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

Click icons for more info

511 Speed Code

511 logo

Park's Speed Code: 4202#

Fees

Park Entrance Fees:
Adult (13+): $12.50
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

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 more Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park events on the 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

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 14: Smartphone Photography with Lisa Langell

12pm - 4pm. Love taking pictures on your smartphone? If you're only using basic ‘auto’ settings, you'll be amazed to learn the many controls from time-lapse and portrait modes to panoramas; creative compositions, journalistic photographs, the artistic technique known as "bokeh" and more. There are even post-processing techniques available for your camera-phone that will make your photos even more beautiful, edits that you can complete right on your phone! $40 for Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park annual members and State Parks Pass-holders. Please note that non-members pay daily admission $12.50 separate from the class enrollment. To read more or enroll 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 22: Intro to Photography Walk with MiMi Paris (repeats Feb. 11)

10am. Valley artist MiMi Paris has photographed landscapes and people from Arizona to the Mediterranean, criss-crossing America, west to east and north to south exploring National Parks, urban landscapes and making amazing portraits. 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." RSVP by email to MiMi for the photo walkabout January 22, or a special Valentine-themed day February 11. Visit cals.arizona.edu/bta/ to RSVP.

January 22: 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. A special Curandero Trail walk guided by ethno-botanist and Choctaw Tribal Nation member Dave Morris will be Saturday, February 11. ** Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Confirm event details or read more at cals.arizona.edu/bta.

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/

January 29: Guided Bird Walk (repeats Feb. 4, 12, 18 and 26)

8:30am. Bright red resident Northern Cardinals are among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens here every week. Find recent bird checklist reports at our bird sighting site, and see winter birds on guided birdwalks at 8:30 a.m. Saturday Jan. 29 guided by Cindy West & Kathe Anderson, or continuing Feb. 4 with Marceline VandeWater, Feb. 12 with Troy Corman, Feb. 18 with Kathe Anderson and Feb. 26 with Cathy Wise, Steven Prager and Charlie Babbitt.

February: Daily Guided Walk on the Main Trail

11:00am. Arizona State Parks volunteers narrate arboretum history and point out colorful plants and birds plus seasonal changes on guided walking tours. Our engaging tour guides 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 $12.50, free to BTA annual members, and also free if you have an Arizona State Parks pass. Confirm event times and read more at cals.arizona.edu/bta/.

February 4: Guided Bird Walk with Marceline VandeWater (repeats Feb. 12, 18 and 26)

11:00am. Bright red resident Northern Cardinals are among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens here every week – find recent bird checklist reports at cals.arizona.edu/bta, and see winter birds on guided birdwalks at 8:30 a.m., continuing Feb. 4 with Marceline VandeWater as your guide, then Feb. 12 with Troy Corman, Feb. 18 with Kathe Anderson – Feb. 26 with Cathy Wise, Steven Prager and Charlie Babbitt.

February 4: Intro-to-Groud-Art Basic Workshop

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 $12.50 daily admission to the Arboretum gardens and trails). Enroll by phone during daytime business hours by calling (520) 689-2723. And keep an eye out for our specialized gourd class in ‘pine needle weaving’ on April 9. Confirm event times and read more at cals.arizona.edu/bta/.

February 4: 'Fruits of Your Labor' Gardening Workshop with Pinal Master Gardeners

11:00am. Green-thumbed volunteers with Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master program resume their informal series of Saturday morning once-a-month outdoor workshops – no additional fee to attend, and no pre-registrration needed, they’re included with $12.50 daily admission (free to BTA annual members and also State Parks Pass-holders). Ever since humans domesticated 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.’ On March 4 the topic will be ‘Out Of Africa’, and then April 1 is ‘Going Vertical.’ For more information about our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email caparrott21@hotmail.com

February 5: Gourd Rain Sticks Workshop

10:00am. Create the sound of rain with a gourd, chicken wire and rice! Students will be provided a clean prepared gourd and all materials. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art to learn the basics before taking this class, but it is not required. Students will leave with a completed project. 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 daily admission to the Arboretum gardens and trails). Enroll by phone during daytime business hours – call (520)689-2723. More gourd classes include ‘Thunder Gourds’ March 4 and intro-to-basic-gourd-art March 5, plus a specialized gourd class in ‘pine needle weaving’ April 9. Confirm event times and read more at cals.arizona.edu/bta/.

February 11: "Heart-Ography" Valentine's Day Photography with Mimi Paris

10:00am. Spaces are limited so RSVP by email or phone to Mimi (contact her below). Valley artist Mimi Paris has photographed landscapes and people from Arizona to the Mediterranean, criss-crossing America, west to east and north to south exploring National Parks, urban landscapes and making amazing portraits. She made a New Year’s resolution to volunteer at the Arboretum and host a new photography walkabout each month – and her Valentines Weekend theme is ‘Heart-Ography’ and her walk will seek out heart-shaped cactus pads and other aortic designs around our gardens. 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." Read more and RSVP by Email or Phone. cals.arizona.edu/bta/.

February 11: Carla Keaton "Paint and Wine" Class

12:30pm. Try your hand at art, with an optional glass of wine to help nudge creativity, Carla Keaton hosts "Paint and Wine" events she describes as “loads of fun -- and Arboretum participants will learn to paint very simplified scenes from the arboretum, taking home with them a piece of memorabilia of their experiences in the lovely gardens.” Enrollment $35 - $45 includes art supplies to use during the session, plus two hours of coaching from Carla. Signup by phone; have a credit card ready and call Arboretum staff during daytime 6:30-2:30 business hours at 520.689.2723. Find Carla on Fb, or call (480) 228-1500, or email keatonfinearts@gmail.com.

February 11: 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. Confirm event times and read more at cals.arizona.edu/bta/.

February 12: Guided Bird Walk with Troy Corman (more guided walks on Feb. 18 and 26)

8:30am. Bright red resident Northern Cardinals are among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens here every week – find recent bird checklist reports at cals.arizona.edu/bta, and see winter birds on guided birdwalks at 8:30 a.m., continuing Feb. 18 with Kathe Anderson – Feb. 26 with Cathy Wise, Steven Prager and Charlie Babbitt.

February 18: Guided Bird Walk with Kathe Anderson (more guided walks on Feb. 26 and Mar. 4)

8:30am. Bright red resident Northern Cardinals are among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens here every week – find recent bird checklist reports at cals.arizona.edu/bta, and see winter birds on guided birdwalks at 8:30 a.m., continuing Feb. 26 with Cathy Wise, Steven Prager and Charlie Babbitt.

February 18: Plants of the Bible Lands Guided Walk with Dave Oberpriller

1:30pm. Mesa resident and Bible scholar David Oberpriller alternates a trio of themed tours that explore ‘Plants of the Bible Lands’ each month: Dave’s February topic is Trees. March brings a chance to learn about frankincense on Dave’s ‘Unusual plants’ outing, and then April will be ‘Food plants’. Expect to learn some new things, too, about history, scripture and biblical botany during this relaxed, slow-paced walk through gardens that are all easily accessible for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Can't join us Saturday, but you're 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. See photos, connect with Dave and read more about palms, figs, pomegranates and more: Plants of the Bible Lands on Facebook.

February 19: 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. Confirm weekend tours and events: cals.arizona.edu/bta.

February 25: Geology Walking Tour Guided by Rich Leveille

1:30pm. Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a tour with Professional geologist Rich Leveille 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. Confirm weekend tours and events or read brief biographies of engaging BTA geology tour guides at cals.arizona.edu/bta.

February 26: 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 and 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. A special Curandero Trail walk guided by Jim Shepherd will be Saturday, March 11. **Please note: this guided tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Confirm event times and read more cals.arizona.edu/bta.


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