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Good For Kids

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a cactus with a small flower, may have been a prickly pear cactus
Photo Credit: guyonthego

South Coast Botanic Garden

26300 Crenshaw Boulevard Palos Verdes Peninsula, California 90274
Open 9:00am-5:00pm (last ticket sold at 4:30pm)
310-544-1948 3 hours
August 2014 All year
$0-9 Palos Verdes Peninsula California
Website Nature Gardens
First review
Established in 1961, the South Coast Botanic Garden is 87 acres and is located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The garden is organized into a number of sections which showcase plants from different parts of the world as well from various habitats. Plant diversity is impressive with over 2,500 different specimens. Less impressive though is the garden’s prior use as a mine and then a sanitary landfill. In addition to gardens, there are a number of walking trails and roads here. A guided tour via a tram is typically offered on Saturdays. There is also a small gift shop.

The main garden sections are relatively small and are closer to the entrance area; these areas tend to have a specific style or theme such as a rose garden, Japanese garden, children’s garden, and a desert garden. Further towards the back of the property are domestic and exotic trees, meadows, a lake and dirt trails. A one mile tram road loops around these less visited sections. There are some minor hills and ravines in places but no ocean views. A fairly busy road and recycling facility is in front of the garden, but once you are inside the gates, it is quiet.

If you visit on a weekend in spring or summer, be ready for some weddings. The garden is a popular venue for them. A large meadow was full of workers and equipment for two separate weddings, but the rest of the grounds were less busy. The lake was undergoing renovations at the time, so there was no water on the grounds except for a small koi pond next to the Japanese garden. A flower show was being held as well, and some of the prize winners were really exceptional. If you are interested in shows, presentations, or educational classes, check the garden’s website prior to a visit, as there are many such opportunities here.

The garden experience was good but not great. On the plus side, it was well organized, colorful and some of the exotic plants were interesting. However, plant information was very limited, and the primary garden sections are fairly small. Improvements and renovations may be coming to the rose garden section in 2015 and the children’s garden thereafter. If you like plants, flowers and trees, South Coast Botanic Garden is a decent choice for a visit, but it’s not worth a super long drive to get here or more than a few hours of your time once you arrive.
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