Visitor Center Gallery and is expert with Nikon gear while Patty Van Herpen, prefers Canon . Classes with Michael and Patty coach beginning-to-intermediate photographers who are ready to harness the horsepower of their digital cameras by getting past the AUTO settings in favor of manually controlling your own aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. With a credit card ready, call 520-689-2723

May 17: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

8 am. 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. Join Arboretum volunteers on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and don't forget your sunscreen and water bottle. The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. 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. (repeats June 21)

May 24: Geology walking tour Guided By ASU Prof. Steve Semken

8 am. Geologist Steve Semken is the special guest guides for this once-a-month walk, a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided 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. (repeats June 28 with Rich Leveille)

May 24: Butterfly Walk

8 am. Jan Harding leads the season debut Butterfly walk - a chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterfly species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more; on a relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. ASU Professor Ron Rutowski leads this walk June 28 at 8:30am. July 26 Adriane Grimaldi, and August 23 its Marceline VandeWater; start time moves to 9:30AM for the season finale October 25 Adriane Grimaldi and Gail Morris. (repeats June 28, July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 25)

May 25: Edible & Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris

8 am. Explore the Curandero Trail on this slow-paced guided walking tour, a one-hour walk where ethno-botanist and Choctaw Nation expert guide Dave Morris shares his knowledge about the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. (repeats June 22)** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.

May 31: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Users Group

8 am in the Smith Building Lecture Room. These informal two-hour user’s group meetings each month are free to BTA annual members - included with daily admission of $10 for nonmembers. One of the most popular photography software packages, Adobe Lightroom, is described by the company as: "Photo editing software built for photographers, by photographers. From first look to final image, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 makes everything about digital photography easier, faster and more amazing. Perfect your shots with powerful new adjustment tools, efficiently organize all your photos and share them almost anywhere." Special guest speaker this month is Pro Photographer Jabon Eagar, demonstrating his workflow with “Portrait Photography” using Lightroom, Professional Portrait, Photoshop, Nik Software and his archival system. Read More About this Photography Software Users Group

June 14: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks

8 am. Casa Grande outdoor educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ leads the walk June 14 walk for kids – and everyone who enjoys Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. June 29 the special guest tourguide is Abi King – reptile researcher for AZ Game & Fish Department. (repeats June 29 with AZGFDs’ Abi King)

June 21: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

8 am. 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. Join Arboretum volunteers on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and don't forget your sunscreen and water bottle. The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. 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. (repeats July 19)

June 22: Edible & Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris

8 am. Explore the Curandero Trail on this slow-paced guided walking tour, a one-hour walk where ethno-botanist and Choctaw Nation expert guide Dave Morris shares his knowledge about the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.

June 28: Geology Walking Tour

8 am. Geologists Steve Semken and Rich Leveille alternate as our special guest guides for this once-a-month walk, a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided 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. (repeats July 26 with Scott McFadden)

June 28: Butterfly Walk with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski

8:30 am. Once-a-month guided butterfly walks are a chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterfly species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more; on a relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. July 26 our guest tourguide is Adriane Grimaldi, and then August 23 its Marceline VandeWater; start time moves to 9:30AM for the season finale October 25Adriane Grimaldi and Gail Morris. (repeats July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 25)

June 29: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk guided by Abi King

8 am. AZ Game & Fish Department reptile researcher Abi King guides this walk that’s especially popular with kids – and all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. Abi’s here again Saturday July 12 – with Tucson author Larry Jones as our special guest, too (Lizard of the Southwestern US). (repeats July 12)

July 5: Dragonfly Walk with Roger Racut

8:30am. Mesa photographer and dragonfly enthusiast Roger Racut leads the season debut dragonfly walk - a chance to see, photograph and learn about odonate species ranging from Blue-eyed Darner to Flame Smimmer, Mexican Amberwing and more. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. (repeats Aug. 2, Sept. 6)

July 19: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

8 am. 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. Join Arboretum volunteers on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and don't forget your sunscreen and water bottle. The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. 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.

July 26: Geology walking tour with Scott McFadden

8 am. Geologists Steve Semken and Rich Leveille alternate as our special guest guides for this once-a-month walk, a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided 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.

July 26: Butterfly Walk with Adriane Grimaldi

8:30 am. Once-a-month guided butterfly walks are a chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterfly species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more; on a relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. August 23, Marceline VandeWater; start time moves to 9:30 am for the season finale October 25, Adriane Grimaldi and Gail Morris. (more tours Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 25)

July 27: Edible & Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris

8 am. Explore the Curandero Trail on this slow-paced guided walking tour, a one-hour walk where ethno-botanist and Choctaw Nation expert guide Dave Morris shares his knowledge about the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.

July 27: Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class with Jean Groen & Robert Lewis

9:30 am. Learn to pick, process, juice and prepare those forbidding prickly pear cactus fruits from Apache Junction author Jean Groen and her harvest season accomplice, Robert Lewis. Class lasts about an hour; stay til the end and you can sample refreshing prickly pear drinks and innovative snacks prepared by Jean. This class will be offered again Aug. 9 and also Aug. 17, and with Tall Order Catering owners ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy as our instructors. (Class repeats Aug. 9 and Aug. 17)

Aug. 2: Dragonfly Walk with Roger Racut & Joanna Henry

8:30 am. Mesa photographer and dragonfly enthusiast Roger Racut is joined by ASU researcher Joana Henry as leader for the once-a-month dragonfly walk - a chance to see, photograph and learn about odonate species ranging from Blue-eyed Darner to Flame Smimmer, Mexican Amberwing and more. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. (repeats Sept. 6)

Aug. 9: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk with ‘Wild Man Phil’

8 am. Popular Casa Grande outdoor educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ guides this walk for kids – and everyone who enjoys Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles, and he’ll be back Aug. 30 for another – in fact Aug. 30-31 brings a back-to-back weekend of lizard walks, with Tucson author Larry Jones leading the Sunday walk. (repeats Aug. 30)

Aug. 9: Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class with ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy

9:30 am. Learn to pick, process, juice and prepare those forbidding prickly pear cactus fruits from Tall Order Catering owners ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy, alogn with Robert Lewis. Class lasts about an hour; stay til the end and you can sample refreshing prickly pear drinks and innovative snacks prepared by Jean. This class will be offered again Aug. 17, with Tall Order Catering owners ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy as our instructors. (repeats Aug. 30)

Aug. 23: Geology walking tour with Steve Semken

8 am. ASU Prof. Steve Semken guides this once-a-month walk, a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided 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.

Aug. 23: Butterfly Walk with Marceline VandeWater

8:30 am. Once-a-month guided butterfly walks are a chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterfly species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more; on a relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. Start time moves to 9:30am for the season finale Oct. 25 with Adriane Grimaldi and Gail Morris. (more tours Sept. 27, Oct. 25)

Aug. 24: Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Jean Groen

8 am. Explore the Curandero Trail on this slow-paced guided walking tour, a one-hour walk where Apache Junction Author Jean Groen shares her knowledge about the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.


Top of Page (Top)     Park Rules & FAQ (Next)