Explore the Botanic Garden at Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley

Our planned visit today to the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley wasn’t meant to be.  Today was free day, and, as a result, there was absolutely no parking.  We waited and waited for a spot to open up, but no-one was coming out of the gardens to leave, even though it was raining pretty heavily at this point.  My son was becoming more and more disappointed by the minute.  One of our favorite activities is to explore botanical gardens, and we hadn’t been outside to play yet today.  We needed some outdoor fun.

Then I remembered… why not just drive down the hill and go to the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Regional Park, which is just down the hill?   I suggested this to my son, and he was excited by the idea.  Within five minutes, we were there, in a parking lot with only two other cars.  Heaven.  Additionally, this botanic garden is always free.

What I like best about the Tilden Botanic Garden is that it is entirely “devoted to the collection, growth, display, and preservation of the native plants of California.”  It’s also relatively small (10 acres), so the gardens can be explored easily in a couple hours.  This is another one of those places where I let my son lead where we go.  All paths loop around, so I know I’ll eventually get where I want to go.  My interest today was the native plants of the San Francisco East Bay.  Yet we spent the majority of our time in our favorite section.. the Pacific Rain Forest.  I love this section with redwoods and a serene creek.  This is what draws me back to this garden over and over again.

Interested in going?  As I mentioned before, it’s free!  And the gardens are open 8:30am-5:00pm daily (5:30 in summer).  Check out their website for location and additional details… www.ebparks.org/parks/vc/botanic_garden .

Here are a few photographs I took while following my son around the gardens today…


  1. beechcreekproject says:

    Looks like a lovely place to have as a backup plan. Great photos and I just love how green everything is. Spring is a great time of the year.


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      The green doesn’t last long around here. We have to enjoy it while we can.


  2. I love your photographs! Your son is lucky to have you as his “nature mom!” 🙂


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Thank you. I think he feels lucky now, but we’ll see as he gets older!


  3. I should clarify — the LHS membership was reciprocal with UC Garden but double check to make sure.


  4. Thanks for sharing. I’d love to try this. I have to tell you that I ordered the book that you recommended about Best Hikes in the Bay Area – so thanks for the recommendation. Also, I have a membership at Lawrence Hall of Science and the UC Botanical Garden allowed me free admission when I visited last summer. Just an FYI.


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Thanks! Now that my UC Berkeley Botanical Garden membership has expired, I’ll see if my LHS membership will cover my visits.


    2. A Nature Mom says:

      I returned to the UC Botanic Gardens at Berkeley this week, and I asked them about their reciprocal deal with the Lawrence Hall of Science. Unfortunately, it wasn’t free, but there was a discount. The reciprocal price is $5.00 (adult) and $1.00 (child).


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