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Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park boasts the oldest and largest botanical gardens in Arizona and one of the oldest west of the Mississippi. Best of all, it’s only about an hour’s drive from Phoenix.  It makes a great stop on your Arizona vacation and below are three reasons why.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park Video
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Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
Top 3 Reasons to Visit

1 | Sonoran Desert Beauty

The park is simply gorgeous. Located in the Sonoran Desert east of Phoenix, it’s a wonderland of desert beauty and vibrant colors beneath the towering peak of Picketpost Mountain.

The nearly 400 acres of the park are set among cacti, trees, plants and wildlife that are unique to the Sonoran Desert. The park boasts 2600 species of arid land plants from all over the world. One of the most popular areas of the park is its Eucalyptus grove, which has one of the US’s biggest trees, aptly named “Mr. Big.”

2 | Get an Education

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park offers a wealth of educational opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else in Arizona or outside the state. These walks, talks and tours are extremely popular with visitors. Not only can you see all the park has to offer up-close, you can also learn about the flora and fauna from experts in their fields.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park Suspension Bridge

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park Suspension Bridge

Popular educational programs include a geological walking tour where you can see all of the unique rock formations and lava rocks formed over the last two billion years; a butterfly walk that allows you to see the incredible array of colorful butterflies in the park; the Lizard Walk, which is especially popular with kids due to the many interesting reptiles and the entertaining presentation by “Wild Man Phil” Rakoci; an edible and medicinal plant tour where you can learn about the plants that have healed, fed and clothed the area’s people for centuries; and much more.

3 | Explore on Your Own

You can enjoy the educational programs, or set off to learn about the Sonoran Desert on your own. There are well-maintained and easy-to-hike trails all over Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. The trails offer learning opportunities, plenty of shade, and astounding views of the park’s many habitats. Hiking the trails, you can see desert flora and fauna from all over the world set amid the park’s rolling hills, hidden canyons, sheer cliffs, and panoramic vistas. It’s the perfect backdrop for connecting with nature.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
A Perfect Stop on Your Arizona Vacation

The mission of the park is not only to preserve and study the unique animal and plant life found throughout the world’s deserts, but also to instill in regular folks an appreciation of this habitat. All of the things to do at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park are there for you to enjoy and deepen your appreciation of the beauty of the desert.

Best of all, it’s only about an hour’s drive from Phoenix. This makes it easy to enjoy the things to do at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park anytime you’re enjoying other Arizona attractions. It’s the closest place to Phoenix where you can really get away from it all.

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