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:

The park is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, with the day's final admission at 4 pm, one hour before closing time so the last-admitted guests of the day have a full hour to explore the gardens and trails.


Enjoy 16 days of First Day Hikes at "your" Arizona State Parks.First Day Hike - 1/1/2015

Start 2015 off on the "right foot" with "two" morning hikes at the always gorgeous Boyce Thompson Arboretum State park.

10 am. Dog Socialization Walk with Sandra & Chaco
11 am. Guided Walk Along the 1.5 mile Main Trail

 

Don't forget to stay for the New Years day concert - Featuring Arvel Bird, starting at 12pm.

See more info about 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

DECEMBER

December 20 - Saturday Winter Solstice Concert With Silverback

Standard or Premium Annual Pass2:00 - 3:30 PM. West Valley singer-songwriter Eric Laubach and percussionist John Mahoney set a June concert attendance record at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park when they lured about 150 to an evening of live music as the sun set at the end of the year's longest day. The solstice lures them back each year: celebrate the Winter Solstice on Saturday December 20, from 2:00-3:30pm when they debut some of the new music they've created under the stage name 'Silverback'. Music's included with $10 daily admission (and of course, at no charge to our annual members!). Wondering about their musical style? Laubach says: "I began playing gigs around the valley in 1989; shortly after I began writing songs about Arizona.

John Mahoney's an excellent percussionist and bass player, we met through the Arizona Flute Circle and I've done all my recording in his studio. We play covers such as San Francisco Bay Blues and Bobby McGee along with my original Arizona songs such as Under a Coyote Moon, Tarantulas in the Moonlight, and The Zonie and the Genie. Something extra special about our concert on the 21st is Loren Russell, a Native American storyteller and flute player, who adds to our music with his own stories of life on the Gila River Reservation - and his masterful flute playing. So why do they mark the seasonal solstice events? And how did they choose the name 'Silverback'? Connect with Silverback on Facebook: Find us here. Preview Laubach's original songs: Click here

December 20 - Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

1:30 pm. 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. Tours are scheduled January 11 and 17, February 8 & 21, March 8 & 21 and April 12 & 18. 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. Read more here

December 21 - Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park Tree Tour With Jeff Payne

1:30 PM. 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. Read more here

December 26 - Christmas Bird Count Friday

7am - 5pm. Competent, confident birders are needed as volunteers for the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. Cynthia Donald coordinates the Superior count circle which begins at Queen Valley and Whitlow Dam to the west and extends to the Oak Flat campground above the town of Superior to the east; encompassing Hewitt Station Road and “Area 51″ around Montana Mountain, also Queen Creek upstream of the Arboretum, Arnett Creek and Canyon, Picketpost Mountain, and ‘urban birding’ around the town of Superior. To volunteer on a team for this count and get more information call Cynthia Donald at 480-283-4515 or email  her planres@earthlink.net. Volunteers are needed in others regions throughout the state, too. For more information about 'CBC's around Arizona, visit http://www.azfo.org

December 28 - Edible & Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By author Jean Groen

1:30 Pm. Explore our Curandero Trail on a guided Saturday afternoon one-hour walk with Apache Junction author Jean Groen, sharing 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. Read more: here


2015 - JANUARY

January 1, 2015 - Daily Guided Walking Tours

BOTH Walking Tour11am. Do  ‘century plant’ agaves truly live 100 years? How old are the massive saguaros on the north side of Magma Ridge – compared with the twice-as-tall eucalyptus trees? Where can you still sneak a post-holiday kiss under genuine mistletoe? Arboretum volunteer tour guides are a wealth of knowledge and anecdotes about Sonoran Desert natural history and you're invited to walk the main trail on an 11am guided tour this month – starting Friday tours will be offered at 11am daily for the winter-spring season.
While these engaging guides can't guarantee you'll see a coati or a coyote (both have been photographed here in recent weeks), they know where to look, and have a ream of interesting anecdotes about the Arboretum's origins, gardens – our past, and expansion plans for 2015-2016. More information here

 

January 1, 2015 - New Year's Day Concert & Blessing With Arvel Bird

12 Noon. Here's a resolution you'll find easy to keep: spend New Year's Day at the Arboretum, with the unique and inspiring flute and celtic fiddle music of Arvel Bird - starting just after 12 Noon with a Native American style New Year's blessing to begin 2014. Arvel will present a concert surrounded by desert beauty, performing new music from his two CDs as well as fan favorites from releases including Animal Totems, Tribal Music Suite and Titanic Centennial. His performance is co-sponsored by the Superstition Area Land Trust (azsalt.org); visitors will have a chance to meet volunteers from SALT and learn more about the organization and its efforts to preserve the Sonoran Desert.

Arvel Bird spent a decade playing fiddle for country legends including Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn and Louise Mandrell; now based in Nashville, he's chosen life on the road to connect with audiences the old-fashioned way -- live -- where his visceral performances and high-energy Celtic-Jazz fiddle ignite concert venues, symphony halls and festivals from coast-to-coast. Don't miss this talented musician, storyteller and world-traveled entertainer, whose continuously-evolving music delights audiences around the globe. Music is free if you're a BTA annual member or if you have an Arizona State Parks yearly-pass; it's included with the $10 daily admission for those who don't. Read more at: http://www.arvelbird.com/
Connect with the artist: here

January 15 - Build-a-Terrarium Workshop

9a.m. $30-$40; with credit card ready call 520.689.2723. Get your hands a little dirty create your own low-maintenance - and completely portable -- indoor garden; participants will arrange soil, decorative rock and assorted succulents in a drum-style glass fishbowl, creating a unique terrarium. All materials, including terrarium, soil and plants are included. Popular during the Victorian era, terrarium art is bring revived by mixed-media artist Vicki Johnson in workshops teaching the history of terrariums and offering step-by-step, hands-on instructions to build your own. Registration of $30-40 includes a (7-by-10-by-10 along with succulents, soil, rocks, and decorating materials. Vicki will explain types of succulents ideal for a terrarium, how to arrange them for aesthetic balance, and how to care for your mini-ecosystem (succulent terrariums are low-maintenance easy to maintain. This workshop is also available to private groups, for details email Lacey at lpacheco@ag.arizona.edu or call 520.689.2723 More information here

January 14 - Home School Day Tours

10am. homeschooling families are invited to gather and experience our most popular education programs on special Wednesdays where 10:00am tours are scheduled Jan. 14, Feb. 11 and March 11. Pre-registration and payment for Homeschool Days is required and is non-refundable. $2.00 per Pre-Kindergarten - High School student. (Ages 4-18) . $2.00 per adult limit two adults per family: additional adults $10 each. Space is limited. Families are asked to reserve in person at the Arboretum admissions window or by phone: 520-689-2723, no later than one week prior to each tour. More information here

January 17 - Australia Day

10am-4pm. Experience a taste of The Land Down Under -- the plants and culture of Australia are closer than you might expect, particularly on a special Saturday in late January when Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park celebrates Australia Day January 17. Didge players, and those who own a didge but never learned the technique of circular breathing to play it, are invited to join Musician Bernie Haley for an informal didge jam session from 9-11am in the lecture room. For details or to sign-up, Call Bernie at (250) 927-5544, or e-mail him at bahaley@live.com. Haley will also offer a concert open to all visitors that afternoon from 1:30-3:00, outdoors beneath the Eucalyptus trees if the weather is clement -- or in our lecture room of the Smith Building if the event of rain or excessive cold. We'll also feature tours of our massive Eucalyptus & River Red Gum trees. More information

January 24 - "The Science of Soils" Lecture & Lab Garden Classes

10am. Arboretum staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne launches a new series of once-a-month horticultural lectures with a seminar on soil. These are included with daily admission of $10; no pre-registration required. If soil isn't dirt, what is it - what does soil do, and how does it work? How
does water actually move through soil - and what's it composed of? Jeff will guide participants through an informative talk and hands-on lab about soils. Future topics include 'Selecting the Best Tree or Plant' Feb. 21; 'Planting and Establishment' March 21,  and 'Plant Problems, Disorders and
Diagnosis'  April 18. 


FEBRUARY

February 11: HomeSchool Day 'Trees' Tour & Workshop  

10 am. Education programs offered to public schools are also offered on three special days for HomeSchool families: a 'Trees' workshop and tour Feb. 11, the 'Arizona' workshop March 11, and 'Plants of the Bible Land' April 8. Pre-registration and payment for Homeschool Days is required and is non-refundable. Families are asked to register for the tour no later than one week prior to each 10am tour. $2 per student from pre-kindergarten through high school (ages 4-18) and $2 per adult, with a limit of two adults per family - additional adults pay regular admission of $10 each. Sessions begin Wednesday, February 11 with the Trees workshop: BTA is a natural fit for the study of trees, this tour teaches students about basic tree physiology; how trees work, plant classification, and even some mathematics with a 'tree-ometry' activity. (2 hours).

Then Wednesday, March 11 is the Arizona workshop. This special tour highlights unique attributes of Arizona, including geology, edible plants, state symbols, and habitats. (2 hours) Wednesday, April 8 is "Plants of the Bible Land". The Arboretum is home to several plants found in the Middle East. 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! (2 hours). To sign up and prepay have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff at 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours. Make sure to pre-register at least two days prior to the workshop date. Read more via this informative PDF here (future workshops March 11, April 8)

February 21 - "Selecting the Best Tree or Plant" Lecture & Lab Garden Classes

10am. Arboretum staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne invites gardeners to the 2nd in his new series of once-a-month horticultural lectures; they're included with daily admission of $10, no pre-registration required. What is a Site Analysis? Why plant Native? What is a “naturalized species”? What is Acclimation? Adaptability? Hardiness? What is a “Microclimate”? What should I really be looking for when selecting from a nursery? Join Certified Arborist Jeff Payne as he guides you through an informative talk and hands-on lab about tree and plant selection from the ‘roots up.’ This hands-on lab includes a mini field trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Retail Nursery. Future topics include 'Planting and Establishment' March 21,  and 'Plant Problems, Disorders and Diagnosis' April 18.


MARCH

March 11: HomeSchool Day 'Arizona' Tour & Workshop  

10 am. Education programs offered to public schools are also offered on three special days for HomeSchool families: the 'Arizona' workshop March 11, and 'Plants of the Bible Land' April 8. Pre-registration and payment for Homeschool Days is required and is non-refundable. Families are asked to register for the tour no later than one week prior to each 10am tour. $2 per student from pre-kindergarten through high school (ages 4-18) and $2 per adult, with a limit of two adults per family - additional adults pay regular admission of $10 each. Sessions continue Wednesday, March 11 with the Arizona workshop. This special tour highlights unique attributes of Arizona, including geology, edible plants, state symbols, and habitats. (2 hours) 

Wednesday, April 8 is "Plants of the Bible Land". The Arboretum is home to several plants found in the Middle East. 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! (2 hours). To sign up and prepay have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff at 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours. Make sure to pre-register at least two days prior to the workshop date. Read more via this informative PDF here

March 14: Girl Scout Badge Saturday Workshops: "Senses" for Brownies

9am. Girl Scouts from Brownie through Cadette can earn badges during group workshops at the Arboretum. Download our Registration PDF.

Girl Scouts ActivitiesRegistration of a non-refundable down-payment of $20 is required to hold a position for a scout or troop. Workshop admission fees are $10 per scout and $10 per adult chaperone; $5 for each non-scout between ages 5-12 (yes, these workshops are open to kids other than girl scouts – even boys). To sign up and prepay have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff at 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours. Make sure to pre-register at least two days prior to the workshop date, and when you call please tell our 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, and the number of scouts and chaperones attending. Questions? email Lacey at [lpacheco@cals.arizona.edu] or call her at 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours. Spring 2015 workshops for Brownies are 'Senses' March 14,'Arizona' April 25 and 'Bugs' May 23; for juniors workshops are Animal Habits' March 21, Flowers April 18 and Gardener May 16; and for Cadettes Woodworker May 9. More information here

March 21: Girl Scout Badge Saturday Workshops "Animal Habits" for Junior Scouts

9am. Girl Scouts from Brownie through Cadette can earn badges during group workshops at the Arboretum. Download our Registration PDF. [here] Registration of a non-refundable down-payment of $20 is required to hold a position for a scout or troop. Workshop admission fees are $10 per scout and $10 per adult chaperone; $5 for each non-scout between ages 5-12 (yes, these workshops are open to kids other than girl scouts – even boys). To sign up and prepay have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff at 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours. Make sure to pre-register at least two days prior to the workshop date, and when you call please tell our 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, and the number of scouts and chaperones attending. Questions? email Lacey at [lpacheco@cals.arizona.edu] or call her at 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours. Spring 2015 workshops for Brownies are 'Senses' March 14, 'Arizona' April 25 and 'Bugs' May 23; for juniors workshops are Animal Habits' March 21, Flowers April 18 and Gardener May 16; and for Cadettes Woodworker May 9. More information here

March 21 - "Planting and Establishment" Lecture & Lab Garden Classes

10am. You’ve bought the “RIGHT” plant, now what? What is a girdling root - and do I need to prune a newly planted tree? Arboretum staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne invites gardeners to the 3rd in his new series of once-a-month horticultural lectures; they're included with daily admission of $10, no pre-registration required. What do I prune off or why not? Are cacti planted differently than planting trees or shrubs? How wide must the planting hole be? How deep? Should I amend the soil and backfill? Join Certified Arborist Jeff Payne as he guides you through an informative talk and hands-on lab about the best practices for planting your new plant and what you should and should not do. This hands-on lab includes field work on the grounds at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Jeff's
Spring series concludes with 'Plant Problems, Disorders and Diagnosis' April 18. 


APRIL

April 8: HomeSchool Day 'Plants of the Bible Land' Tour & Workshop

10 am. Education programs offered to public schools are also offered on three special days for HomeSchool families with a 'Plants of the Bible Land' tour and activity April 8. Pre-registration and payment for Homeschool Days is required and is non-refundable. Families are asked to register for the tour no later than one week prior to each 10am tour. $2 per student from pre-kindergarten through high school (ages 4-18) and $2 per adult, with a limit of two adults per family - additional adults pay regular admission of $10 each. Sessions continue Wednesday, April 8 with "Plants of the Bible Land". The Arboretum is home to several plants found in the Middle East. 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! (2 hours). To sign up and prepay have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff at 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours. Make sure to pre-register at least two days prior to the workshop date. Read more via this informative PDF here

April 18 - "Plant Problems, Disorders and Diagnosis" Lecture & Lab Garden Classes

10am. Arboretum staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne invites gardeners to the 4th and final of his new series of once-a-month horticultural lectures; they're included with daily admission of $10, no pre-registration required. What is wrong with my plant? Is my plant dead? Why are the leaves yellow? I found bugs on my plants are they good or bad? What can cause dieback? Join Certified Arborist Jeff Payne as he guides you through problems that occur or can go wrong with your plants in your own backyard and what to watch out for during an informative talk and hands-on field lab diagnosing common problems with plants at Boyce Thompson Arboretum that the Horticulture Staff encounter on a daily or seasonal basis.


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