Home > Traveling > Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Introduction

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Introduction


Boyce Thompson was a school dropout who made it big on Wall Street and Arizona mining  in the 1920’s.  He fell in love with this area and built a winter house on 300+ acres.  After his death, this became an Arizona State Park, maintained in conjunction with the University of Arizona.  Now, it is the biggest Arboretum in the US, and host desert life from around the world.

There are different hikes through different vegetation.  There are zones for different world regions (Australia and Africa, for example) as well as plant types (herb gardens, Eucalyptus trees, legumes etc.).  There are hummingbird, dragonfly and butterfly areas, and much more.  I hope we can visit all of them while we are here.

We will be volunteering here for 6 weeks.  Our jobs will be to work in the visitor center, where we will collect money, pass out maps, and prove information to visitors.  In order to do this, we will be learning all about the area.  This is something we enjoy, and Romola and I are looking forward to learning about desert plants.

In any case, it will be quite a change from the Northwest!  So today, we took our first hike along the many trails through the Arboretum.  Below are some pictures showing our first impressions.  I’m sure many more blogs will follow with specifics about animal and plant life.

A choice parking spot on the Arboretum grounds.

Our first sunset in the Arboretum. Right from our motorhome door!

A view from the parking lot

Prickly pear cacti are in abundance

This may be the desert, but there is lots of color

Cactus of all kinds

Even green plants can have color

A Boojum tree, this one is young....

And this is a full grown Boojum tree.

Ayer lake, water source for the Arboretum

Looking down into Queens Valley

We are in the desert, and these signs are for real....

Not a rattler, but we gave this 6ft Racer Snake a wide berth

Desert plant life

  1. September 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    John, when you get the chance, could you ask them if they use solo volunteers? Since Kirk and Pam volunteered there, it has been in the back of my mind. I will certainly enjoy your posts over the next six weeks. Thanks. 🙂

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