What’s happening at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum?

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One of the treasures of the Copper Corridor is the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior.

The Arboretum is an Arizona State Park located at Highway 60 milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior, 55 miles due east of Phoenix. The drive takes about two hours from Tucson via Highway 79 north through Florence to Highway 60 – then turn right and continue east another 12 miles. Trails are wheelchair accessible. There is no restaurant at the Arboretum but sandwiches, drinks and snacks are available in the gift shop. Picnic tables and charcoal grills are available for visitors to use: propane and charcoal are allowed; wood fires are not.

The Arboretum has grown to include two miles of trails and into a place for children to learn and for all ages to appreciate the beauty and importance of desert ecosystems.

Spring flowers are at peak color – the park’s signature echinocereus, the Boyce Thompson Hedgehog Cactus named for BTA’s founder, is blooming now. April is the final month for guided daily walking tours of the Main Trail at 11 a.m., also the final month for daily hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Starting May 1 daily hours return to the 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. summer schedule.

May is a wonderful time to visit the Arboretum. Listed are several of the events that are scheduled for this month.

Arboretum History Walk May 4, Saturday, 10:00 a.m.

You may have walked their trails 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? Learn about the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum on a walking tour guided by Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee. Walks typically last about 90-minutes, departing at 10 a.m. from the Visitor Center breezeway.

Arboretum Book Club May 4, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.

Sarah Agnes Prine earned fame with this quote “a nice girl should never go anywhere without a loaded gun and a big knife” and other observations of life on the Arizona frontier that are chronicled in These is My Words, written by Nancy E. Turner. A popular title over the years at the surprisingly well-stocked gift shop at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, These is My Words is an iconic tale of Grand Canyon State history.

Fans of the book, and reading in general, will gather May 4 as the Arboretum launches a new book club for all who enjoy reading, history, and the Sonoran Desert.  

The book club will meet May 4 (Saturday) at 2:00 p.m. in the lecture room of the historic Smith Building; book club attendance is free if you’re a BTA member or hold an annual state parks pass; included with $9 daily admission for those who don’t. What does the future hold for this informal club of literature-lovers? Johnson hopes to arrange visits and readings by Arizona authors – and provide interesting refreshments (a jug of prickly pear lemonade is likely at the debut!) shared by participants. Want more info, or to RSVP as a book club attendee? Email Vicki at BTABookClub@msn.com, or call her at 480.688.3342.

May 4, Saturday, Concert with Jim Pipkin, 5-7 p.m.

Mesa performing songwriter Jim Pipkin helped create the Arboretum’s popular November live music festival and shares his talent at events such as the Superior historic home tour. May 4 he’ll perform original songs that breathe life into ballads about miners, outlaws and Arizona characters from Territorial days from 5-7 p.m. on the flagstone courtyard in front of the historic Smith Building; the concert’s free to BTA annual members and AZ State Parks pass-holders – and included with $9 admission for all others. Connect with Jim Preview a few of his original songs at http://www.jimpipkin.com.

May 11, Saturday, Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk, 8 a.m.

Authors Kurt and Cindy Radamaker are the special guest tour guides for the season debut of this guided outing for kids – and all who enjoy Arizona’s most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. Walks continue each month during the summer. Preview the outing – view this brief YouTube Lizard Walk video clip posted by Arboretum volunteer and videographer Mike Rolfe http://bit.ly/YEwJIi. This short film showcases the Arboretum’s special guest tour guide and shows you some of the scenes and gardens explored on this walk.

May 25, Saturday, Butterfly Guided Walk, 8:30 a.m.

Guided butterfly walks at 8:30 a.m. resume May 25, Saturday, with ASU Professor Ron Rutowski and Southwest Monarch Research coordinator Gail Morris here to lead the walk. Marceline Vandewater leads the next one July 27, and then Ron Rutowski and Gail Morris return as leaders August 24. Read about Central Arizona Butterfly Association events around the state with a visit to the website http://www.cazba.org. Marceline reported these early-season sightings April 14: Red Admiral, Texan Crescent, Pipevine Swallowtail, American Snout, Queen, Spring Azure, Sleepy Orange, Two-tailed Swallowtail, California Patch, Dainty Sulphur, Giant Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Elada Checkerspot and Common Buckeye Arboretum.

For more information about the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, please visit them online at http://bit.ly/15xsxBs or call them at 520-689-2811.

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