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The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz is an unsurpassed garden with flowering plants from around the world, especially Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, California, and Chile. It's also home to an outstanding collection of world conifers and other trees, including the most extensive gathering of eucalyptus outside of Australia.
Occupying about 100 acres in the southwest corner of the UC Santa Cruz campus, it's a great place to spend a few minutes or several hours.The gift shop near the entrance has a good selection of plants, books, and gifts for sale. Picnic tables are scattered around the grounds.
There's something blooming all year round and some of the flowers, like the protea from South Africa and the banskias from Australia, must be seen to be believed. With a year-round popluation of hummingbirds and many other resident or visiting bird species it's a fine place for bird watching: there's convenient parking and many varied habitats in close proximity to each other. With the colorful flowers and the abundant bird life, it's also a mecca for photographers.
Note: the Arboretum's street address (1156 High Street) is the address for the entire
UCSC campus. The entrance to the Arboretum is close to 1140 High
Street and will be on your right as you head up High Street toward the
west entrance to campus. If you reach the west entrance, you've gone
too far. The Santa Cruz Metro bus stops near the entrance.