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Enjoy a full range of educational classes and programs for learners of all ages!
Travel and Adventure
The Garden offers guided travel and adventure suited to a wide variety of interests and schedules. Hike riparian habitats and mountains of southwest Arizona or enjoy the summer exploring cooler climate areas. Watch the sun rise or set as you float along the Salt River. Marvel at thousands of cranes on one of our bird-watching tours. Expand your travel portfolio and learn from experts in the field. Watch feature locations come alive when paired with our rich and diverse programming.

Saguaro Lake Kayak Trip
Regular Price: $156.00
Member Price: $125.00
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Friday / Sept. 15 / 6 - 8:30 a.m.

Join us for a morning of inflatable kayaking on Saguaro Lake. This scenic desert reservoir provides habitat for many important species of wildlife such as bald eagles, desert bighorn sheep, and numerous reptiles and amphibians. Launch kayaks from the Butcher Jones Recreation Site before the sun rises over the mountains. Then explore the shoreline and conclude the morning with a light breakfast onshore. Price includes light breakfast, two-person inflatable kayaks, life jackets, dry storage for personal items, water, snacks, safety equipment and a certified naturalist. Transportation is not provided. Participants must arrive at Saguaro Lake by 5:45 a.m. Limit 16.
Session Fall 2017: Fri, Sep 15, 2017 6:00AM - 8:30AM   (10 AVAIL)

Montezuma Castle and Well
Regular Price: $249.00
Member Price: $199.00
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Friday / Sept. 22 / 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Montezuma Castle, a towering 20-room dwelling carved into a limestone cliffside, tells the story of the innovative and hardy Sinagua people who once lived there. Join archaeologist Matt Guebard on a private tour of this ancient archaeological site and hear the history of the 14th century dwelling and the culture that created this significant monument. You also will be guided to Montezuma Well, a separate archaeological site. Montezuma Well is a natural limestone sinkhole and supports a variety of unique species not found anywhere else in the world. Guebard will share with you the current science and research taking place today at Montezuma Castle and Well. The hike to Montezuma Castle is approximately one-quarter mile on an easy, paved trail. The hike to Montezuma Well has a series of stairs to climb. Price includes round-trip transportation from the Garden, entrance fees and lunch. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 7:30 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m. Limit 14.
Session Fall 2017: Fri, Sep 22, 2017 7:30AM - 4:30PM   OPEN

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights and Cactus Tour
Regular Price: $44.00
Member Price: $35.00
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Thursday / Sept. 28 / 9 - 11 a.m.

The Tovrea Castle garden contains more than 5,000 cacti of more than 100 varieties. Docents from the Tovrea Carraro Society will lead the tour of the castle main floor and basement, and an expert from the Garden will lead a private cactus garden tour. This is a walking tour. Participants must wear closed-toe shoes and be able to walk unaided over possibly loose and uneven footing. Transportation is not provided. Limit 30.
Session Fall 2017: Thu, Sep 28, 2017 9:00AM - 11:00AM   WAIT LIST

Japanese Friendship Garden Tour and Tea Ceremony
Regular Price: $86.00
Member Price: $69.00
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Visit the tranquil Phoenix Japanese Friendship Garden for a specially arranged private garden tour and authentic tea ceremony. This beautiful garden, designed by landscape architects from Japan, features more than 1,500 tons of hand-selected stone, footbridges, more than 50 varieties of plants, flowing streams and waterfalls. Price includes garden walking tour, private tea ceremony and hand-picked confectioneries from Kyoto, Japan. Transportation is not provided. Participants should arrive at the Phoenix Japanese Friendship Garden by 9:45 a.m. Limit 12.

Sonoran Sky Tour
Regular Price: $749.00
Member Price: $599.00
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EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Register for Sonoran Sky Tour by Labor Day and receive an exclusive 10% discount!

Sonoran Sky Tour
Saturday and Sunday / Oct. 21 & 22

Look to the vast Sonoran Desert skies for an exciting weekend exploring our stars and planets. Visit the world's largest collection of optical telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory and step into the shoes of an astronomer using a 32-inch Schulman (the largest publicly available telescope for night observation) to observe visible stars and planets after dark at Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter. This overnight journey is sure to spark your imagination and understanding of astronomical science. Join us for this out-of-this-world experience! Participants must be able to walk at least a quarter-mile at high elevations. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 11 a.m. Limit 16.

Two-day trip includes:
  • Round-trip transportation from the Garden
  • Professional guide services
  • Mount Lemmon Sky Center and Kitt Peak Observatory private tours
  • Lodging
  • Dinner on Saturday
  • Breakfast and lunch on Sunday
  • Snacks
Not included:
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses
Session Fall 2017: Sat, Oct 21, 2017 - Sun, Oct 22, 2017 11:00AM - 4:00PM   WAIT LIST

Hohokam and Romero Ranch Archaeology
Regular Price: $249.00
Member Price: $199.00
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Saturday / Oct. 28 / 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Situated at Catalina State Park just north of Tucson, Romero Ruins is a multifaceted archaeological site with both a Hohokam village dating back from 500 AD to 1450 and the remnants of Francisco Romero's ranch from the 1850s. You will be led on a private archaeological tour with park ranger Jack McCabe, who will discuss the history and lore of this historical site. Price includes round-trip transportation from the Garden, expert guide and educational programming, entrance fees and picnic lunch. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 8 a.m. and returns by 3 p.m. Limit 14.
Session Fall 2017: Sat, Oct 28, 2017 8:00AM - 3:00PM   OPEN

Archaeological Investigations
Regular Price: $311.00
Member Price: $249.00
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Friday / Nov. 3 / 6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Join archaeologist Allen Dart on a private tour to two of Tucson's premier archaeological sites. Visit the Signal Hill petroglyphs situated in the beautiful Saguaro National Park West. See dramatic petroglyphs on the south face of the hill with animal and human shapes and many geometric figures. Then visit Picture Rocks, where ancient petroglyphs include a solstice and equinox calendar marker and symbols made by the Hohokam between AD 650 and 1450. Dart will discuss the history of this important site and the cultural significance of the Hohokam people. This hike is approximately one-mile-long with minimal elevation change, but does have a slope staircase that may be moderately difficult. Participants must be able to walk unaided over loose rock and uneven surfaces. Price includes roundtrip transportation from the Garden, entrance fees, expert guide and educational programming and picnic lunch. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 6:30 a.m. and returns by 4:30 p.m. Limit 14.
Session Fall 2017: Fri, Nov 3, 2017 6:30AM - 4:30PM   (8 AVAIL)

Urban Farm Tour
Regular Price: $180.00
Member Price: $144.00
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Saturday / Nov. 18 / 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Urban farming is becoming more popular as people strive to create an edible landscape. Visit several established and local urban farmers with a behind-the-scenes look on their interpretation and use of space to design an urban garden in the Sonoran Desert. Price includes roundtrip transportation from the Garden, expert guides and educational programming and picnic lunch. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 7:30 a.m. and returns at 2 p.m. Limit 14.
Session Fall 2017: Sat, Nov 18, 2017 7:30AM - 2:00PM   (9 AVAIL)

Aravaipa Canyon Field Trip
Regular Price: $274.00
Member Price: $219.00
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Friday / Dec. 1 / 5:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Explore the mysterious Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness in a hike along the Aravaipa Creek. Jack Gilcrest leads the hike as he identifies and interprets plant and animal life in this forested habitat. Price includes roundtrip transportation, entrance fees, expert guides and educational programming, and lunch. Although suitable for most hikers, this is a four-mile hike with uneven footing and wading in shallow water for short distances. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 5:30 a.m. and returns at 6 p.m. Limit 8.

Day trip includes:
  • Entrance fee to wilderness area
  • Expert guides and educational programming
  • Lunch
Session Fall 2017: Fri, Dec 1, 2017 5:30AM - 6:00PM   (3 AVAIL)

Willcox Weekend: Cranes, Wine and Archeology
Regular Price: $749.00
Member Price: $599.00
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Early Bird Special: Register for Willcox Weekend: Cranes, Wine and Archeology by Labor Day and receive an exclusive 10% discount!

Willcox Weekend: Cranes, Wine and Archeology
Friday - Sunday / Jan. 26 - 28
Arrive Friday at 2 p.m. / Depart Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

Each winter thousands of sandhill cranes gather in the Sulphur Springs Valley of southeastern Arizona. Watch these majestic birds fly in to their midday resting area-one of nature's greatest wildlife spectacles. Wine tasting at a local vineyard is included as well as a private tour of the Amerind Museum in Dragoon, dedicated to Native American cultures and histories. Explore the Rex Allen Museum, dedicated to the last singing cowboy of Western movie fame with a local guide. Prominent author and naturalist Lynn Hassler, and Carlos Oldham, Garden docent and former president of the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon, lead this weekend trip. Limit 7.

Three-day trip includes:
  • Lodging and breakfast at Willcox Holiday Inn Express
  • Lunch on Saturday
  • Dinner on Friday and Saturday
  • Professional guide services
  • Transportation for all group activities
  • Amerind Museum and Rex Allen Museum private tours
  • Wine tasting
  • Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
Not included:
  • Transportation to and from Willcox
Session Winter 2018: Fri, Jan 26, 2018 - Sun, Jan 28, 2018 2:00PM - 11:30AM   WAIT LIST


Travel and Adventure program registration may be canceled up to two weeks prior to the start date minus 30% of the registration cost. If you are unable to attend a class/workshop, you may transfer your registration to an alternate participant with your confirmation. Desert Botanical Garden reserves the right to cancel programs at its discretion. Programs will run as scheduled, regardless of weather, unless participants are contacted directly by Garden staff either by phone or email. Please contact or call 480 481.8146 (Option 2) for cancellations and refunds.