Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Boyce Thompson Arboretum opened in 1920. Then, it became affiliated with the Arizona State Park system and University of Arizona in 1976. The oldest botanical garden in Arizona features eight different areas which each type of plants are located as well as trails and picnic area. It includes The Smith Interpretive Center, The Heritage Rose Garden, The Cactus Garden, The Demonstration Garden, Ayer Lake, The Magma Ridge, The Herb Garden and The Eucalyptus Forest.
The Smith Interpretive Center served as the visitor’s center before the present building was built. The center is listed in the National Register of Historic Places where two greenhouses are attached highlighting the plants and the cacti. The Heritage Rose Garden features a collection of Heritage, Old Garden and Antique Roses as well as The Yellow Rose of Texas and Tombstone Rose. The scent of flowers brings relaxation to the visitors making this area a place for resting.
Western Hemisphere’s cacti are collected and planted in the three-acre area, The Cactus Garden. The Demonstration Garden is smaller by half acre compared to The Cactus Garden. This area features different plants in a functional landscape, walk ways, vine arbors, trickling waters and shade structures. The area also educates the guests about plant selection and landscape design through its interpretive signs.
The Ayer Lake serves as the irrigation man-made reservoir which has the species of Desert Pupfish and Gila Topminnow. The Magma Ridge is a large rocky outcrop which provides the views of Picketpost House and Queen Creek’s riparian rehabilitation area. The Herb Garden features native herb plantings as well as those that come from southern Europe. The herbs include the one used in cooking, medicine, insect repellants and cosmetics. The Eucalyptus Forest boasts the country’s oldest eucalyptus trees.
Apart from the 3,200 variety of desert plants, different animal species are also seen including ground squirrel, lizard, bird and terrestrial species. Birds can be seen through the trail walks as these are the perfect place for bird watching. The trail walk is wheelchair accessible and the Arboretum offers loaner wheelchair for reservation.
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is one of the tourist destinations in Arizona where you can purchase different variety of plants as well as see the beauty of nature in four different seasons.