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

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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.

See more upcoming Events below


Boyce Thompson Arboretum Video Tour

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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.

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

 

BOTH Fall Foilage FestivalNovember 29 & 30: Thanksgiving Weekend Fall Foliage Finale Festival & Live Music BOTH Fall Music

10 am - 4 pm. Pistachio trees around the Arboretum reach their peak color during the last two weeks of November – Fall Foliage gets a salute with this Thanksgiving Weekend event featuring live music by Scott Schaefer and guest performers; also arts-crafts vendors. Hot and spiced apple cider available for $1 - carry some cash as you walk into the gardens. Music included with $10 for adults, $5 ages 5-12.


DECEMBER

December 6: Authors At The Arboretum Book Festival

10 am. Meet authors from across southern Arizona, writers from genres ranging from historical fiction and non-fiction, to mystery and suspense, memoir and children’s books. Arboretum Autumn foliage remains glorious in early December, here's a chance "to meet the person behind the pen" and take home personalized holiday gifts for bookworms on your list. Throughout the day, the schedule will feature readings by select authors, music; maybe even a writing workshop or two! Revisit this page in November for a more complete agenda and list of participating authors. For more information contact Kathy O’Dwyer McDonald at kathy@smilingdoglandscapes.com ; or by phone at 520.840.9766, or call Boyce Thompson Arboretum Gift Shop Director Lynnea Spencer at 520. 689. 2723

December 13: Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Jean Groen

1:30 pm. 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. This tour repeats Dec. 28 (Sunday) at 1:30 pm with ethno-botanist Dave Morris as our guide. Included with $10 daily admission.

December 14 - Advanced 'pine needle coiling' Gourd Art Class

10am. Sign up soon for either of two informal & fun gourd art classes -- a basic class for beginners-intermediates, or this advanced class in pine-needle coiling for experienced gourd artists. Each is a four-hour workshop where participants have the use of tools and art supplies to burn, paint, etch and emboss decorative gourds with coaching from mixed-media artists Gerald and Vicki Johnson. Enrollment for the beginners class is $35-$45 and includes a gourd, use of paints and brushes, tools and art supplies for the day, plus four hours of coaching and inspiration from Vicki & Jerry.
Enrollment is $10 more to learn the art of pine needle coiling; with the additional fee for specialized materials and instruction. Fees are from $45-$55. Have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 to enroll http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/

December 14 - Meet the Artist Gallery Reception: Stipple Art nature scenes by Julie Stubb

1pm. Two subjects that particularly inspire East Valley artist Julie Stubbs are also among the top reasons luring visitors to Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park -- plants and birds -- and a range of Julie's unique stipple pen-and-ink artwork will be featured in our visitor center gallery during December. Stipple is the intricate art of creating an image with tiny dots; perhaps familiar to most viewers as the Wall Street Journal's portrait style -- Julie Stubbs uses her talent for field-guide quality, lifelike renditions of owls, vultures and songbirds. Meet the artist at her opening reception Dec. 14 from 1-3pm. For a special invitation, visit her page - and click either of the top two links for a printable admission coupon: http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/juliestubbs

December 14 - 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 http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/events/bibleplants.html

December 20 - Saturday Winter Solstice Concert With Silverback

2:00 - 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: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Silverback/651921968153455
Preview Laubach's original songs: https://myspace.com/ericlaubachmusic

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
http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/events/bibleplants.html

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
http://boycethompson.blogspot.com/2014/06/five-questions-for-tree-tour-leader-and.html

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:
http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/edibleplants.html


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. http://ag.arizona.edu/bta

 

 

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 at: https://www.facebook.com/thearvelbird

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 http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/

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. http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/

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. http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/


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 http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/HomeschoolDays2015.pdf (future workshops March 11, April 8)


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 http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/HomeschoolDays2015.pdf

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. http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/

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. [http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/girlscoutcalendar2015.pdf] 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. http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/


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 http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/HomeschoolDays2015.pdf


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