Location

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Locator Map

Elevation 2,400 feet   Fees

Contact the Park:
(520) 689-2723
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



Fall Hours are in Effect:

The park is open daily from 8am. to 5pm., with the day's final admission at 4pm., 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

EVENTS

December 3: Guided Bird Walk with Marceline VandeWater

8:30am. Year-round resident Northern Cardinals were among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens this week at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. See vivid cardinals and more on a bird walk starting at 8:30am.; another bird walk is schedule Dec. 11 guided by Anne Leight & Kathe Anderson. Recent bird sighting checklist are posted at http://cals.arizona.edu/bta/

December 3: ‘Coming to Your Senses’ Master Gardener Workshop

11am. Green-thumbed volunteers from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program continue informal once-a-month Saturday morning outdoor workshops with “Coming to Your Senses” . Have you grown a daisy that smells like chocolate or a plant that sounds like a rattlesnake? Join us in planning a garden using plants that evoke the senses and learn to create your own special sensory collage. Workshops resume February 4, 2017, with ‘Fruits of Your Labor’ explaining how, ever since man first tasted the apple, luscious fruit has become essential to our diet. In Arizona we can grow apples, oranges, lemons, peaches, figs, plums, apricots, pomegranates and more in our backyards and even patios! Make your desert garden more “fruitful.” Confirm event times and read more http://cals.arizona.edu/bta/

December 3: Main Trail Guided Walking Tour

11am. Arizona State Parks Volunteer Jim Shepherd guides a walk showcasing the beauty of Arizona's oldest Arboretum, nestled against Picket Post Mountain. See plants and trees from around the world, with an emphasis on flora of the Sonoran Desert. Jim narrates a brief history of the park, its famous founder, and Thompson’s magnificent famous mansion on a ridge of volcanic rock. Tours depart from the visitor center at 11:00 am and are included with daily admission $10 -- free to BTA annual members, and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. Confirm event times and read more http://cals.arizona.edu/bta/

December 4: Sunday History Walk

10am. You may have walked the main trail a dozen times and never crossed paths with the Galapagos Tortoise pens. Take a moment to scan the horizon above Picket Post Mountain, can you imagine cavalry soldiers camped in this region in the late 1800s? Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee narrates a walking tour that includes the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum. Confirm event times and read more http://cals.arizona.edu/bta/

December 9, 16, 23, and 30: Friday Bird Walk with Tom and Carol

8:30am. Bright red Northern Cardinals are year-round residents at the Arboretum and can be seen along with dozens of species around the gardens. Learn to identify birds this month on weekly Friday walks guided by Tom and Carol Sykes. Find recent bird sightings posted at cals.arizona.edu.

December 10: Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Sonoran Desert Guided Walk with Kathy & Tom

1:30pm. Walk the Curandero Trail on a slow-paced tour guided by desert plant enthusiasts and local authors Kathy & Tom McDonald - explaining ways prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves and jojobas have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than 1,000 years. Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. To confirm event times and to read more, please visit cals.arizona.edu.

December 10 - 11: Picket Post Mansion Tour

West-facing walls and windows of historic Picket Post House are all that most people have ever seen of the 7,000 square foot mansion adjacent to Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. But after a five-year hiatus, two special weekends of public tours return Dec. 10-11, and also Jan. 7-8! Mark your calendar and don't miss these rare opportunities to walk through Colonel William Boyce Thompson's venerable mansion perched on volcanic cliffs overlooking his namesake Arboretum. Visitors are required to pay daily park admission of $10 each to enter the Arboretum grounds ($5 for ages 5-12) and walk the half-mile main trail to reach the mansion gate; mansion tour tickets cost an additional $20 each, and money raised during these special weekends of mansion tours helps support our ongoing mission at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. Of course, AZ State Parks pass-holders just pay the $20 mansion tour fee. The Arboretum opens at 8:00 a.m. during Fall and Winter months; the mansion will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Carry some cash for lunch onsite, the local Optimists Club will have grilled burgers and hotdogs for sale outside the mansion. Buy tour tickets in the Arboretum gift shop when you arrive - tickets are not sold in advance. For a sneak preview of whats inside, check out the gallery Patsy Akers posted online after 2011, when tours were last offered - find the link at cals.arizona.edu.

December 10: Main Trail Guided Walking Tour (repeats Dec. 10-12, 17, 19, 24, and 31)

11:00am. Arizona State Parks volunteers Tom and Carol Sykes narrate Arboretum history and point out colorful plants and birds plus seasonal changes on guided walking tours. Benjamin Franklin famously said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn;” engaging tourguides Carol and Tom find something new around the Arboretum gardens each week. You’ll learn about seasonal changes, hotspots to look for resident birds, and where best to enjoy sweeping views of the Queen Creek riparian area. Guided walks along the 1.5 mile main trail include fun facts about Arboretum history while learning more about the Arboretum’s plants, resident critters and geology. Tours depart from the visitor center at 11:00 am and are included with daily admission. Free to BTA annual members, and also if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. To confirm event times and to read more, please visit cals.arizona.edu.

December 11: Guided Bird Walk with Anne & Kathe

8:30am. Year-round resident Northern Cardinals were among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens this week at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. See vivid cardinals and more on a bird walk starting at 8:30 am and guided by Anne Leight & Kathe Anderson. Recent bird sighting checklist are posted at http://cals.arizona.edu/bta/

December 17: Plants of the Bible Lands Guided Walk with Dave Oberpriller

1:30pm. A wise man will be heading east towards BTA in December, carrying one of the most famous of all “Gifts of the Magi", frankincense. Among the best-known plants referenced in scripture, this unassuming plant (Boswellia sacra) can, indeed, be propagated and grown right here in Arizona. Be here Saturday to meet Mesa resident and Bible scholar David Oberpriller and join him for a relaxed, slow-paced walk through gardens that are all easily accessible for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Participants will learn about frankincense and its use in Biblical times and how to propagate and care for these rare and “Unusual” plants (the theme of this month’s walk) during BTA's recurring Plants of the Bible Lands walk. Expect to learn some new things about history, scripture and biblical botany during the guided walk. Can't join us Saturday but are intrigued by this walking tour? David’s other Plants of the Bible Lands walks recur on the 3rd Saturday each month this winter at 1:30pm. Mark your calendar for January (“Food” plants) and February (“Trees”). See more photos, connect with Dave and read more about palms, figs, pomegranates and more by visiting Boyce Thompson's Facebook page

December 18: Sunday Tree Tour with Jeff Payne

1:30pm. Silviculturally-speaking - and since an Arboretum is by definition a living collection of trees - what guided tour could be more fitting here than a once-a-month "Trees of BTA" guided walk? We invite those who love all things sylvan and want to learn more about trees to be here for a relaxed, slow-paced afternoon tour guided by certified arborist and Arboretum staff Horticultural Specialist Jeff Payne. Here's your chance to learn about trees both native to the Sonoran Desert and exotic, with a skilled professional's tips on tree care and horticulture. To confirm event times and to read more, please visit cals.arizona.edu.

December 31: New 'Photo Walk' for Beginners on New Year's Eve Saturday

10:00am. Valley artist MiMi Paris has photographed landscapes and people from Arizona to the Mediterranean, and she’s kicking-off the New Year as host of a new photography walkabout at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The venue is outdoors and informal, and the goal is to share a few basic camera lessons while photographing the gardens. Her walking tour will include time for participants to learn basic camera functions ranging from aperture and exposure to white balance. In addition, participants will be able to get their specific questions answered in a supportive environment - a small group with a friendly camera coach whose goal is to put the fun in camera functions, and eliminate aspects of photography that can be intimidating to beginners. There's no additional charge to attend; as with most Arboretum nature walks, MiMi's new photography walk is included with daily admission of $10, or free to BTA annual members. Spaces are limited, though; MiMi asks that participants RSVP by email to mimi.paris@gmail.com or call at (480) 319-2229 so her group can be contained to a manageable dozen participants. Anyone on her waiting list will be among the first invited to her walks in February, March and April. See more of her work at mimiphotography.com

December 31: New Year's Weekend Geology Guided Hike

1:30pm. Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with a team of professional geologists: Rich Leveille and Phil St. George as your guides for a lively 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. This tour repeats Jan. 28, Saturday, with Scott McFadden as our guide.

January 2: Monday Weekly Guided Walk with Clyde (repeats Jan. 9, 16, 23, and 30)

11:00am. Tour guide Clyde has earned applause for his lively Monday tours that narrate Arboretum history, plants, resident critters, scenic views and geology. Join Clyde any Monday this month on his guided walk around the 1.5 miles main trail. Meet in the visitor center at 11:00am. Tour is included with daily admission. Free to BTA annual members and free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. To confirm event times and to read more, visit us online at cals.arizona.edu.

January 7: Thunder Gourd Workshop (repeats March 4)

10:00am. Make your own 'thunder gourd' from a groud fitted with a synthetic drum head and spring that makes a dramatic, hypnotic, rumbling thunder-like noise when shaken. Gourd artists Gerald and Vicki Johnson suggest that potential enrollees should already have taken their "Intro to Gourd Art" workshop prior to this class to learn basics, but it is not required. A cleaned and cut gourd, plus all materials needed are provided and students will leave class with a completed project. Enrollment is $55 for Arboretum annual members and Az State Parks pass-holders, or $65 for all others (which includes $10 daily admission to the Arboretum gardens and trails). Enroll by phone during daytime business hours by calling (520) 689-2723.

January 7: Main Trail Guided Walk with Jim - and a Taste of 'Desert Edibles'

11:00am. You’ll see prickly pear cacti, mesquite trees and other desert plants on this guided walk with Jim Shepherd; what’s more – you’ll have a chance to taste a few ‘desert edible’ samples of prickly pear jelly, nopalitos, mesquite flour, and agave nectar. Jim shares a synopsis of Arboretum history and shows visitors where to find colorful plants and birds on his guided walking tours of 1.5 mile main trail – a tour that encompasses Arboretum history, plants, resident critters and geology. Main Trail guided walks depart from the visitor center at 11:00 am and are included with daily admission $10 -- free to BTA annual members, and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. To confirm event times and to read more, visit us online at cals.arizona.edu.

January 7 - 8: Picket Post Mansion Tour

Mark your calendar and don't miss these rare opportunities to walk through Colonel William Boyce Thompson's venerable mansion perched on volcanic cliffs overlooking his namesake Arboretum. Visitors are required to pay daily park admission of $10 each to enter the Arboretum grounds ($5 for ages 5-12) and walk the half-mile main trail to reach the mansion gate; mansion tour tickets cost an additional $20 each, and money raised during these special weekends of mansion tours helps support our ongoing mission at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. Of course, AZ State Parks pass-holders just pay the $20 mansion tour fee. The Arboretum opens at 8:00 a.m. during Fall and Winter months; the mansion will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Carry some cash for lunch onsite, the local Optimists Club will have grilled burgers and hotdogs for sale outside the mansion. Buy tour tickets in the Arboretum gift shop when you arrive - tickets are not sold in advance. For a sneak preview of whats inside, check out the gallery Patsy Akers posted online after 2011, when tours were last offered - find the link at cals.arizona.edu.

January 8: Intro to Gourd Art Basic Workshop (repeats Feb. 4 and Mar. 5)

10:00am. Intended for beginners and also repeat students who want to improve their skills, this class covers basics of gourd art including how to clean and prepare gourds, choosing and drawing a design, wood burning and applying color. A cleaned gourd and all materials are provided, and most students leave with a completed project. Enrollment is $40 for Arboretum annual members and Az State Parks pass-holders, or $50 for all others (which includes $10 daily admission to the Arboretum gardens and trails). Enroll by phone during daytime business hours by calling (520) 689-2723.

January 9: Monday Weekly Guided Walk with Clyde (repeats Jan 16, 23, and 30)

11:00am. Tour guide Clyde has earned applause for his lively Monday tours that narrate Arboretum history, plants, resident critters, scenic views and geology. Join Clyde any Monday this month on his guided walk around the 1.5 mile main trail. Tour meets in the visitor center and is included with the cost of admission. Free to BTA annual members, and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. To confirm event times and to read more, visit us online at cals.arizona.edu/bta/

January 14: Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Sonoran Desert Guided Walk with Dave Morris

1:30pm. Walk the Curandero Trail on a slow-paced tour guided by an ethno-botanist and member of the Choctaw nation Dave Morris, explaining ways prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves and jojobas have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. ** Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. To confirm event times and to read more, visit us online at cals.arizona.edu/bta/

January 15: Sunday Tree Tour with Jeff Payne

1:30pm. Silviculturally-speaking - and since an Arboretum is by definition a living collection of trees - what guided tour could be more fitting here than a once-a-month "Trees of BTA" guided walk? We invite those who love all things sylvan and want to learn more about trees to be here for a relaxed, slow-paced afternoon tour guided by certified arborist and Arboretum staff Horticultural Specialist Jeff Payne. Here's your chance to learn about trees both native to the Sonoran Desert and exotic, with a skilled professional's tips on tree care and horticulture. To confirm event times and to read more, visit us online at cals.arizona.edu/bta/

January 21: Main Trail Guided Walking Tour - With a Taste of 'Desert Edibles'

11:00pm. Learn to identify prickly pear cacti, mesquite and other desert plants on a guided walk with Jim Shepherd, and have a chance to taste a few ‘desert edibles’ such as prickly pear jelly and nopalitos, mesquite flour, and agave nectar. Jim narrate Arboretum history and shows visitors where to find colorful plants and birds on his guided walking tours of 1.5 mile main trail – a tour that encompasses Arboretum history, plants, resident critters and geology. Main Trail Tours depart from the visitor center at 11:00 am and are included with daily admission fee. Free to BTA annual members, and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. To confirm event times and to read more, visit us online at cals.arizona.edu/bta/

January 21: Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk

1:30pm. 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 tour guide Dave Oberpriller leads this tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. Citing references from ancient texts, Dave describes 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. Dave’s tour moves at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. Check out the Plants of the Bible Lands Facebook page to learn more.

January 28: Saturday Geology Guided Walk

1:30pm. Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with professional geologist Scott McFadden as your guide for a lively 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. To confirm event times and to read more, visit us online at cals.arizona.edu/bta/


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