The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to explore someplace new with my husband and our son.  I reviewed my “to-see” list, considered outings in the Marin Headlands and San Francisco, and decided, instead, that it would be a great day for a visit to The Arboretum at the University of California Santa Cruz.   And I’m so glad we did!

The collections at The Arboretum are beautiful, and quite different from any other botanic garden in the Bay Area.  Being Santa Cruz, I expected the garden to have an emphasis on plants native to the ocean-side and mountains surrounding the area.  While they do have a small California native section, what makes the Santa Cruz arboretum stand out is it’s large collection of Australia and South Africa plants.  In fact, it has the largest collection of plants from Australia and South Africa outside their native countries.   The New Zealand collection is wonderful, too.  Wandering through these sections felt like a mini-vacation to one of these countries.

If you visit with kids, don’t miss the scent garden.  My son had fun smelling each of the flowers and leaves throughout this section.

Interested in going?  The Arboretum is open daily from 9am-5pm (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).

For more information (admission, directions, etc):

Enjoy my photos from our visit!


  1. beechcreekproject says:

    Great photos. Love them all.


  2. thirdeyemom says:

    Wow!!! What gorgeous flower pictures!!!! I love botanical gardens. I love these photos…they are so detailed!


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Thank you. I’m really beginning to enjoy using my camera!


  3. seapunk2 says:

    I’m glad to know about the collections. Being up here in the giant redwoods, I don’t always consider opportunities like the Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz, as it would take a bit more planning.
    That aside, what I really want to know, is,


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Haha! I didn’t t notice any pollen, but he must have! He was being a pollinator…


  4. Pam says:

    We went to the arboretum almost every weekend when we lived in the Bay Area. It is truly stunning! The hummingbirds are especially spectacular. I’ll be posting pictures from those outings sometime soon.


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      It’s funny… I’ve been going to Santa Cruz all my life (even lived in Monterey for years), but spent my time hiking in the mountains, at Big Basin and Henry Cowell, or at the quiet beaches, like Natural Bridges. I’m so glad I finally made it to these gardens! Yes, the hummingbirds were a standout!


  5. Alex Jones says:

    Your photos are awesome.


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