A teaching and research facility dedicated to plant conservation, the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum is a stunning locale that deserves a spot on any Santa Cruz vacation itinerary. Home to a massive botanical garden housing plants from around the world, the UCSC Arboretum is well worth a visit. Learn more about this striking attraction down below!
Delve into the Botanical Wonders of Santa Cruz and Beyond
Located on UCSC campus’ west side, the grounds of UCSC Arboretum cover Southern Hemisphere botanical habitats found in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as those that make their home in California. Comprised of collections of plant species considered to be rare, threatened, and unusual, the vast majority of the species within the arboretum are not found anywhere else in America—not in any other botanical gardens or arboreta.
Because of the diversity of the plants grown and cared for here, the UCSC Arboretum has blooming plants at all times of the year. It also attracts a variety of birds to the arboretum—hummingbirds in particular, which even have their own day at the facility. Morning bird tours can be taken at the arboretum, and docent-lead tours can be arranged in advance for $10.00 per person (including admission cost).
The plants native to California can be seen in the California Garden at the entrance of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, which sprung from plants gathered in the wild and cultivated in this garden. Poppies, sage, bush mallow, and woolly blue curls can be seen here.
The South African Garden contains plants like hop bush and lantern heath, boasting gorgeous colors and otherworldly shapes. In the New Zealand Garden, rock daisies and New Zealand Christmas bush create interesting patterns in vibrant hues. And the Australia Garden’s spindly Robyn Gordons and fuzzy alpine bottlebrushes are just two of the many species in this garden that attract animals like hummingbirds to this portion of the Arboretum.
Outside of these locality-themed gardens, visitors can also enjoy the Butterfly Garden, the Aroma and Succulent Gardens, the Eucalyptus Grove, and the World Conifers.
The UCSC Arboretum is open year-round, with daily hours lasting from 9:00am until 5:00pm. The arboretum is closed for certain holidays and periods, including Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Admission prices are free for those under the age of 6 years, $2.00 for children ages 6 to 17 years, and $5.00 for adults. It’s also free to visit on the first Tuesday of each month.
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