A Family Day Out at South Coast Botanic Garden

recycled art of an eagle at the garden

As a dad who loves spending quality time with his family, I’m always on the lookout for new adventures that we can embark on together. Recently, we visited the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

With 87 acres of lush greenery, art installations, and walking trails, there was plenty to keep us entertained. In this article, I’ll share our experiences, tips, and insights to help you make the most of your visit to this beautiful garden.

Table of Contents

Exploring the 87-Acre Garden

One of the first things we noticed upon entering the garden was its vast size. With 87 acres to explore, we knew we were in for an adventure-filled day. Here are some of the highlights from our exploration:

  1. Grassy areas for picnics: The South Coast Botanic Garden is dotted with numerous grassy areas perfect for setting up a picnic. We chose a shaded spot close to the busy street outside the garden, but unfortunately, there were construction workers that day, which made it a bit noisy. However, there are plenty of quieter spots if you’re willing to look around.


    Baby enjoying a picnic with construction in background

  2. Different routes to wander through: The garden offers various walking trails, some more challenging than others, but all worth exploring. The diverse routes allowed us to choose our own adventure and take in the beauty of the garden from different perspectives.
  3. Comparison to other gardens: While the South Coast Botanic Garden is beautiful, we couldn’t help but compare it to our visit to Meditation Mount in Ojai, California. Although both gardens have their unique charms, we found the latter to be more breathtaking in terms of scenery.
  4. Wildlife encounters: During our visit, we spotted several birds and small animals like squirrels and lizards, making our exploration somewhat a bit more exciting. I
  5. Benches and resting spots: Scattered throughout the garden, benches and resting spots allow you to take a break and soak in the serene atmosphere. We made use of these areas to catch our breath and simply enjoy our surroundings. I was carrying a backpack while pushing our 20-pound baby in the stroller. It doesn’t sound that heavy but it surely is once you’re walking uphill. And so I was glad that there were several resting spots.

Outdoor Exercise and Family Fun

While exploring the South Coast Botanic Garden, we discovered that it’s a great place for some light outdoor exercise. Here are some of the ways we stayed active during our visit:

  1. Ideal for stroller walks with a baby: The garden’s well-maintained paths make it a breeze to navigate with a stroller. It was a delight to see our little one enjoying the sights and sounds of nature from her comfy seat.
  2. Inclines to challenge your fitness: The garden features several inclines that tested our stamina and got our heart rates up. It’s not every day that you can combine a scenic family outing with a workout!
  3. Engaging the senses: Our visit to the South Coast Botanic Garden was a multisensory experience, as we took in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature. We made a point to stop and appreciate the different textures of plants, the songs of birds, and the fragrances of flowers.
  4. Encouraging outdoor play: With its expansive green spaces, the garden is an ideal spot for children to play and burn off some energy. Our daughter, Quinn being only 15 months, couldn’t do much but sit in the stroller soaking everything in. However, there were a ton of little kids running around the botanic garden.

Art and Environmental Awareness

During our visit to the South Coast Botanic Garden, we were pleasantly surprised to find several art installations with a strong environmental message.

Ocean-inspired Art Pieces

  • Made from recycled materials: Throughout the garden, we encountered various art pieces depicting sea creatures, all created from recycled materials. This unique approach not only showcased the artists’ creativity but also emphasized the importance of recycling and reducing waste.
  • A message about ocean conservation: The presence of these art installations served as a powerful reminder of the human impact on the world’s oceans. We were reminded that our actions have consequences, and it’s crucial to be mindful of how we treat our planet and its resources.

Seasonal and Special Events

  • Astra Lumina night walk experience: The South Coast Botanic Garden hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, and one that caught our eye was the Astra Lumina night walk. This immersive experience uses light, scenography, original soundscape, and projection to create a celestial pathway through the garden. It’s a one-of-a-kind event that we hope to attend in the future.

When to Visit and What to Expect

During our visit to the South Coast Botanic Garden, we learned a few things about the best time to visit and what to expect:

  1. Opening hours: The garden is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. We chose to visit on a Saturday afternoon and found that it wasn’t too crowded.
  2. Limited blooming flowers in April: We expected to see an abundance of blooming flowers during our April visit, but the selection was rather limited. In contrast, last April at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, we saw a stunning array of flowers in full bloom.
  3. Seasonal variations: Keep in mind that the garden’s appearance will vary depending on the season. It’s worth researching beforehand to determine the best time to visit based on your preferences.

Amenities and Admission Fees

  • Restrooms and porta potties: The South Coast Botanic Garden provides restrooms at the entrance and porta potties throughout the garden for visitor convenience.
  • Adult admission: $15 per adult
  • Yearly membership: Around $60, which we decided against due to the garden’s distance from our home and the limited selection of flowers and plants.

Considering a Membership

Before visiting the South Coast Botanic Garden, we debated whether or not to purchase a yearly membership. Ultimately, we chose not to, as Palos Verdes is a bit far from our home, and we weren’t entirely satisfied with the selection of flowers and plants. However, a membership may be worth considering for those who live nearby and plan to visit frequently.

Free Parking and Other Tips

  • Free parking on site: Parking at the South Coast Botanic Garden is free, making it an even more appealing destination for a family outing.
  • Best spots for picnics: Take the time to scout out your ideal picnic spot. We chose a shaded area near a busy street but later discovered quieter, more secluded areas within the garden.

Overall, our visit to the South Coast Botanic Garden was a memorable experience filled with exploration, exercise, and environmental awareness

Despite some minor setbacks, like limited blooming flowers in April and noise from the construction, we were able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the garden. It provided an ideal backdrop for family bonding and outdoor fun.

If you’re looking for a unique family outing that combines nature, art, and environmental awareness, the South Coast Botanic Garden is definitely worth a visit. Just remember to pack your sense of adventure, a good pair of walking shoes, and maybe even bring a nice juicy in & out burger for you to eat inside

With its 87 acres of diverse plant life, art installations, and various walking trails, the South Coast Botanic Garden offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art lover, or simply looking for a fun-filled day with the family, this garden is a must-visit destination. So, gather your loved ones, pack a picnic, and prepare for a memorable adventure at the South Coast Botanic Garden.

I'm a professional marketer from Los Angeles, California. More importantly, I'm a brand new father who can't wait to take my beloved partner and daughter on all sorts of hiking trails. My mantra is that work will always be there, but watching your little one grow happens once in a lifetime.

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