Pay Us a Visit


The UCSC Arboretum is open from 9:00 to 5:00 every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. A visit is worthwhile any time of the year.


Admission to the UCSC Arboretum is $5.00; $2.00 for children, free to members of Friends of the UCSC Arboretum, volunteers and UCSC students.


Upon advance request, we can provide docent-lead tours. The $10 per person cost includes admission to the Arboretum. We also offer a free tour on the first Saturday of every month.


Detailed admission information and driving directions can be found here.


Take an hour or all day to wonder around the gardens, visit Norries, or take a guided tour. Bring your binoculars and bird book and watch some of the Arboretum's avian life. Attend one of the Friends of the UCSC Arboretum potlucks or a visiting scholar's presentation. Learn about opportunities for learning or volunteering.

sketch of an Arboretum visit
Artist and illustrator Marni Fylling made this sketch on a recent visit to the Arboretum with friends. (Drawing copyright 2015 Marni Fylling; used with the artist's permission. Click to enlarge.)

There are picnic tables and benches located throughout the gardens. You're invited to linger awhile. (Map of the gardens.)

Things to do with children

child walking down a garden path

Some people like to do the self-guided hummingbird trail as a family activity. Others look at the carnivorous plants in the big pot in front of the horticulture building and then go to the fragile plants that look like rocks in the succulent garden. Another self-guided outing is to go through the redwood grove looking for the tiny bones that owls have in their pellets (castings) on the ground. Please leave the bones and pellets there for others to see. If you do that trip left to right and come out near the farm gate you can then follow the New Australian plant uses trail back to the horticulture building. Before your visit, you might want to print out the California Plant Uses (PDF) brochure from our website and bring it with you. It is a bit like a scavenger hunt, trying to find all of the plants from the brochure, out in the entrance native garden.

Please stay off of the rocks in the Australian Rock Garden and in other gardens. Rocks that you can sit on are the green ones in a row in the South African Area behind Norrie's Gift Shop. One is remarkably smooth and pleasant to touch.

Garden Etiquette

Please help us maintain the peaceful atmosphere people have come to enjoy. For fire safety and the health of other visitors, there is no smoking.

To protect our collection, endangered species, and educational materials: There is no collecting of any plant or animal material of any kind dead or alive. This also means no collecting of any seeds or cuttings. We are required to mention that collecting tadpoles, harassing or touching the federally protected red-legged frogs is against federal law. Adult supervision of children is required. Take only notes (not labels or flowers), leave only footprints.

For your safety: Mountain lion sightings are rare, but read the signs about how to stay safe. Please stay on concrete or dirt paths to avoid poison oak, spines, uneven footing and to avoid compacting the soil over tender roots or trampling small plants.

UCSC does not allow dogs on campus, which includes the Arboretum.