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UCR Botanic Gardens

UCR Botanic Gardens

Are you looking for something relaxing to do in Riverside, CA? The UCR Botanic Gardens is a great way to spend an afternoon in the Box Springs Mountain boothill, located on the eastern side of University of California Campus in Riverside, California. It spans across 40 acres of hilly terrain, and provides various trails that offer more than four miles of beautiful landscapes.

With the exception of special events, major holidays and campus closings, they are open daily between 8am and 5pm. That makes it easy to plan a day with friends and family!


There are more than 3,500 various species of plants showcased, originating from all over the world. In addition, researchers and visitors come from all areas of the world to see and study them. The original concept behind the museum of living plants was educational, meant for teaching. It offers a large variety of plants that can be used for studying within courses, along with nearby schools.

It supports various types of courses, including art, anthropology, botany, biology, entomology, ecology, morphology, landscape plants, plant pathology, ornamental horticulture, taxonomy, and photography.

Furthermore, plant materials are provided by the Gardens for many research related projects, exhibiting and testing plant species from around the world. The amazing diversity of plants is possible thanks to the “micro-climates” of Riverside’s subtropical and different terrains.

Wildlife find sanctuary here as well, due to the large assortment of vegetation. It is home to almost 200 different species of birds, which have been observed and officially recorded.

The campus is maintained separately, but is part of the Botanic Gardens. It acts as a demonstration for how the various landscape plants thrive in the climate around Riverside, California.


There are various collections, categorized by types of plants, and organize them by geographical location. They include:

  • Rose Gardens
  • Alder Canyon
  • Cactus Garden
  • Herb Garden
  • Iris Garden
  • Subtropical Fruit Orchard
  • Lilac Lane
  • Southwest Deserts Section
  • South African Garden
  • Sierra Foothills Section
  • Temperate Deciduous Forest
  • Australian Section
  • Other Aspects

Other than the numerous amounts of gardens provided for a relaxing stroll with great landscapes, other features include:

  • Geodesic Lath Dome
  • Plant Families Comparative Collection
  • Hiking Trails
  • Pond – Presenting Koi, Irises, Turtles, Cattails, and more.


Birds are a common sight, with about 200 different species spotted and recorded. Some of the more common being Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbird, mockingbird, California towhee, roadrunner, red-tailed hawk, raven and scrub jays.

Lizards, Bobcats, and Insects

In addition to birds, there are various retiles, mammals, and amphibians present in the Botanic Gardens. Some of them include:


  • Alligator lizard
  • Western fence lizard
  • Granite spiny lizard


  • Botta pocket gopher
  • Audubon cottontail
  • California ground squirrel
  • Gray Fox
  • Coyote