Summer Hours are in Effect:
The park is open daily from 6am. to 3pm., with the day's final admission at 2pm., one hour before closing time so the last-admitted guests of the day have a full hour to explore the gardens and trails.
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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.
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.
The University of Arizona also maintains a website for this park, with additional park information and photos. Learn more.
June 4: Guided Dragonfly Walk (repeats July 2)
8:30am. learn to identify Arizona’s most common dragonfly species on a walk guided by Odonate enthusiasts on the first Saturday of each month this summer. The interpreted walking tour visits Ayer Lake and garden water features; a chance to learn about these beautiful, fascinating insect predators. Bring your camera - guides often will safely net a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects unharmed. Check out colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website launched by ASU Professor Pierre Deviche: http://azdragonfly.net
June 4, Saturday: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom basic photo editing software class
9am. Enrollment’s $20 for BTA members, $30 nonmembers. Call (520) 689-2723 daytime business hours to enroll and prepay.
If you have great camera gear and an eye for interesting photos -- this class introduces a popular software tool which can take your photography to another level. Lightroom delivers essentials so you can organize, perfect, and share your images—quickly, easily, and powerfully. Workshop is coached by ‘Rim’ Vidziunas, coordinator of the once-a-month Lightroom Users’ Group which meets at BTA June 18. Register and pre-pay; have a credit card ready and call gift shop staff at (520) 689-2723 during daytime business hours (6:30am. – 2:30pm. during May and June). Details https://ag.arizona.edu/bta/photoclass.html
June 11: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk (repeats July 9, August 13)
8am. Kids love this entertaining guided tour around the gardens for all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. Casa Grande outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci’s the special guest tourguide; connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wildman-Phil/282933625679
Guides for next month’s walk July 9 will be Arizona Game & Fish Department reptile researcher Dan Leavitt and Tucson author Larry Jones (he wrote ‘Lizards of the American Southwest’). Walks August 13 and also September 10 feature Arizona Audubon naturalist Steven Prager, Dan Leavitt & Jamie Wisenall. 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
June 18: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk (repeats July 16)
8am. 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. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. 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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/BTA.POTBL
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 more http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/events/bibleplants.html
June 18: Main Trail Guided Walk
9am. Can you name the oldest tree or oldest plant in Arizona? How old is a five foot Saguaro...and can you identify a few edible desert plants? Hear the answers and learn about the Arboretum's history and mission on a relaxed, leisurely guided walking tour of the main trail with an Arizona State Parks Volunteer guide. Tours depart from the visitor center at 9am. and are included with daily admission $10 -- free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. https://ag.arizona.edu/bta
June 18: Guided Bird Walk with Mark Ochs
6:30am. Resident Northern Cardinals were among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens this week – join a birdwalk June 18 with by Mark Ochs and starting at 6:30am. Read up-to-date reports from visitors https://ag.arizona.edu/bta/events/birdwalks.html
June 19: Tree Tour guided by Certified Arborist Jeff Payne
8am. So, just what is an Arboretum? BTA staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne leads this walk where visitors learn the answer to that often-posed question during a relaxed and leisurely guided tour through the forested areas of the Arboretum. Join Jeff for a chance to learn about the Arboretum's collection of oak and olive trees, native hackberry, mesquite and many more.
June 25: Geology Walking Tour with Scott McFadden (then with Rich Leveille July 23)
8am. Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour guided by professional geologist Rich Leveille. BTA’s website has links to a detailed interview with the Geology Tour guide; these walks compress 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. Note that BTA ‘rock walks’ move to an 8am. start time June 25 with Scott McFadden, and July 23 with Rich Leveille. Here’s a short profile of Rich Leveille
June 25: Guided Butterfly Walk with Ron Rutowski & Laura Miller (next butterfly walk July 23)
8:30am. ASU Professor Ron Rutowski and Laura Miller team-up and guide visitors to see, photograph and learn about colorful species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. This relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Start time remains 8:30am. July 23 with Marceline VandeWater as guide, and also 8:30am. on August 27 with Adriane Grimaldi. Adriane’s the guide September 24 when the start time moves to 9am.
June 26: Edible & Medicinal Desert Plants Guided Walk With David Morris (next walk is July 24)
8am. Explore our Curandero Trail on a one-hour walk guided by Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris. 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. East Valley authors and native plants enthusiasts Kathy & Tom McDonald guide this tour when it recurs July 24. ** Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.
July 2 : Dragonfly Walks with Justin Jones & Roger Racut (repeats August 6 with Joanna Henry)
8:30am. Dragonfly researcher Joanna Henry is special guest tourguide for this once-a-month odonate excursion -- an interpreted walking tour to Ayer Lake and garden water features -- a chance to learn about these beautiful, fascinating insect predators. Bring your camera because Pierre safely nets a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects unharmed. Check out colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website launched by ASU Professor Pierre Deviche:
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge