Fullerton Arboretum with kids
Visit the botanical garden at Fullerton state university and kick off your weekend to a positive start. This place is so awesome we almost wanted to keep it all to ourselves. However our California blog is dedicated to unveiling most secret spots around the state for you to visit with kids. Located on the outskirts of Orange County, Fullerton Arboretum is a little paradise in otherwise barren looking landscape of desert-like southern California.
We found this luscious oasis by a pure accident, since it draws very little attention in the mass media. Completely FREE, Fullerton Arboretum is open to everyone between 8:00 – 16:30 daily. It is conveniently positioned on California State University Fullerton campus right off of hwy 57. The entrance is donation based and even though we are professional freeloaders we still enjoyed pitching in. Also you have a chance to purchase some of the garden plants and local oranges, grapefruits and kumquats right next to the main entrance past waterfalls.
Fullerton botanical gardens’ alluring scenery
Exotic and native fragrant, vivid blooming plants lure visitors from all over orange county and beyond. Our son couldn’t wait to see them all and ran from one flower to the next. Besides some of the most fascinating and intriguing flora arboretum harbors bunnies, lots of lizards, various birds, turtles, fish and bugs – all the basic attention grabbers for toddlers.
Best of Fullerton arboretum
You don’t even have to look at the map of the park to enjoy it to the fullest. The botanical garden at Fullerton is compact, yet feels like it spans multiple climate zones with various habitats native to California, including the Catalina island! Additionally there are so many exotic trees, shrubs and flowers from all over the world that it seems like you’ve traveled the globe by the end of this mini excursion. Just in case you’d like to take a quick peek at the map, I’m attaching one below.
Let’s focus on some of the cool futures that you don’t want to miss out while exploring the gardens with your children. The “Heritage house” that belonged to a local doctor is a perfect place to begin – open mid day, it is suited for older audience rather than parents with toddler. What kids would actually enjoy is the “Children’s Garden.” Older kids can even try their knowledge of garden herbs by attempting to name half a dozen presented on a little placard.
Situated between the two above are the Rose garden and Orange tree grove. Mind blowing blooming citrus trees aroma will make you want to plant an orange tree of your own. We’ve never had an experience to smell orange tree flowers, all I have to say it’s refreshing and memorable.
Further into the garden you will find a tall majestic Ombu tree. A tree with roots so huge you could build a hobbit house underneath the tree. In fact there’s a natural hallow cave formed by the roots that our son loves to check every visit.
A dozen of Coastal Sequoia is the second place in all of southern California where we found these majestic conifers outside of their native habitat. Carbon Canyon Park has an entire groove with redwoods frequented by the locals.
Final, yet far most entertaining spot is the central Lake. We’ve seen blue-eyed cormorants fish for what looked like catfish real time. Turtles getting into squabbles with one another. Coy fish performing what seemed like mating ritual. Bullfrogs making noises like full grown cows. The pond feels like a coliseum with animals fighting for survival, it’s a show every time.
What is there to see at Fullerton arboretum ?
Whether it is sunny or gloomy outside, head out to California state university Arboretum at Fullerton for a chill kick back start to any day. In mentioned a few key locations above, however the ever green park has so much more to offer.
It is far better than any northern California botanical gardens that we’ve been to, including Berkley and Mendocino. In fact, in my humble opinion it is far better than Huntington Library gardens in San Marino near Pasadena (an awfully expensive spot).
Every time we go to Fullerton we discover something new for ourselves. There’s a mud/concrete houses that’s very popular with the toddlers, as well as some sort of a bamboo musical instrument. There are live bunnies jumping between blooming cactuses in the Baja California landscape that blends into Madagascar, followed by Mojave desert. There are amazing looking palms and cicadas… the whole place looks magical, especially for people who grew up in concrete jungle of metropolitans.
I feel a bit envious of CSUF students who have a unique opportunity of having such marvel right on campus. Professors hold biology classes right in the park, furthermore you can join lectures and mini excursions held by local docents.
Planning a visit to the park
Make a stop at The Bacon Pavilion for more information. Depending on the season you will have an opportunity to see various plants bloom, so I’d recommend revisiting the arboretum throughout the year to see it from every perspective.
We enjoyed seeing several transformations of the landscape and every time it doesn’t stop impressing. Blooming calla lily flowers reminded our mini expedition to Calla Lily Valley in Garrapata State park, near Big sur.
Golden buds of California poppies were reminiscent of our trip to the Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore. I certain that you will find something uniquely enjoyable or something that will remind you of another corner of California.
Tip: The park is easily accessible with a stroller.
There are yoga classes held on the green loan and several other programs that you should look into on their official website.
Fullerton Arboretum Address
1900 Associated Rd. Fullerton, CA 92831