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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.

Sonoran Sky Tour
Regular Price: $800.00
Member Price: $699.00
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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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This program has been CANCELED. Please contact for more information.

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   CLOSED

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   (6 AVAIL)

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.

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   WAIT LIST

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights and Cactus Tour
Regular Price: $44.00
Member Price: $35.00
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Thursday / Jan. 18 / 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, long pants and be able to walk unaided over possibly loose and uneven footing. Transportation is not provided. Limit 30.
Session Winter 2017-2018: Thu, Jan 18, 2018 9:00AM - 11:00AM   COMING SOON

Willcox Weekend: Cranes, Wine and Archeology
Regular Price: $749.00
Member Price: $599.00
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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

Birding Hotspot: Hassayampa River
Regular Price: $249.00
Member Price: $199.00
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Saturday / Feb. 3 / 7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The Nature Conservancy's Hassayampa River Preserve, just south of Wickenberg, is a desert oasis. Towering cottonwoods shade the trails, making even a summer visit a pleasant retreat from the heat. Timed to take advantage of seeing wintering waterfowl, songbirds such as American robins, spotted towhees and various sparrows. Common desert species including woodpeckers, towhees, hummingbirds and raptors, should also make appearances. Price includes round-trip transportation from the Garden, entrance fee and lunch. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 6:30 a.m. and returns at 1:30 p.m. Students are encouraged to bring binoculars. Instructed by Kathe Anderson. Limit 10.
Session Winter 2017-2018: Sat, Feb 3, 2018 7:00AM - 2:30PM   COMING SOON

Cienega Creek Natural Preserve and Colossal Cave
Regular Price: $311.00
Member Price: $249.00
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Friday / Feb. 9 / 7 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Combine the beauty of the lush riparian Cienega Creek Natural Preserve and the stunning Colossal Cave for a sensational adventure! You will explore one of the pristine riparian areas in southern Arizona, where breathtaking and unforgettable views await. Then we will visit Colossal Cave Mountain Park known for its beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites. On this private tour, your guide will share information on the cave's history, legends and geology as you walk up and down six and a half stories of the magnificent Colossal Cave. Price includes round-trip transportation from the Garden, expert guides, entrance fees and picnic lunch. Limit 12.
Session Winter 2017-2018: Fri, Feb 9, 2018 7:00AM - 7:30PM   COMING SOON

Taste of Arizona: Page Springs
Regular Price: $411.00
Member Price: $329.00
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Friday / Feb. 23 / 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Travel with us to explore Arizona's booming wine industry in the Verde Valley. Enjoy a day of tasting award-winning wines at Page Springs Cellars while exploring their vineyards. Get a glimpse of the types of grapes grown and farming practices. A private lunch awaits in their vineyard where the menu highlights gourmet food preparation. Transportation from the Garden departs promptly at 8 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m. Limit 12.

Day-trip includes:
  • Round-trip transportation from the Garden
  • Lunch
  • Private tour
  • Wine tasting
  • Bottled water and snacks
Not included:
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities
  • Dinner
Session Winter 2017-2018: Fri, Feb 23, 2018 8:00AM - 4:00PM   COMING SOON

Early Bird- Chiricahua Mountains
Regular Price: $999.00
Member Price: $799.00
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EARLY BIRD RATE: Register by the New Year and receive a 10 percent discount!

Thursday - Saturday / Apr. 12 - 14
Members: $879 / General Public: $1099

Join scientists from across the globe in the "Galapagos of North America" a fascinating wonderland of soaring peaks and riparian forests. One of the top birding places in the U.S. and home to the brilliantly colored Elegant Trogon, the Chiricahua Mountains will mesmerize you with hidden secrets designed for the Garden. Get to experience life as a naturalist as you stay and learn at the American Museum of Natural History, Southwestern Research Station. Participants must be able to walk at least two miles with moderate grade changes and uneven terrain.

Three-day trip includes:
  • Roundtrip transportation from the Garden
  • Certified naturalist guide
  • Lodging for two nights
  • All meals during the trip
Not included:
  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic beverages
Session Spring 2018: Thu, Apr 12, 2018 - Sat, Apr 14, 2018 7:00AM - 5:00PM   COMING SOON


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.