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.



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

FEBRUARY

February 26-27 - RangerCam Report

You won’t see big patches of color - its still a few weeks early for widespread goldpoppies and blue phacelia -- but more than two dozen different species of wildflowers can already be seen on a 90-minute walk around the main trail at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and AZ State Parks Volunteers kick-off the wildflower season with guided One O'clock wildflower walks Sunday Feb. 22, Thursday Feb. 26, Saturday Feb. 28 -- continuing every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of March. 

What’ll you see this week? Here's our first report from Park Rangers and Volunteers: "as the MAIN TRAIL descends east of the Visitor Center, watch for beautiful red and yellow ice plant – also Fetid Marigolds. Not much yet in the Hummingbird Garden, but watch for a lavender-pink variant of Globemallow at left where the Main Trail crosses Silver King Wash. The CACTUS GARDEN has scattered lupines, desert marigolds and canaigre (wild rhubarb), but most impressive are twin stalks on Pulque Agaves, already 10-feet tall, and likely to reach twice that height. At AYER LAKE watch for Mormon Tea and Jojoba shrubs flowering; also a patch of ‘dandelion-like’ Sow Thistle blooming near the shade ramada by the dam. The main trail above the lake has rhyolite bush (crossosoma), and a thick patch of Purple Bladderpod (lesquerella). As you approach picketpost mansion look for blue-purple flower clusters atop thin stalks of BlueDicks (also known as  covena, or wild hyacinch). Below the ‘Switchbacks’ blue phacelia is robust – but not flowering yet. Watch for wild cucumber, henbit and more rhyolite bush.  

The MOST WILDFLOWER COLOR to be seen is along the High Trail, with thickets of miner’s lettuce at peak right now, also large patch of purple bladderpod just west of the suspension bridge – plus wallflower & desert phlox at the middle section of the High Trail. See fresh flower photos Here.


Thunder Gourd Art Event - Boyce Thompson Arboretum State ParkFebruary 28 - March 1 - 'Thunder Gourds' (2-Day Workshop) 

9am - 1pm. $75-$85. have a credit card ready and call (520) 689-2723 to enroll. Thunder gourds make a low rumbling noise when shaken, BTA "Artists-In-Residence" Vicki and Gerald Johnson will demonstrate how to make your own version of this popular musical noisemaker in this unique new class. Students will burn a design onto the gourd, then color it. After the gourd is sealed with a topcoat, students will attach a membrane and spring
to the bottom of the open gourd. All materials including a clean, prepared gourd are included. Would your music club, drum circle or other community group like to schedule this activity as a private group? Contact Lacey at
lpacheco@cals.arizona.edu. Confirm event times Here

February 28 - Geology walking tour with Rich Leveille

1:30pm. Professional geologist Rich Leveille guides this walk February 28, 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. ASU Professor Steve Semken returns March 28 as guide.


MARCH

Mar. 7 & 8 - Build & Play an Agave Didgeridoo 2-Day Workshop

9am. Enroll today, spaces are limited; its $120, have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours. Participants will make their own Agave Didgeridoo with instruction from West Valley recording artist Scott Schaefer. Saturday you’ll cut, sand and glue your agave; Sunday participants will learn the technique of ‘circular breathing’ that allows players to create an unbroken drone. Enrollment of $120 for non-members and $100 for members includes two days worth of instruction, an Agave stalk, and lessons to play it using the challenging technique of circular breathing (daily admission, too). Class participant will need to furnish their own chisel, sandpaper and other supplies -- all easily obtained from your local hardware store; Scott will supply a complete list of supplies to enrollees. During the workshop Scott will be demonstrating on a truly ‘larger than life’ Agave Americana stalk he plans to turn into The World's Largest Didgeridoo. Read more Here

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 13th to 29th (daily) - Spring Plant Sale - Members-Only Friday March 13; sale open to all March 14

8am. Stock-up on plants for your garden, backyard or patio; many of the plants available for purchase during this seasonal fundraiser are grown by arboretum horticultural staff in our own nurseries here on-site. Consider annual membership, a bargain at $50 for a couple or $75 for a family - and our annual members get first pick of the select plant sale stock on our opening Friday March 13. Experienced arboretum horticultural staff and Pinal County master gardeners are on hand weekends during the plant sale to answer your questions about plants and landscaping. Arboretum staff grow the plants for the sale and also maintain many of these same plants in our gardens and exhibits - they know firsthand how these plants perform, from nursery pot to maturity in an Arizona garden and landscape. Got a University of Arizona ID?

The Arboretum is affiliated with UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, so bring your CatCard or other UA I.D. during the Spring Plant Sale because our regular $10 daily admission is waived for UA employees and students. Guided nature walks are offered most weekendsyear-round, and during March-April there are daily 11 a.m. general tours included with daily admission. Invite friends and bring a picnic; explore the scenic gardens and walk more than two miles of paths and trails during a day trip. The arboretum is a College of Agriculture And Life Sciences affiliate, about a 90-minute drive from campus. You may even bring a dog; the arboretum welcomes leashed and well-behaved pets.

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 - Welcome Back Buzzards

7am. Vulture Viewing, 8:30am. bird walk; 9am-1pm. Arizona Game & Fish Widllife Rehabbers' Live Animal And Bird Exhibit. 

BuzzardMarch 21 brings the Vernal Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians; the Arboretum has a day filled with events starting just after sunrise with the annual Welcome Back Buzzards' seasonal salute. The Arboretum opens at 6:00; arrive by 7:00 for the 7am special opening Saturday to see the famous flock of Turkey Vultures perched on the cliffs before they depart to spend their day soaring the skies; world-traveled ASU Professor Dave Pearson will be the guest 'Vulture-ologist' from 7:00-8:30, talking about the big black birds, answering questions and sharing his appreciation for the soaring scavengers until the vultures take to the skies -- typically by 8:30am. Pearson and others will guide birdwalks through the gardens at 8:30, and from 9:00-2:00 volunteer wildlife rehabbers from the Arizona Game & Fish Department will have a popular living exhibit of raptors and reptiles set up near the Smith Building, so kids and adults alike can have closeup views of a real, live Turkey Vulture along with hawks and owls.
View a Bye Bye Buzzards Day event video by Arboretum Volunteer Mike Rolfe Here

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 - Girl Scout Badge Saturday Workshop: "Arizona Badge"

9am. (new workshops April 25, May 9 & 16) Girl Scouts from Brownie through Cadette can earn badges during group workshops at the Arboretum. Spring 2015 workshops continue with the Flowers badge April 18, the 'Arizona' badge April 25, 'Bugs' May 23; May 16; and for Cadettes  Woodworker May 9. 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. 

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.


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