2017 CONVENTION TOURS - All Tours are on Thursday, July 27, 2017 (times vary)

Tour 1

7:00 AM

$55 The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix has been welcoming visitors since 1939. The DBG’s mission “to the community is to advance excellence in education, research, exhibition and conservation of desert plants of the world with emphasis on the Southwestern United States.” Learn how they are fulfilling this goal as you tour the garden with Scott McMahon, Cactaceae Collections Manager, who will guide you through unique trails featuring plants of the Sonoran Desert. A highlight of the visit will be the opportunity of see and learn about the new Horticultural Center, opening in 2017. Learn about the horticulture, research, and conservation work that will be done there. In addition, a visit to the Herbarium will give you a chance to cool down while getting an introduction to the importance of preserving plant specimens for research. There will be time to visit individual gardens on your own before returning to the hotel. You can take an arm chair tour of the garden to learn more by visiting their website, dbg.org.
Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Botanical Garden (4 hours) (includes breakfast bag)

Tour 2

7:00 AM

Cancelled For those looking for a walk on the cool side, a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum, is a chance to tour one of Phoenix’s newest and most delightful museums. Only six years old, the MIM is already rated the number one attraction in Phoenix by Trip Adviser reviewers. Come have fun while experiencing the musical traditions of other countries and cultures. This museum’s collections include galleries that focus on five major world regions and their music. In addition, there is a Mechanical Music Gallery for instruments that play by themselves, an Artist Gallery where you can see the instruments of famous artists including Johnny Cash, Elvis, and John Lennon. Try your hand at playing an instrument in the Experience Gallery and visit the Conservation Lab to observe techniques used in maintaining and preserving this valuable collection. Visit mim.org for a chance to see and hear what this remarkable museum is all about.
The Musical Instrument Museum
  Musical Instrument Museum (5 hours) (Lunch on your own at the museum)

Tour 3

7:00 AM

If you have ever wondered how Phoenix gardeners keep their plants growing in the triple digit heat of a desert summer, this is your chance to see how it’s done. CACSS members will show off their amazing collections of plants and share their secrets. Don’t miss your chance to see four of our finest show off their gardens. More detail will be available soon.
Private Garden Tour (5 hours) (includes breakfast and lunch bag)

Tour 4

7:00 AM


Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Biosphere 2 We will visit Boyce Thompson in the morning and then proceed to Biosphere 2, which is climate-controlled. The round trip is 240 miles through undeveloped Sonoran desert. Lunch will be provided. Boyce Thompson Arboretum Enjoy an early morning walk through the largest and oldest botanical garden in Arizona. Colonel William Boyce Thompson founded Boyce Thompson Arboretum (BTA) in 1927. Located in Superior, Arizona on 392 acres along Queen Creek, it is bordered on all sides by the Tonto National Forest and sits in the shadow of Picket Post Mountain. BTA is home to over 3200 desert plants from arid and semi-arid regions of the world, all displayed in a natural setting. In addition to the Sonoran Desert Collection you will find plants from Africa, South America, Asia and the Mediterranean.
Enjoy a walk through the Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, visit the Curandero Trail and admire the impressive sizes of the red-gum eucalyptus trees in the Eucalyptus Forest. Currently the Wallace Desert Gardens plant collection is being relocated to BTA where it will be installed in a newly developed area of the garden.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Biosphere 2
    Learn about this amazing and challenging relocation of thousands of valuable and extraordinary plants to their new home.
The University of Arizona Biosphere 2 consists of a unique large-scale experimental apparatus housing seven model ecosystems: 1) a mature rain forest with over 90 tropical tree species, 2) a million gallon ocean, 3) forested swamps dominated by mangrove trees, 4) a tropical savanna grassland, 5) a coastal fog desert, 6) three desert hill slope grass-scrubland landscapes, and 7) Biosphere 2, its campus, and associated buildings and facilities serve as a model city and urban ecosystem. The Biosphere 2 facility serves as a laboratory for controlled scientific studies, an arena for scientific discovery and discussion, and a far-reaching provider of public education. Its mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe. Plants, including arid lands plants, form a most important component of the interrelated biological systems. The mechanics of maintaining a series of climatologically isolated systems is fascinating for those interested in hardware. The under-the-glass walking tour of Biosphere 2 consists of approximately 150 stairs (up and down) and the route is just under one mile to walk round-trip.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Biosphere 2 (8 hours) (includes breakfast and lunch bag)

Tour 5

5:30 AM

Barnhardt Trail Hike

A hike on the Barnhardt Trail* is an opportunity for the most rugged and robust hikers looking for a challenge and an opportunity to see the rich diversity of plants in the Sonoran Desert. This will be a very early morning hike; travel to the site, which is about 15 miles south of Payson, AZ, will be by air-conditioned buses. Hikers will be divided into two groups of eight and escorted by hike leader Doug Dawson and other CACSS members familiar with the trail. If you are interested in this trip


Barnhardt Trail Hike
Barnhardt Trail Field Trip (8 hours) (includes breakfast and lunch bag)

*Barnhardt Trail Hike details

1. This is a rigorous hike of 5 or more hours, roundtrip.
2. This is a strenuous hike and only experienced, very fit hikers should attempt this.
3. Two groups of 8 will leave Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, one group at 5:15am, the other at 5:30am.
4. You will need the following supplies: hat, day pack, water (3 liters+), sunscreen (SPF 30+), snacks, small lunch, cameras. The CACSS will provide water, snacks and a box lunch.
5. The elevation change is about 1500 feet and temperatures will be warm.
6. We will hike along a trail cut precariously into the wall of a canyon; those with vertigo should not go.
7. The first half is all uphill with switchbacks; the second half backtracks the same trail downhill and back to the trailhead.
8. This trail is not for those with weak ankles or tender feet. The trail has unreliable footing, is quite rocky with many stones the size of a fist. Sturdy soled-shoes are required.
9 Elevation changes from 4200’ at the trailhead to 5700’ at our end point. Distance one way on the trail is 3.3 miles.
10. Temperature at start should be about 80 degrees. As we ascend, the higher elevations will be to our advantage on rising temperatures. When we finally get back down to 4200’ at the trailhead in the early afternoon, temps may have crept up to almost 100 degrees,
11. Along the trail we will see many cacti, succulents, other plants and unusual geology. Some genera along the trail: Agave, Echinocereus, Dudleya, Graptopetalum, Sedum, Lewisia, Dasylirion, bulbs, and other desert plants
12. Each group of 8 will be led by 2 members of the CACSS who will be there to help answer your questions.
13. If you are unsure about whether this trip is for you, call Doug Dawson at 480-893-1207.