To discover the intricate beauty of Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden, take a hike at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park where you’ll find nearly three miles of paths and trails winding through fragrant gardens, a wooded area and desert lake. Take informative hikes, learn to brew your own beer and join other dog owners on special dog days in the park.
An eye-opening oasis on the way to the mining town of Superior, Boyce Thompson features an unending array of desert plants, towering trees, sheer mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, panoramic vistas and many natural habitats with varied wildlife. Take the 360 degree virtual tour to get a better idea of what’s in store.
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. Today, the Arboretum is cooperatively managed by The Arizona State Parks Board and the University of Arizona.
Volunteer-Led Nature Tours
During the month of December, there are lots of reasons to visit Boyce Thompson. Autumn foliage should continue through the second weekend of December including the bright-red Chinese pistachio trees, and every Friday-Saturday- Sunday (except December 25) they offer guided walking tours at 11:00 a.m. These and other weekend nature walk and events are included with daily admission of $9 for adults and $4.50 for ages 5-12.
Boyce’s Beer – New Homebrewing Class December 17 – 1:00-4:30 PM — $20 members, $29 nonmembers
Learn how to make a batch of home-brewed ‘Boyce’s Beer’ with Chandler residents Pete and Greg Rendek in an afternoon workshop where you will learn to brew a five-gallon batch of prickly pear IPA. Pete has been home-brewing for several years with his son Greg, and they have made a variety of tasty ales, porters, weissbiers — and, most recently, a great prickly pear IPA using juice from arboretum fruits. Class participants are invited to get to taste a sample of a completed batch and participate in the creation of a new batch of beer using ‘the fruit of the desert.’ It’s a great opportunity to arrive early and stroll the gardens before the class and also enjoy lunch in nearby Superior. Call 520-689-2723 to prepay and reserve a spot.
Dog Socialization Walk – Sunday December 18 – start time 10:30 a.m.
To expose your furry friend to a great hike join the other pet owners at the Arboretum where dogs are welcome, provided they’re on good behavior and a short leash. Arboretum volunteer Sandra and her canine compadre Chaco guide a dog socialization walk on this date and other dates throughout 2012.
As a visitor, you will learn the history of the bell hanging over the entrance to the Smith Building and discover why the Arboretum doesn’t have He-oaks to accompany the She-oaks. It’s a fantasy land that offers endless opportunities to soak up all you can about the plants, animals and natural history of the area. Call 520-689-2723 for foliage updates, and see visitors’ photos of the display at facebook.com/boycethompsonarboretum.
The arboretum is 55 miles east of central Phoenix on U.S. 60. It’s open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is $9, $4.50 for ages 5-12.