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

Summer Hours in Effect: May – September

The park is open daily from 6 am to 3 pm, with the day's final admission at 2 pm, one hour before closing time so the last-admitted guests of the day have a full hour to explore the gardens and trails.

Aug. 1: Friday Walking Tour with Jim

7 am. What bird has foot-long wing feathers? How old is a 6-foot high Saguaro, and can you name three desert plants with fruit, seeds or nuts at their edible peak in August? Hear the answers on either of two Friday general walking tours of the main trail guided by Arizona State Parks Volunteer Jim Shepherd from 7:00-9:00am on August 1 & 22. A lifelong naturalist, Jim has traveled the length and breadth of Arizona in search of flora and fauna. Discover a few new wonders of the Arboretum - as seen through Jim's keen eye. Bring your family, your binoculars& camera, and plenty of questions for this 'participatory nature walk' with Jim as your guide.

Aug. 2: Dragonfly Walk with Roger Racut & Joanna Henry

8:30 am. Mesa photographer and dragonfly enthusiast Roger Racut is joined by ASU researcher Joana Henry as leader for the once-a-month dragonfly walk - a chance to see, photograph and learn about odonate species ranging from Blue-eyed Darner to Flame Smimmer, Mexican Amberwing and more. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. (repeats Sept. 6)

Aug. 9: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk with ‘Wild Man Phil’

8 am. Popular Casa Grande outdoor educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ guides this walk for kids – and everyone who enjoys Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles, and he’ll be back Aug. 30 for another – in fact Aug. 30-31 brings a back-to-back weekend of lizard walks, with Tucson author Larry Jones leading the Sunday walk. (repeats Aug. 30 & Aug 31)

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

Prickly PearAug. 9: Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class with ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy

9:30 am. Learn to pick, process, juice and prepare those forbidding prickly pear cactus fruits from Tall Order Catering owners ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy, along with Robert Lewis. Class lasts about an hour; stay til the end and you can sample refreshing prickly pear drinks and innovative snacks prepared by Eric & Terri. Same class with ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri repeats Aug. 17. Just can't get enough prickly pears? AZ State Parks Volunteers Jean Groen and Robert Lewis are featured instructors Aug. 23 in the nearby town of Superior for the 3rd annual Prickly Pear Festival - inspired by the Arboretum's popular classes. Online festival details

Aug. 16: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

8 am. 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. 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.

Aug. 17: Tree Tour With Jeff Payne

8 am. 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. tour repeats Oct. 19 at 1:30 pm (repeats Sept. 21 at 10 am, then Oct. 19 at 1:30pm)

Prickly PearAug. 17: Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class with ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy

9:30 am. Learn to pick, process, juice and prepare those forbidding prickly pear cactus fruits from Tall Order Catering owners ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy, along with Robert Lewis. Class lasts about an hour; stay til the end and you can sample refreshing prickly pear drinks and innovative snacks prepared by Eric & Terri. Same class with ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri repeats Aug. 17. Just can't get enough prickly pears? AZ State Parks Volunteers Jean Groen and Robert Lewis are featured instructors Aug. 23 in the nearby town of Superior for the 3rd annual Prickly Pear Festival - inspired by the Arboretum's popular classes. Online festival details

Aug. 19: Tuesday Book Club

8 am in the Smith Building’s air-conditioned lecture room. The Arboretum Book Club has a guest coordinator -- Arizona author Kathleen O'Dwyer McDonald; a new meeting date and time, too -- the third Tuesday of the month from 8 - 9:30 am in the Smith Building's air-conditioned lecture room; the club meets next on Sept. 16. During Summer months the arboretum opens at 6am; enjoy an hour or two walking the gardens while the morning is cool - then head indoors for a lively book club discussion starting at 8am. Each month's featured book is available in the Gift Shop; to order a copy by mail, have a credit card ready and call 520-689-2723. To inquire about this month's book -- or RSVP that you plan to attend the book club meeting -- please email kathy(at)smilingdoglandscapes.com

Aug. 22: Friday Walking Tour with Jim

7 am. What bird has foot-long wing feathers? How old is a 6-foot high Saguaro, and can you name three desert plants with fruit, seeds or nuts at their edible peak in August? Hear the answers on either of two Friday general walking tours of the main trail guided by Arizona State Parks Volunteer Jim Shepherd from 7:00-9:00am on August 1 & 22. A lifelong naturalist, Jim has traveled the length and breadth of Arizona in search of flora and fauna. Discover a few new wonders of the Arboretum - as seen through Jim's keen eye. Bring your family, your binoculars & camera, and plenty of questions for this 'participatory nature walk' with Jim as your guide.

Aug. 23: Geology walking tour with Steve Semken

8 am. ASU Prof. Steve Semken guides this once-a-month walk, 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.

Aug. 23: Butterfly Walk with Marceline VandeWater

8:30 am. Once-a-month guided butterfly walks are a chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterfly species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more; on a relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. Start time moves to 9:30am for the season finale Oct. 25 with Adriane Grimaldi and Gail Morris. (more tours Sept. 27, Oct. 25)

Aug. 24: Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Jean Groen

8 am. 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.

Aug. 30: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk with ‘Wild Man Phil’

8 am. Popular Casa Grande outdoor educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ guides this walk for kids – and everyone who enjoys Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles, and he’ll be back Aug. 30 for another – in fact Aug. 30-31 brings a back-to-back weekend of lizard walks, with Tucson author Larry Jones leading the Sunday walk. (repeats Aug 31)

Aug. 31: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk with ‘Wild Man Phil’

8 am. Popular Casa Grande outdoor educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ guides this walk for kids – and everyone who enjoys Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles, and he’ll be back Aug. 30 for another – in fact Aug. 30-31 brings a back-to-back weekend of lizard walks, with Tucson author Larry Jones leading the Sunday walk. (repeats Aug 31)

Prickly PearSept. 1: Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class "Labor Day Season Finale" with Jean Groen & Robert Lewis

9:30 am. Learn to pick, process, juice and prepare those forbidding prickly pear cactus fruits from Apache Junction author Jean Groen and her harvest season accomplice, Robert Lewis. Class lasts about an hour; stay til the end and you can sample refreshing prickly pear drinks and innovative snacks prepared by Jean. This is the final of four classes offered during the harvest season.

Sept. 6: CaZBA 7th Annual Butterfly Count

8:30 am. See, photograph and learn about colorful butterflies during this annual census of all the "flowers on the wing" which can be counted in one morning around the gardens. Counting starts at 8:30 am sharp, so arrive a little early (BTA opens at 8 am). To sign-up or get more information email marceline@ermaroni.net. The count circle has a 15 mile diameter; during this one-day census participants will seek butterflies at Oak Flat and many other spots within that circle; for lunch participants usually meet back at a local restaurant five minutes drive east in the nearby town of Superior -- or you can bring your own and picnic at the Arboretum. Xami Hairstreak is one of specialties that has been found in the past at the Arboretum; 44 species were found by Marceline VandeWater during this tally a few years back

Sept. 6: Dragonfly Walk with Pierre Deviche & Roger Racut

8:30 am. ASU Professor Pierre Deviche created the photo-packed website azdragonflies.net; meet Dr. Deviche and learn about these colorful insect predators on a guided tour to see, photograph and learn about odonate species ranging from Blue-eyed Darner to Flame Skimmer, Mexican Amberwing and more.

Sept. 13: Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk "Season Finale"

8:30 am. Casa Grande outdoor educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ leads this walk for kids – and everyone who enjoys Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. http://arboretum.ag.arizona.edu/events/lizardwalk.html

Sept. 14: Pomegranate Harvest Workshop with Jean Groen & Robert Lewis

10 am. Pomegranates, reputed to be among antioxidant-packed "super foods", thrive in Arizona - and have a colorful background in literature and lore (some say a pomegranate would have been more likely in the Garden of Eden). Learn about cultivars and how to pick, process, and juice 'em in a class with Apache Junction author Jean Groen and her harvest season accomplice, Robert Lewis. Class lasts about an hour; stay til the end and you can sample refreshing pomegranate drinks and innovative snacks prepared by Jean.

Sept. 20: Welcome Back Buzzards

7 am. You'll want to be an "early bird" and hit the road before dawn if you'd like to see the famous resident flock of Turkey Vultures sunning on the volcanic cliffs of Magma Ridge from sunrise til about 8:00 or 8:30 am; at that hour they begin to take flight - circling and soaring skyward to spednd their day scanning the desert below for carrion. Arboretum staff and volunteers celebrate migration and spotlight this often-overlooked scavenger species during a morning devoted to Vulture Culture. Observe the birds from 7:00-8:30, then join a guided bird walk around the gardens to see and learn about other birds. From 8:30-2:00pm volunteer "wildlife rehabbers" from the Arizona Game & Fish Department have a popular living exhibit of birds, reptiles and mammals set up near the Smith Building - including a real, live Turkey Vulture you can see and photograph up close and personal.

Sept. 20: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

8:30 am. 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. 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. This tour repeats Oct. 18 at 1:30 pm.

Sept. 21: Tree Tour With Jeff Payne

10:00 am. 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. tour repeats Oct. 19 at 1:30 pm

Museum Day Live

September 27: Museum Day Live!

8 am. Free Admission with coupon today during "Smithsonian Museum Day Live" if you bring along a coupon for the annual Museum Day Live promotion arranged by the Smithsonian Magazine to promote museums across the nation. Obtain your one-day-pass from the Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live! website http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/

Sept. 27: Geology walking tour Guided By Scott McFadden

8:30 am. Professional Geologist Scott McFadden is the special guest guides for this once-a-month walk, 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.

Sept. 28: Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Jean Groen

8:30 am. 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 Oct. 11 (Saturday) at 1:30 pm, and on the 2nd Saturday at 1:30 from October-through-April.

Oct. 1: Open Labor Day: Fall-Winter Schedule returns

Hours daily 8 am - 5 pm. The Arboretum is open Labor Day, the Autumn equinox approaches and signals Fall weather and cooler days - the Arboretum returns to the Fall/Winter schedule with daily hours from 8 am - 5 pm; last admission of each day at 4:00 pm so those final visitors have one full hour to enjoy the gardens and trails.

Oct. 19: 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.

Oct. 25: Butterfly Walk Season Finale

9:30 am. See, photograph and learn about colorful butterfly species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more; on a relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Special guest tourguides are Adriane Grimaldi (education director at Butterfly Wonderland) and Gail Morris, volunteer coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Butterfly Migration research project.


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