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Bay Area Botanical Gardens and Arboretums

These bay area botanical gardens and arboretum field trip destinations have been recommended by homeschooling parents and kids. If you have a favorite that isn't listed here please call us at 650-365-9425 or E-mail Homefires Editor. While we hope that this information is accurate, please do call to confirm.

Bay Area Botanical Gardens and Arboretums

Arboretum - University of California, Santa Cruz

1156 High St (at Empire Grade, between the campus main and west entrances) Santa Cruz, CA
Telephone: (831) 427-2998
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission: All events are free, except as noted on website.
40 acres of plants including South African and Australian plants not available in any other American botanical garden. Call to arrange for docent tour.

Dunsmuir House & Gardens

2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA
Telephone: 510-615-5555
Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
(Call for special events.)
Admission: Call for prices - varies depending on event.
40 acre estate in the Oakland hills built by coal and lumber baron Alexander Dunsmuir for his bride.
Docent tours of mansion & grounds Wednesday 11 a.m. - noon.
Tickets: $5.00/adults; $4.00/youth (11-16);
Children 13 and under free.
Family Sundays through October include mansion tour and lawn party with turn-of-the-century entertainment. 1st & 3rd Sundays of month 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. $5/adults, $4/kid ages 6-13, free for kids under 6.


86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA
Telephone: (650) 364-8300
Hours: Tuesdays through Sundays, February 7 — October 21, 2012
Admission: $15/adult; Students: $5.
Our presentations are geared toward the 4th grade state curriculum, but we do take children in grades 2-5, and adapt the presentation to the age level and curriculum needs.

Filoli serves thousands of school children and teachers each year through three curriculum-based programs:

  • Nature Education Hikes (Grades 2-6),
  • House and Garden Tours (Grade 4),
  • Native Plants/Native Ways (Grade 4)
  • Teacher's Guides (Grades 1-4).

Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Marin Headlands

Muir Woods, Mill Valley, CA
Telephone: (415) 331-1540
Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset.
Admission: $5/adult; Kids under 15 are free.
Visit a grove of majestic redwoods, the tallest tree species in the world. Visitors center has information displays.

Hakone Gardens

21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA
Telephone: 408-741-4994
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekdays; 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekends.
Admission: $5.00/adults, $3.50/students (5-17), children 4 and under are free.
Considered to be the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Created in 1917 by gardener who worked for the Emperor. Imported dwarf pines and maples, curving pathways that wind past 2 tea houses, stone lanterns, koi ponds, wisteria arbors. Self guided tours available.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

9th Avenue at Lincoln Way, San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-661-1316, ext. 303
Hours: Open 365 days a year, Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Weekends & Holidays: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Hours: Call (Children's Storytime 1st & 3rd Sundays at 10:30 a.m.)
Admission: Free
Beautiful botanical gardens with a variety of plant life. Children's Story Time and special family walks in the gardens are offered for kids 4-8 and their parents.

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