Top 9 Things to Do at the Fullerton Arboretum

The Fullerton Arboretum is a non-profit 26-acre botanical garden situated on the campus of California State University Fullerton. This garden is open to the public and admission is free year round. Check out the top 10 things to do at the Arboretum!

fullerton arboretum desert collection

1. Visit the Nikkei Museum

The Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum is situated on the Arboretum’s land, close to the Nature Center (see a grounds map here). The museum exhibit rotates throughout the year, staying about 8 weeks at a time.
Hours: Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays: 12-4 PM

Cost: Free with requested donation of $5 per person to help fund the gardens.

Recent exhibits include “Sip: the Botany Behind our Favorite Drinks” and “Bear in Mind: Exploring the California Grizzly Bear.” Most of these exhibits focus on botany, gardening, nature, or animals.

Heritage House

2. Go Back in Time with the Victorian Heritage House

The Heritage House is situated in the center of the Arboretum. This home was built in 1984 by one of Orange County’s first doctors, George C. Clark. It was saved and restored by a group of volunteers in 1972 when it moved to the Fullerton Arboretum.

The House still displays some original memorabilia and furnishings from the 1890s, and every December visitors are invited to visit the inside of the house to see them. Learn more about the house’s history here.

victorian hat party

3. Come for a Special Event

The Fullerton Arboretum hosts 7 annual events throughout the year which are open to the public.

  1. Veggiepalooza – held in March, this is a plant sale where visitors can pick up veggies and other plants grown at the Arboretum. Admission is free.
  2. Green Scene – held in April, this is the ultimate plant and garden show for those with a green thumb. Local growers and vendors will be there selling garden accessories, tools, and of course plants and flowers.
  3. Victorian Tea – this Victorian-themed tea party is held in May to coincide with Mother’s Day. Be sure to come in your best Victorian-style outfit, and don’t forget the hat!
  4. Summer Solstice Party in the Garden – one of the bigger fundraising events, this June party boasts an evening of food, fauna, and fun. Enjoy the great summer weather while savoring some farm-to-table cuisine from the Jonathans of Table and Field.
  5. Brews & Blues – craft beer lovers unite for this boozy event which includes live music and unlimited tastings from local brewers such as Anaheim Brewery.
  6. California Native Sale – this November plant sale is focused on finishing your garden with plants native to the state of California, including drought-friendly herbs. Don’t forget to bring your wagons!
  7. Cactus & Succulent Sale – the last sale of the year, this is the perfect place to buy cacti and succulents that will thrive through the winter.
Nature center -  Bulbine 'Halmark'
 Bulbine ‘Halmark‘  at the Nature Center

4. Visit the Nature Center

The Nature Center is the Arboretum’s hub of information about the gardens. Here you can learn more about the collections, talk to garden volunteers, and purchase plants and flowers.

Instructor Miguel teaching

5. Learn More with A Gardening, Yoga, or Cooking Class

The Arboretum offers classes every week throughout the year. Some classes to look out for include Saturday morning yoga, beekeeping, cooking, composting, canning and preserving, nature photography, paint parties, and medicinal plants. You can register for these on their website ahead of time. All class fees go towards keeping the Arboretum’s gardens green!

@cookiesnsandals on Instagram

6. Take the perfect Instagram Photo

There are hundreds of great photo opportunities at the Arboretum! Some of the most popular ones include the waterfall at the front, the benches near the lakes, the Heritage House, the vine-covered Arbor. For inspiration just search Instagram for the 9,000+ photos tagged #fullertonarboretum.

7. Catch an Arboretum Tour

The Arboretum offers free tours at noon every other Saturday. Join the volunteer-led tour to get insider information on how the Arboretum came to be and get to know their four garden collections. For the latest event info visit their Facebook page.

@racheldorcy on Instagram

8. Become A Member

Want to support the Arboretum? Become a member and get exclusive to early admission to events, plant discounts, special perks, and more. Best of all, your donation will help keep this non-profit’s doors open to the public.

Photo credit: Photographer Steve Kaye

9. Go Bird-Watching

The Arboretum is full of cute little critters from bunnies to birds and if you’re patient enough, chances are you’ll see some! Check out nature photographer Steve Kaye’s guide to bird-watching at the Arboretum here.

Fullerton Arboretum

The Fullerton Arboretum is a great, affordable place to bring the whole family and is a worthy day trip from Los Angeles. If you’ve been there, tell us your favorite part of the Arboretum in the comments below!

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