There are a lot of options when it comes to Botanical Gardens in Southern California. Sometimes you just want to get away from the city and walk through nature. But you don’t have to trek to a National Park or go on a long hiking trip to see the sights – you can go visit a Botanical Garden!
South Bay Botanical Gardens
South Coast Botanic Garden
The mission of South Coast Botanic Garden is to serve the community by providing a unique horticultural and wildlife habitat experience, and to represent a model of excellence for land reclamation and sustainability.
The South Coast Botanic Garden delivers education, programs and events offering layered experiences of surprise, adventure, beauty, and serenity through color, texture, sound and light.
Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden
The Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden, also known as MBBG by the locals, is a ⅔ acre demonstration garden. It’s purpose is to show different habitats that are found around Southern California such as Coastal Sage Scrub, Riparian Woodland and Wetland, and more. MBBG is open from sunrise to sunset and free to visit. It has multiple picnic tables for use on the grounds so it’s perfect for lunch or just a quick snack.
Pine Wind Japanese Garden
Pine Wind Japanese Garden was designed by National Landscape Award winner Takeo Uesugi with the goal of being a tranquil intermission from daily activities. This garden is home to authentic Japanese landscaping and architecture. There are stone pathways, a two-tiered amphitheater, and a koi pond.
The ascetic background is great for photographers and can also host weddings and other private events.
Los Angeles Botanical Gardens
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
The Los Angeles Botanic Garden has 127 acres that has 11 different landscapes that offer beauty and maybe some ideas for you to do at home. The arboretum is also an official wildlife sanctuary so you’ll be able to see the peacocks, various birds that are residentary and migratory, small reptiles, and aquatic animals.
You can catch a guided tour or explore the grounds yourself and even stop at the cafe for lunch.
Descanso Gardens is a unique Southern California landscape distinguished by its specialized botanic collections, historical significance, and rare natural beauty. Our mission is to practice exemplary stewardship of Descanso’s distinctive character and assets; offer people an experience close to nature; and cultivate understanding of the natural world and people’s place in it through inspiration, education and example.
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, also known as The Huntington is 120 acres of landscaped gardens that show plants from around the world. There are 12 themed gardens including the Desert Garden, Australian Garden, Herb Garden, Lilly Pond, and Rose Garden.
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is home to more than 1,400 animals representing some 270 species, many rare or endangered. So whatever your favorite – meerkats or mandrills, komodo dragons or kangaroos – chances are you’ll get to see them here. Zoo grounds also feature special gardens that highlight groups of plants. The native gardens present many of this region’s spectacular indigenous plants, while the cactus and succulent gardens contain representatives of arid climates around the world, and the cycad garden is a living time capsule full of plant species that have been in existence since the age of dinosaurs.
UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
The mission of the botanical garden is to act as a community gathering place that promotes plant conservation and botanical research. This is a 7.5 acre public garden, outdoor classroom, and research facility on UCLA campus. The garden features a diverse collection of plants from around the world like the Ancient Forest, Desert Garden, Cycads, and more.
The botanical garden has guided tours and also a free self guided audio tour voiced by the Herbarium Collections Manager that allows you to go at your own pace.
Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden
Located on Catalina Island this garden has multiple collections from around the world and is also named the gateway to the famous Garden to Sky Trail. The garden is 37.85 acres that has a special emphasis on plants that grow only in California islands. Some of these plants are very rare and some are on the Endangered Species List.
Orange County Botanical Gardens
Sherman Library and Gardens
The Garden located in Orange County has impressive collections that include a lush tropical conservatory with a koi pond, a rose and tea garden, more than 100 species of palms, and more. Visitors are encouraged to explore the gardens and there are both guided tours and self guided audio tour options.
The Garden also has a café that boasts coastal cuisine made with California produce and a Tea Garden.
The Fullerton Arboretum is 26 acres of collections of plants from around the world. It is the largest botanical garden in Orange Country that has a collection of over 4,000 plants. There are four major collections for visitors to see: Cultivated, Woodlands, Mediterranean, and Desert. Some highlights include an 11,000 sq ft organic vegetable garden, historic citrus and avocados, children’s garden, and an extensive cycad collection.
Inland Empire Botanical Gardens
California Botanic Garden
California Botanic Garden is the largest botanic garden dedicated to California native plants, promoting botany, conservation and horticulture to inspire, inform and educate the public and scientific community about California’s native flora. The Garden is a living museum with curated collections of more than 22,000 California native plants, some of which are rare or endangered. Spread across 86 acres in Claremont, California, the Garden is located approximately 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The Garden displays about 2000 taxa of California plants and includes those native to the California Floristic Province.
San Diego Botanical Gardens
San Diego Botanic Garden
This 37 acre botanical garden is designated one of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For” by the American Gardens Association. There are 29 themed gardens including a bamboo garden, regional desert landscapes, and a tropical rainforest. There are also two children’s gardens and a Family Education Conservatory that teaches visitors about horticulture and conservation.
Balboa Park located in downtown San Diego has over a dozen gardens for you to visit including the Japanese Friendship Garden with koi ponds and sand and stone artworks, and the Spanish-style Alcazar Garden with colorful tile and 7,000 annuals. There also is a 3 acre Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden that has over 1,500 roses blooming March through December.
Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
78 acres with a variety of displays and has 5.5 miles of trails. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden fosters the conservation of California’s native plants through our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model of sustainable practices. You can see the Redwood grove, the authentic Japanese tea house that was built originally in Kyoto, Japan, Mission Creek, Meadow display and more!
You are even able to sit and watch for wildlife and sit back and try to spot hawks soaring the skies above the Pritzlaff Conservation Center.
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