The Fullerton Arboretum is a sprawling botanical garden that sits at the edge of the Cal State University Fullerton campus. It is open to the public, however, and it makes for a great urban oasis to head to for a break from the Southern California sprawl.
Upon entering the arboretum, much of the urban noise disappears behind walls of trees and plants. A map near the entrance offers directions to each of the areas, grouped by ecosystem, throughout the park - the main areas being the Desert, Woodlands, Mediterranean and Cultivated Collections. Many of the individual trees and plants are signed, so visitors can easily identify plants. This may be one of the places in Southern California where it is possible to walk from a shady creekside redwood grove to a cactus garden to an open lake to groves of pomegranate and starfruit trees.
Lying adjacent to the university dorms, this is a popular area for students to study on afternoons. There are community and demonstration gardens on the property, some with structures and walkways that children can explore. Occasional plant sales and tours of the historic home on the property are also offered here, and the arboretum offers its grounds for special events.
The arboretum makes for a nice place to spend an afternoon in a quiet setting surrounded by trails to a variety of plants or to take a picnic lunch and blanket and sit near the lake. There is a suggested donation of $5 per adult, and hours vary by season. Check the Fullerton Arboretum website for more information. Also, do not ignore signs warning against picking and eating fruit; some of the ornamental varieties here will leave a very bad taste in your mouth for quite some time after being eaten.