Spiders, scorpions at arboretum’s June 30 family night

Terry Stone with a spider. (Submitted photo)

Parents can bring their kids for a special after-hours family evening June 30 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum to learn fact from fiction about scorpions and spiders.

The special “creepy crawlies” evening is open to all, not just BTA annual members. Non-member signup is $20 for adults and $10 for ages 5-12. Arboretum annual members and Arizona state parks pass-holders pay a reduced enrollment of $7.50 and $5.

BTA will close as usual at 3 p.m. on Saturday before the event, reopening at 5 p.m. for pre-registered participants to arrive. To sign up and pre-pay by phone, all Lacey Pacheco at 520-689-2723 daily until 3 p.m.

Schedule of events

Events planned June 30 include:

  • Dinner. Bring an extra $4-$5 cash for a 5-6:30 p.m. hotdog or burger meal (includes chips, cookie and soda) in the picnic area. Funds raised help support the local junior- and senior-high honors banquet sponsored by the town of Superior’s Soroptimist Club.
  • Wildman Phil’s Water World Safari, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Children’s Learning Center, with a live animal exhibit featuring some of the world’s most notable water-loving creatures. Arizona’s own wildlife comedian, Wildman Phil, highlights unique characteristics of various riparian wildlife with a display both informative and entertaining, featuring hands-on demonstrations with toads, frogs, turtles – even an alligator.
  • University of Arizona insect collection, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Smith Building lobby. Is an insect a bug? What’s an arachnid? Entomologist Naomi Pier hosts a display of insects from the University of Arizona collection and will explain their adaptations.
  • Amazing Arachnids presentation with Jillian Cowles, 6-7 p.m. in the lecture room. During the past 400 million years arachnids have evolved an array of survival strategies. Scorpions kiss and dance, spitting spiders squirt silk and glue and vinegaroons spray almost pure acetic acid from their rear ends. Giant desert velvet mites obtain enough calories in two hours to last them for over a year. The southwestern U.S. is home to a rich diversity of fascinating arachnids. Among their ranks are the tough, the resourceful, the beautiful and the dangerous. Get to know these small neighbors that share our planet – sometimes even our homes. Ms. Cowles’ book “Amazing Arachnids” will be available for purchase in the gift shop during the event.
  • A UV light shows a scorpion. (Submitted photo)

    Scorpion Walk with the Scorpion Hunter and Friends, 8:30-9:30 p.m., meets in the Visitor’s Center. Search arboretum trails after dark for scuttling scorpions, which reflect an eerie greenish-yellow glow beneath UV light. Guides Kelly and Dixie, who own the Mesa-based scorpionhunter.com, will be joined by Wildman Phil and his son Arch, plus entomologists Warren Savary and Naomi Pier.

The arboretum is at 37615 Arboretum Way in Superior. Check the event pages at http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/events.html or recorded information (hours, directions, events, etc.) at 520-689-2811. Also check BTA on Facebook @btarboretum.

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