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May Calendar of Events at Arizona State Parks

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Download May Events Calendar ( 914 KB PDF)

May 7: Dragonfly Walks with Justin Jones & Roger Racut (also June 4 & July 2)

8:30am. Dragonfly enthusiasts Justin Jones and Roger Racut guide our 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:

May 7: 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. Tours depart from the visitor center at 9am. and are included with daily admission $10 -- free to BTA annual members, and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. Our Summer schedule returns May 1 and hours will be 6am. to 3pm. daily through September 30; general tours of the main trail with Jim Shepherd will be at 9am. on Saturdays May 7 and 21.

May 7: Girl Scout Badge Workshop (more Girl Scout workshops May 14 and 28)

9am. $10 per scout, $10 per adult chaperone - call (520) 689-2723 to pre-register and prepay. Girl Scout badge workshops continue with the ‘Senses’ activity for Brownies May 7, then ‘Wood Worker’ for Cadettes May 14 and the 'Arizona' patch for Brownies May 21. Read more

May 8: Mother’s Day Camera Classes: Camera Basics #1 and #2

Looking for a truly thoughtful, unique gift for mother’s day? Enroll mom (or your wife, aunt, daughter or sister) in either of two camera classes that will be offered by popular instructor Lisa Langell. Abbreviated descriptions are below; enroll online and read more complete class itineraries at
Camera Basics I: a 3-hour class in manual exposure settings such as aperture, shutter speed & ISO. Lisa employs a warm, friendly, supportive approach during an indoor class that introduces you to the most basic three settings that help control exceptional photography. Learn these settings and artistic effects they can create such as depth-of-field, ‘bokeh,’ motion-blur, stopping action & more. Most time will be spent in the lecture room, but class will end with a short in-the-field exercise to strengthen and apply your skills – before the morning heats up too much.
Beyond Camera Basics II: from 1-4pm. Building on the skills learned in level 1 (see above), this class covers proper use of ISO and manual settings (shutter speed, aperture and ISO combined). Learn to take complete control of your camera and photography from an artistic perspective. Class begins with lecture room indoor time and ends with in-the-garden exercises to strengthen and apply your skills. Enrollees should have completed Lisa’s ‘Camera Basics #1’ or a comparable class prior to this – or be confident as intermediate photographers who know the basics covered in her AM class listed above. Enroll online via Lisa’s website

May 14: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks with 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci

8am. 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. Casa Grande outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' Rakociis our special guest tourguide. Daily hours move to the summer schedule May 1; during May we're open 6am. to 3pm. Connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook
Walks continue July 9 with Arizona Game & Fish Department reptile researcher Dan Leavitt and Tucson author Larry Jones ("Lizards of the American Southwest"). Our walks on 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 Arrive early and explore - during Summer months from May-through-September BTA opens at 6am.

May 15: Tree Tour

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.

May 21: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

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. 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.

May 22: Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By David Morris

8am. Explore our Curandero Trail on a one-hour walk guided by Choctaw Nation member and ethno-botanist David Morris on May 22 and also June 26. 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. Daily hours move to the summer scheduled of 6am-3pm from May-through-September, and this tour moves to an 8:00 am start time May 22 and June 26. ** Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers.

May 22: LightRoom 5 Users Group

9am. Smith Building Lecture Room. Photographers and digital photo editing enthusiasts coordinate our once-a-month meeting of the LightRoom5 users group. These informal workshops are open to the public, free to BTA annual members and included with $10 daily admission if you're not among annual members.

May 28: Guided Butterfly Walk with ASU Professor Marceline VandeWater (next is June 25)

9am. Marceline VandeWater guides 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. ASU Professor Ron Rutowski and Laura Miller team-up again to guide the walk at 8:30am. June 25. Start time remains 8:30am. July 23 with Marceline VandeWater as guide, and also 8:30am. on August 27 with Adriane Grimaldi ; she's also our guide September 24 when the start time moves to 9am.

May 28: Geology walking tour with Rich Leveille

1:30pm. Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour with professional geologist Rich Leveille on May 28 starting at 8am. This 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. June 25 our guide is Scott McFadden, then July 23 Rich Leville returns.



Catalina State Park

Download May Events Calendar ( 35 KB PDF)

First Saturday Concerts at Catalina State ParkSaturday, May 7: Bill Ganz

6:45pm. Join Bill Ganz for our Saturday concert series at Catalina State Park. He will be sharing his talents as a western singer and guitarist. All-day admisssion to the park is $7 per vehicle and the concert is included with park admission. Check back for our next First Saturday Concert in June.

Sunday, May 8: 50 Year Trail Loop [7mi/450’]

7am. Park at and hike from the Equestrian Center. It’s an easy hike, returning by another pleasant trail so as to make a loop. Gaston Meloche,

Sunday, May 15: Cabin, Cargodera & Sutherland Trail Loop [8mi/900’]

7am. Park at and hike from the main trailhead. Take the Nature Trail following Sutherland Wash to the “stone cabin” at the N end of the Park. This spot is, apparently, the location of the original Sutherland Ranch. Take the Sutherland Link trail (the nice one) E. to the Sutherland Trail and Cargodera Flatrock. Return on the Sutherland and Canyon Loop trails. Gaston Meloche.

Sunday, May 15: Geology Walk

8:30am. Meet at the Picnic Area Ramada. How were the Santa Catalina Mountains formed? What are some of the different rocks in the Park? Learn about the geology of Catalina State Park with experienced geologist, Karen. The walk takes several hours.

Sunday, May 22: Romero Pools, Upper [7mi/1600’]

7am. Park at and hike from the main trailhead to Romero Canyon Trail to upper pools and return by the same route. Gaston Meloche,
Sunday, May 29, 2016 CSP - Medium Loop [9mi/500’/7am] Park and hike from main trailhead to Canyon loop for part, Sutherland Tr. E., Cargodera Flat rocks Link N., Connector and return to cars Gaston Meloche.


Jerome State Historic Park

Saturday, May 14: 100th/50th Anniversary of Douglas Mansion & Park

All Day. The Douglas Mansion has been an eye-catching landmark in Jerome since 1916. Built by James “Rawhide” Douglas above his Little Daisy Mine at a cost of $150,000. It was donated by his sons, James and Lewis Douglas, and opened as the 5th Arizona State Park on October 16th, 1965.
Please join us for food and entertainment throughout the day. Listen to guest speaker Tim Coons and visit with local rock and mineral traders. Enjoy musical entertainment provided by local artists Ken and Lynn Mikell.


Oracle State Park

Oracle State Park

Saturday, May 7: Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Oak-grasslands

10am.-12pm. with Sonoran Desert Herbalist, John Slattery, on the trail. Discover the variety of park plants as they relate to food, medicine and ethno-botany – and local landscapes. Please call for a reservation. Free with park admission, thanks to Friends of Oracle State Park.

Sunday, May 8: Docent-Led Granite Overlook Hike

9am. Meet at the Oak-Woodland Parking Area for a casual guided nature hike with volunteer, Alexander Connolly. The 1.6 mile loop walk will take about 1-1.5 hours. Reservation suggested. Free with park admission.

Saturday, May 14: Ranger-Led Plant Walk

9am. Meet at the Kannally Ranch House office for a one-hour guided walk with Ranger, Gary Faulkenberry, for an introduction to the vegetation of the park. Reservation suggested. Free with park admission.


Patagonia Lake State Park

Mariachi Festival at Patagonia Lake State Park

9am-4pm. Spice up your spring with the Annual Mariachi Festival. Enjoy a wide variety of Southern Arizona Mariachi bands on stage. Featuring authentic Mexican food, hot dogs, hamburgers, kettle corn & shaved ice! Visitors may also bring their own picnic basket and there will be a Piñata for the kids! Don’t forget to bring: Plenty of water, lawn chair, sunscreen, hat. In addition, Patagonia offers fishing, birding, boat tours, and nature walks.

Schedule of Events:
10am. - Mariachi Innovación (Band)
11am. - Mariachi Sol Azteca (Band)
Noon - Pinata (Activity)
12:15pm. - Viva Performing Arts Center - Ballet Folklorio (Dancers)
1:15pm. - Mariachi Nueva Melodia (Band)
2:15pm. - Nogales High School Mariachi Apache (Band)
3:15pm. - Mariachi Aztlan - De Pueblo High (Band)



Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Saturday, May 7: May Evening Lecture - Recovering Lost Stories: The Havasupai Photography Project, Presented by Steve and Lois Hirst

7pm.—8pm. FREE! In the early 1970s Steve and Lois Hirst began researching Havasupai land rights. An unexpected fallout of their work was the discovery of hundreds of long-lost historic photographs in museums and archives. Follow their detective work restoring names and stories to all-but-forgotten subjects after more than a century. Steve and Lois Hirst served with the first contingent of Peace Corps volunteers to Liberia, West Africa. Later they worked for the government in Washington.

In 1967 they began a lifelong relationship with the Havasupai people of the Grand Canyon. During the Hirsts’ years in the canyon, the Havasupai asked them to research and document the case for winning back ancestral land. Steve's award-winning book I Am the Grand Canyon, his novel Lauren Greasewater’s War, and the historic enlargement of the Havasupai Reservation are the outcome of that work. Steve and his wife now volunteer as interpretive rangers for the US Forest Service in Flagstaff and continue their friendship and work with the Havasupai people. Read more:

Sunday, May 8: New for the summer! Second Sunday Special Tour - Historic Milton Walking Tour

2pm.—3:30pm. A 90 minute guided walk from Riordan Mansion to explore the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company property and the town site of Milton. We will look at the buildings that are left and show historic photos of what was once there. The tours are recommended for ages twelve and older. Cost $12. Space is limited, so reservations are required. Reservations and information can be obtained by calling the Park.

Monday, May 9: May Brown Bag Lecture: Matt's Calendar Book: A window into the life of the eldest Riordan brother, Presented by Savannah Cook, M.A.

12:15pm.—1pm. FREE! The story of Matt Riordan, the older brother of Tim and Mike Riordan, is one not often told within the story of the Riordan Mansion because he had left Flagstaff by the time it was built. His “Calendar book,” a book put together by his friend Frank Reid which has letters from friends and family expressing their love and admiration for him for each day of the year of 1895, gives us an interesting look at the life Matt had built for himself and his younger brothers in Flagstaff. As part of her Master’s degree, Savannah Cook has digitized and transcribed Matt’s Calendar book and done research on Matt, the many people who contributed to this fascinating artifact, and the local and national context of the 1890s. Savannah is a student in History, Northern Arizona University.

Save the dates for Riordan Events:

All summer - Riordan Second Sunday Special Tour: Historic Milton Walking Tour
June 13 - Brown Bag Lecture: The Art of Cameras
June 18 - Route 66 Comes to Riordan - Route 66 Car Club and the Flagstaff Community Band
June 18 - Evening Lecture: Fred Harvey
July 11 - Brown Bag Lecture in Memory of Ken O'Dell
July 23 - Evening Lecture: Route 66


Red Rock State Park

Download May Events Calendar ( 654 KB PDF)

Sunday, May 8 : Geology Hike

1pm. We are located at the base of the Mogollon Rim, the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The escarpment is over 200 miles long and ranges in elevation from 2,000 to 3,000 feet. Over millions of years of erosion the rim has receded over four miles leaving behind the picturesque features of Sedona. Join our knowledgeable volunteers as they venture out on our trails and discuss how Sedona transformed into what we see today. This is an interpretive experience for both the beginner and experienced hiker, lasting between 2-2 ½ hours and an elevation gain of 250 feet. Please bring water and wear suitable footwear. Hikes are included with park entrance fees.

Sunday May 15: Archaeology Hike

1pm. Red Rock State Park has been a destination for Native Americans for several millennia. Most of the ancient features found in the park are from the Sinagua culture dating about 1100 to 1425 AD. Come and hear the fascinating story of the pre-Columbian people who lived and traveled in the park! The hike will identify the various archaeological features and interpret them into the wider context of important regional Sinagua sites. And we will explore ideas of other cultures that may likely have made use of the park’s resources. The hike will last about two hours, with an elevation gain of some 250 feet, along easy trails. Please bring water and wear suitable footwear. Hikes are included with park entrance fees.

Saturday May 21: Full Moon Hike

6pm. The Full Moon Hike is among the most popular interpretive hikes at the Park. Led by a naturalist, it gives hikers the rare opportunity to enjoy the sunset and moonrise from an overlook and return by the light of the moon, while also having the chance to learn about Sedona and its surrounding areas. Verde Valley and park history, as well as archeology, geology, botany, and riparian wildlife information, is also offered by a knowledgeable guide. The hike lasts two to 2 1/2 hours and covers a distance of approximately two miles. A $5.00 reservation fee is required as well as an entry fee upon arrival ($7.00 per adult (14 and up) $4.00 per youth (7 - 13), and free for children (0 - 6)). Rangers ask hikers to please arrive approximately 30 minutes before the starting time to insure participation. Program fees are non-refundable unless the park must cancel the hike after your arrival. Wear suitable clothing, shoes (prepare for cool nights) bring water, and a flashlight.

Sunday, May 22: Ethnobotany Hike

1pm. Learning more about the native plants and trees here in the Sedona area is a great way to enhance any hike! Join Jim Charest as he explains how plants were used for various reasons by local indigenous cultures and by people in our contemporary times. This interpretive experience is for both the beginner and experienced hiker, lasting between 2-2 ½ hours with an elevation gain of 250 feet. The hike is included with your entrance fee. Please bring water and wear suitable footwear. Meet up with Jim in the Visitor Center a little before 1pm.

Saturday, May 28: Monarch Conservation Day

Come enjoy our newly unveiled butterfly garden that has been developed to provide resources that attract butterflies and moths, with an emphasis on Monarchs. In this habitat, visitors will be able to learn about the ecology of these beautiful creatures and observe a variety of free flying butterflies. As a certified Monarch Waystation, Red Rock State Park seeks to provide shelter and resources for the conservation of the Monarch butterfly. In addition, butterflies will be raised at the park as they become available, with butterfly releases throughout the season. The public can call the park to see if any releases are scheduled in June. A volunteer will be available to discuss gardening for butterflies from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. A free butterfly themed kids activity will be available at 11am. and 2pm. In the park's theater we will be playing “Flight of the Butterflies” a program by Nova, all day on a loop. Information on butterflies local to the Sedona area will be available for visitors who would like to go on a butterfly scavenger hunt on the park's hiking trails. So come and enjoy the gardens and learn about Monarch conservation efforts on May 28th.

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