Youth & Family Activities

Our Discovery Garden is perfect for our youngest visitors and provides a series of habitats including the pond and stream and a pollination garden. The Garden gnomes have some secret trails and cottages for exploring!

Inside the Garden Shop, you will find a variety of games, books and educational toys for children of all ages.

Explore the Garden: the Garden's exhibits and seasonal plants are ever changing. Each time you walk the trails, whether alone or with your family or friends, you will discover beautiful new dimensions to our carefully cultivated displays.

  • Bring a hand lens (available for sale in the Garden Shop) and binoculars. 
  • Walk quietly if you want to see wildlife
  • Notice the early buds of spring
  • See which types of plants are in full bloom
  • See which plants have leaves that are changing color
  • See if any plants have lost their leaves
  • Check the ponds for turtles and fish
  • Look for animal footprints, tracks, and droppings
  • See which colored flowers are visited by butterflies, bees, or hummingbirds
  • Look for lizards darting across the rocks
  • In fall, look for gray squirrels busy collecting acorns
  • Check for activity at the "woodpecker pole" near the herbarium

Visit the Discovery Garden
This special garden, in the Arroyo Section,  is designed for visitors of all ages, but especially for elementary and middle school students. Our goal is to interest visitors in the spectacular biodiversity and complex interactions of California’s natural ecosystems. The Discovery Garden is designed to introduce several main educational topics, and many sub-themes, which have special fascination for children. You will find information here about California’s oak woodlands as well as the importance of freshwater habitats, while exploring the creek, stream and pond, and observing the oaks, redwoods, and chaparral nodes. The pollination garden offers the opportunity to witness bees and hummingbirds darting from flower to flower. Discovery Garden tours are included in our Docent-led Nature Walks for school classroom field trips.