connect: Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube Read about us on Trip Advisor

We have launched a new registration system!

You will have to create a new profile, or use the Member Login link and complete your information in order to sign up for a program.

Adult Classes and Trips

If you have any difficulty finding a class/trip that you are looking for or need assistance in completing your online registration, please contact the Reservations Coordinator at or 520/883-3025 Monday through Friday.

Registration Deadline

Registrations submitted after 3pm on Friday will not be processed until the following Monday.


For cancellations made more than 7 days in advance a full refund, less 25% administrative fee, will be given. No refunds can be made within 7 days of a class. For overnight tours a separate cancellation policy applies.

Sonoran Desert Naturalist Certificate

If you have considered taking our in-depth docent training program, but are not ready to commit the time, you may be interested in our new Sonoran Desert Naturalist Certificate program.

Prickly Pear Harvest
August 17th 2019 or August 25th 2019

August is the season that the beautiful red fruit of the prickly pear cactus ripens. Join us in harvesting this fruit, seeing demonstrations of how to render juice from it, and in preparing nopalitos, the tender prickly pear pads which have been a Mexican staple for over a millennia. We will learn about the cochineal insect, which bestowed the deep red color unto the Spanish kings' robes, as well as other natural history bits surrounding the nopal.

Register for August 17th 2019
Register for August 25th 2019

Prickly Pear

Spain: Moors and Christians, Olives and Wine Tracing the Cultural and Agricultural Roots of the Southwest
September 9th - 22nd 2019

Offered Exclusively to Members

In the Southwest we use the adjective "Spanish" frequently and loosely. Indeed, many elements of our culture originate in Spain. But, the 16th -18th century Christian Spain that colonized the Americas was the sum total of its previous occupants - Arabs, Jews, Visigoths and Romans. Join us in an exploration of the cathedrals, markets, orchards, towns, ancient castles and sunny beaches with an eye for the influencing factors of these peoples. Tour a rural winery during the grape harvest season, sample tapas and wines, learn to prepare paella, sit in the same cathedral where Ferdinand and Isabella received Columbus upon his return from the New World, and see the Holy Grail. Destinations include Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo, Madrid, as well as two small towns. An optional four-day Granada extension will be offered to tour the Alhambra, Andalusia's palace of “lace-in-stone”. This trip is very personalized with a maximum group size of 20.


Spanish coastal town

Natural History of the Sonoran Desert
October 26th 2019

Would you like to be more knowledgeable about the animals, plants and landscape of our desert? This two-day survey course covers desert ecology, climate, mammals, birds, reptiles, venomous animals, botany, geology and ethnobotany. We also touch on current threats to our desert such as invasive species, water and climate change issues, endangered species and recovery programs. With a variety of instructors and a Sunday morning botany hike we will pack a lot into one weekend!



Rio Sonora Heritage Tour
October 26th - 28th 2019

Offered Exclusively to Members

Travel with us to the beautiful Río Sonora Valley. This agrarian region is still very much as it was hundreds years ago, with farmers and ranchers thriving in the fertile valley. Introduced by both Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries, pomegranate, quince and fig were just some of the many examples of Mediterranean species planted in the orchards. Over decades, cuttings made their way into backyard gardens, joining New World vegetables. We’ll follow in the footsteps of legendary Jesuit missionary, explorer, cartographer, and agriculturist Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and explore the Pimería Alta where we’ll spend three adventurous days visiting missions in the region of Northern Sonora, enjoying local cuisine and spending quality time with wonderful people that share gracious hospitality. Highlights include visits to the missions: San Ignacio, Magdalena de Kino, Banámichi, Huépac, Aconchi, Baviácora, and Arizpe. We are also treated to a performance by a folklorico dance group and a lecture on the processing of the miraculous agave with mezcal tasting!


Cowboys Crossing a River

Venomous Creatures
November 9th 2019

The Sonoran Desert is home to a wide variety of venomous reptiles and arthropods and myths about them abound, yet only a handful are capable of producing medically significant injuries in people. Spend the morning learning which creatures are truly dangerous, how to identify them, avoid their bites and stings, and provide appropriate first aid. The class will discuss common myths and answer your questions about these interesting animals while providing the opportunity to view some of them, perhaps a Gila monster, up close.


Scorpion facing camera

Hohokam of the Tucson Basin
November 16th 2019

The Tucson Basin holds a storied past beginning over 10,000 years ago. Persistent connections remain today, held by the Tohono O’odham and the Pasqua Yaqui descendant communities. Their songs and oral traditions tell about their ancestors and the places of their origins: Los Morteros, Honey Bee Village, Tumamoc Hill, the Valencia Site, as well as the Mission Garden. And these represent only the most recent 1,500 years of human history in our Tucson basin! We invite you to a guided tour of these archaeological preserves with Pima County Cultural Resources and Arizona State Museum experts. Price includes transportation. We meet at the base of A Mountain, at the Mission Garden.


Hohokam Family

Copper Canyon Trip
December 7th 2019

Offered Exclusively to Members

Take an enchanted journey to the jewel of the Sierra Madre: Mexico’s Copper Canyon. Enjoy rolling lectures on the historical, cultural, & biotic communities we visit with experienced guides Jesús García and Doug McLaurin. We will ride the “El Chepe” Train from sea level to 8000 ft. in an awe-inspiring ride to the Barranca del Cobre. Encounter the mysterious Tarahumara Indians, widely regarded as the most culturally intact native peoples in North America. We’ll be there during the Virgin of Guadalupe Feast day to partake in the celebrations. At sunset, you will gaze upon stunning vistas of the canyon below from your rim-side hotel balcony.


View of the Canyon
Photo credit: Ron and Sue Bridgemon

Black Lava and White Sand
February 9th 2020

Offered Exclusively to Members

The volcanic landscape of the Pinacates includes huge maar craters, two varieties of lava flows, cinder cones, and majestic shifting dunes hosting their own specialized ecosystems. This young volcanic field is adjacent to the Sea of Cortez, which because of extreme low tides, allows viewing of its marvelous intertidal marine life. For a special cultural experience, we visit the Sonoran Tohono O'odham village of Quitovac, an oasis along the ancient salt pilgrimage trail to the sea.


View of crater
Translate this page: