Fullerton Arboretum


Name: Fullerton Arboretum

Address: 1900 Associated Rd., Fullerton CA 92831

Links: Website ~ Instagram ~ Facebook ~ Yelp

Hours: Open Daily: 8am-4:30pm

Background Story: 

When Cal State Fullerton was originally designed, plans called for a University to be entirely surrounded with parking lots. In the fall of 1970, student and faculty groups from the University and individuals from the community developed a plan to establish a public arboretum in an old orange grove on the northeast corner of the CSUF campus and prevent it from being used for blacktop parking lots. The cry went out, “A is for Arboretum, not Asphalt.” They had a more far-sighted vision of the developing university and wanted it to include an area of natural beauty and plant diversity, which would serve as a living laboratory as well as a place for rest and relaxation.

How many sections are in the Arboretum? 

There are two main collections: A living plant collection which is arranged according to water requirements and emphasizes drought-tolerant species; and a non-living historical collection which is centered on the Heritage House museum. There are four main sub-plant collections: Cultivated, Woodlands, Mediterranean and Desert. At the entrance a waterfall cascading over a formation modeled from an actual Sierra Nevadan counterpart greets visitors.

Do you have any tours?

We offer private guided tours of the garden to groups of 5 or more; and guided Heritage House tours, suitable for children 8 years & up. Tours must be booked 2 months in advance; $5.00 per person.

Free Public Tour: Meet at the Nature Center on every second and fourth Saturday of each month at 10am. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Heritage House Tours are Saturdays and Sundays from 2-4pm, donations are greatly appreciated. Meet at Heritage House

Can you tell us a little bit about the Heritage House?

In 1972, the City of Fullerton purchased an old house to be demolished as it was in the way of a street widening project. At the same time, plans to build an arboretum on the CSUF campus began to develop. After the city fathers agreed to help save the house if an appropriate location could be found, volunteers soon began a campaign to save the house and restore it. The project crystallized when an area set aside for an arboretum on the CSUF campus was made available for the relocation of the house, which would be used as office space for the arboretum. The North Orange County Board of Realtors agreed to restore the building structurally, and the city made funds available to move the house. In December, 1972, the midnight cross-town move of the house occurred, and the real work began. The house, which was christened Heritage House as part of that dramatic night, was built in 1894, for one of Fullerton’s pioneer doctors, Dr. George Crook Clark. The charming Eastlake-style cottage was built to house both his bride, Edith, and his office. After the structural restoration was complete, the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum began to restore and refurnish the interior of the house. Research was aided by professional advisors on antiques and on interior design. The house displays some original furnishings and memorabilia from the Clark family. Other objects of the appropriate period were donated or purchased. Additional structures were acquired in later years including a tank house, a windmill and an outhouse. All of these buildings, as well as the kitchen and medicinal herb garden, are displayed as they might have been used by the Clark family at the time when the house was originally constructed. Since the 1990s, tours of Heritage House have been available to the general public on a regular basis. On weekends docents wearing Victorian-era apparel guide the public though the house and its garden, providing facts and instruction on how a family doctor of the early 20th century would have administered medicine and remedies.

What are some upcoming events at the Fullerton Arboretum? 

  • Yoga in the Garden, most Saturdays, 9:30am-11am. Improve connection of the body, mind, and breath by immersing yourself in the nurturing sounds, sunshine, and fresh air throughout the grounds of the Arboretum.
  • Propagation Class, every 2nd Thursday of the month, 9am-12pm. An educational opportunity to learn to propagate native California and drought tolerant plants from seed/cuttings.
  • Veggiepalooza, 3/19-3/20, 10am-4pm. A veggie plant sale offering heirloom tomatoes, the hottest peppers and other varietal veggies…all grown at the Fullerton Arboretum.
  • Children’s Art Class, 3/23/16, 10am-11am. Children ages 2 and up will use the leaves and blooms of California native plants to create unique patterns, which will be formed into mandalas.
  • Mixed Media Landscape Painting, 3/23/16, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Learn to create an original landscape painting using acrylic paint, collage, and image transfer.
  • Ancient Landscapes of Orange County, 3/24/16, 7pm-8:30pm. Get a glimpse into the prehistoric Orange County through rich fossil records from The Cooper Center.
  • Growing Disneyland: The History of Disneyland, The Jungle Cruise & Orange County, 3/29/16, 7pm-8:30pm. Learn the fascinating story of how the park came to Orange County, and how Walt was able to create a jungle in the midst of orange trees.
  • Fullerton Arboretum Harvest Farm Dinner, 4/9/16, 6pm-9pm. A seven-course dining experience inspired by talented farmers, the food they thoughtfully grow, and fantastic California wines.
  • Green Scene, 4/16-4/17, 10am-4pm. Green Scene Plant and Garden Expo will feature over 80 exhibitors offering a wide variety of fascinating and extraordinary plants, handcrafted custom garden art, and pottery.  

Our Experience:

We both have been to the Fullerton Arboretum multiple times and loved to see it in different seasons. This time when we went we were happy to meet so many little critters from bunnies, to different types of birds and ducks, to bees and butterflies (and the occasional squirrel). We went earlier in the day and to see everything with seams of sunshine was so magical. We left newly inspired to take photos and definitely bring more people here.

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