University of California Santa Cruz- Check Out Blooming Gardens and Amazing Views 

The University of California Santa Cruz is a public research institute and a home to the oldest but ever blooming organic farm and garden in the US. It’s located in an archaic marine terrace in Santa Cruz Mountains and sprawls across the magnificent hills that overlook the ocean and vibrant city below.

This organic farm and garden, better known as the Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a stupendous sight to behold. The University of California Santa Cruz community considers this area an outdoor classroom that presents the richest and most diverse ecosystem with over 300 plant families of the Mediterranean climates that have been collected from California, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. The plant selection contains a selection of the most rare and threatened plants.

The most outstanding are the world conifers, indigenous angiosperms and bulb-forming plant families all of which are otherwise unavailable for study elsewhere in America.

This vast 135-acre site offers an exceptional and rustic backdrop for special events where people can celebrate while being surrounded by unparalleled beauty and diversity of flora from across the globe.

It’s therefore important to know that this site isn’t for the UC Santa Cruz community alone, and so here are some of the activities you can enjoy here.


Connect with Nature- there is plenty to enjoy such as the Australian Rock Garden, the Butterfly Garden, and the fragrant Eucalyptus Grove, all of which are covered in shrubs and flowers that attract beautiful butterflies. You also get to see the Hummingbird Hotspots where you’re likely to spot pink throated Anna’s hummingbirds.

The USC botanical garden has been well conserved to inspire the students as well as visitors to contribute in conservation and to encourage botanical stewardship. They offer docent-led tours to help you learn more about the plants.

Events- the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden offers a perfect space for events such as weddings or family gatherings. There are two outdoor spaces namely the Australian Rock Garden and Picnic Area and the South African Garden, both of which offer that unique rustic feeling.

Picnics- These same gardens are excellent for picnics. Enjoy brunch, lunch or whatever you like while overlooking the ocean.

Shopping- Norrie’s Gift and Garden Shop is one of UC Santa Cruz gift shops that stocks up gorgeous Mediterranean plants and flowers that would be great accessories in home gardens.

Library- Enjoy reading books that specialize on the biogeography and on the Protea family. The Jean and Bill Lane Library has put more emphasis on a collection of books about plants from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. It’s a non-lending-library.

Arts and Exhibitions- Every once in a while they host exhibitions that feature humongous woven nests, concrete Eucalyptus seedpods with steel leaves, ceramic fields of wild mustard and so forth. You may check out their events calendar to know when the events take place.

Special Arboretum Events

The University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum and Garden events are always listed on their calendar. However the following take place on a regular basis.

  • Free guided tour of the gardens- First Saturday of every month.
  • Community Day- First Tuesday of every month, it’s free to visitors
  • Volunteer gardening- Every week.


Outdoor venues are rented and can be used from 9am to 5pm, after these hours you will be charged by the hour but must seek approval for this.

Dogs are not allowed at the University of California Santa Cruz even at the Arboretum and Garden. Children must be supervised.

Parking is free at the visitors’ lot.

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