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8 Facts About Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Cheyenne Reed

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum is an oasis in the desert. It is located in the Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix. Here are 8 interesting facts about it.

1) Boyce Thompson Arboretum Was Founded by a Wealthy Miner

The lake at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
Flickr User Sandauph
Flickr User Sandauph

His name was Col. William Boyce Thompson, and he learned to appreciate plants while on a Red Cross mission in Russia. They can be used to create food, clothing, or shelter… just about anything! He founded the arboretum on April 1, 1924. It then opened to the public on April 6, 1929. 

2) Col. Thompson Decided to Use His Wealth For Good

A close up of a blue flower in the boyce thompson arboretum.
Photo by John Aho
John Aho

He wanted to educate others and increase plant resources. The arboretum is just one of his legacies!

3) It’s the Oldest & Largest Botanical Garden in Arizona

Flickr User George Rocheleau
Flickr User George Rocheleau

It covers a whopping 323 acres! You aren’t going to find a selection like this anywhere else.

4) Boyce Thompson Arboretum Was the First Botanical Institution

John Aho
John Aho

Since 1976, the Arizona State Parks Board and the University of Arizona have also helped care for the arboretum.

5) It’s Located About 55 Miles East of Phoenix

Flickr User Gary Minniss
Flickr User Gary Minniss

It isn’t too difficult to work a visit into your travels. Or why not make a special trip?

6) There Are 2 Miles of Trails to Explore

6 Flickr User Jaime Glasser

They’ve got a demonstration garden, a gift shop, a picnic area, and some charcoal grills as well! Plenty of space for a picturesque lunch!

7) You Can See a Tremendous Variety of Plants

Flickr User daisyjetstar
Flickr User daisyjetstar

Queen Creek ensures that the area stays lush and beautiful, so you’ll have the opportunity to see desert plants, trees, and tons of wildflowers like gold poppies, red flax, and verbena. You’ll also see the many types of cacti; In the late spring you’ll catch them blooming, and in the summer they’ll bear fruit.

8) They Host a Ton of Fun Events

Flickr User Jaime Glasser
Flickr User Jaime Glasser

Schedules and offerings always vary, but they have a wide range of exciting events. They do bird walks, lizard walks, and butterfly walks. They’ce also got tree tours, geology tours, and medicinal plant tours.  They’re always creating new and unique events to help others enjoy and learn about nature!

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