The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is 127 acres of breathtaking flora and fauna from all over the world, set in the hills of southern California. The attraction is in fact a triple threat, as it is also a nationally registered historical site that is rumored to be haunted! The incredibly expansive grounds of the arboretum and botanic gardens are grouped geographically into South American, Asiatic-North American, Mediterranean, South African, and Australian gardens featuring species imported from each region. In March, visitors flock to watch the blooming of the South American pink trumpet trees. The blossoms are famous for forming a thick hot pink canopy high above the lush green paths and are one of the most impressive displays in the whole collection.
The small, intimate pathways leading to the regional gardens are lined with spectacular attractions as well. The aloe trail on the way to the South African greenhouse features over 10 different species of aloe while color-coded perennial beds guide visitors to the Asiatic-North American section. The aquatic, prehistoric, and jungle gardens also feature unique endangered species and the Mayberg waterfall is a prime spot for photo ops.
One site dedicated to the education of its visitors is the Garden of All Seasons. Rich with herbs, vegetables and wildflowers planted mainly by volunteers, it is the centerpiece of hands-on environmental lessons for children and adults alike. Year round classes range from beginners permaculture to creating holistic body kits.
Originally founded over 100 years ago by California magnate Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin. The grounds were meant to become a sort of oasis away from the hustle and bustle of western attractions like Las Vegas. Known for his opulence, Baldwin was responsible for the importation of many of the ground’s international treasures, including the famous arboretum peafowl he had imported from India. They and the now 232 different bird species found within the gardens contribute to the sustainability of the grounds by eating snails, fertilizing the grass, and of course, keeping things colorful.
One of the main attractions of the botanic gardens is in fact, a building on the garden’s grounds. The Queen Anne Cottage (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) was originally a honeymoon gift from Baldwin to his 4th wife who divorced him a year later. He then decided to deem it a memorial to his third wife who had unexpectedly died years before. It is heralded as a significant example of Queen Anne architecture and Victorian landscape. Though often considered one of the most haunted sites in the US, the house is perhaps most famous for appearing in the beginning credits of the 1970’s TV show, Fantasy Island.
The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens are constantly dedicated to educating the public and preserving the natural beauty of southern California. In addition to boasting a sizable library, the gardens also host the Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair and the Los Angeles Gardening Show, both geared towards promoting sustainable living and reducing carbon footprints.