LA’s botanical gardens are in full bloom. From the 127-acre Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden (which has its own dedicated Children’s Garden complete with a fairy doors) to smaller, more hidden gems around town, here are 10 kid-friendly gardens to explore.

Descanso Gardens

Travel about 15 miles north of Downtown to discover this 160-acre garden in La Cañada Flintridge. You could easily spend all day wandering the grounds, which include the majestic Oak Forest with trees hundreds of years old, the serene Japanese-style garden with its shaded paths and koi-filled stream, and the Children's Maze, located just beyond the rose garden. Once the wet weather subsides, stop by to see tulips, lilacs, camellias and more in full bloom. Today Descanso Gardens is home to North America’s largest camellia collection. Of course, you'll also want to make sure to set aside time for a ride aboard the Enchanted Railroad, a 1/8th-scale replica of a diesel train that takes you on a tour through the gardens.

Read our full guide to exploring Descanso Gardens with kids here

Hours: Daily, 9a.m.-5p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults; $5 for children 5-12; children under 5 are free

1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge

South Coast Botanic Garden

Located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, The South Coast Botanic Garden boasts 87-acres and features more than 2,500 different species of plants from as far away as Australia and southern Africa. Popular features include a small lake, Mediterranean Garden, Rose Garden, Garden for the Senses, Cactus Garden, Children’s Garden, Fuchsia Garden, Dahlia Garden, Herb Garden, and Japanese Garden. Kids with energy to burn will love running on the sprawling Wedding Lawn, with itstwo gazebos. There is also a picnic area located outside of the garden gates.

Hours: 8a.m.-5p.m.

Cost: Adults, $15; seniors (62 and over), $11; students (with ID), $11; children (5 – 12), $5; free for children 4 and under

26300 Crenshaw Blvd.
Palos Verdes

Huntington Botanical Gardens

The pristine Huntington Botanical Gardens is home to 16 themed gardens spread across 120 acres. In addition to the Children's Garden where little ones can play among topiary animals and discover charming fairy doors, there's also the the Lily Ponds, home to turtles, bullfrogs and turtles, bullfrogs and ducks; the Zen-like Japanese Garden, the tropical Jungle Garden with its canopy of trees, giant leaves and climbing vines, and the Chinese Garden where you can wander behind a waterfall.

If the kiddos aren't too tuckered out from exploring outdoors, squeeze in a quick visit to the Conservatory, a 16,000 square-foot greenhouse offering interactive exhibits and a chance to see some of the world's most unusual plants. 

Hours: Daily, except Tues., 10a.m.-5p.m.
Cost: $25 for adults ($29 on weekends); $13 for children 4-11; children under 4 are free

1151 Oxford Rd.
San Marino

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Where else can kids follow a peacock, check out a train depot from the 1800s and relax by a waterfall? Located on 127 acres, this wildlife haven truly has it all.  Grab a map at the entrance or simply wander the winding paths and discover the water lilies, shaded benches, wide open lawns and more. If you're an orchid-lover, be sure to also stop by the greenhouse, where thousands of the plants are always in bloom.

Hours: Daily, 9a.m.-4:30p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults; $5 for children 5-12; children under 4 are free

301 N. Baldwin Ave. 

UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

Located on the UCLA campus, this garden is a true urban oasis, packing a variety of settings into 7.5 acres. There's the Subtropic Woodland with its faity-tale-like willow and fig trees; The Stream that runs through the center of the garden and is home to koi, turtles and crayfish; The Habitat Garden, a favorite spot for butterflies and hummingbirds; and so much more. Bring Fido along, too—pets on leashes are allowed!

Hours: Open daily; exact times vary depending on the season
Cost: Free

707 Tiverton Dr. 

Arlington Garden

This drought-tolerant, three-acre garden welcomes visitors (including pets!) daily, at no charge. Here, you'll find a citrus grove, kid-friendly rock maze, a succulent fountain, wishing tree and more. Birds, bees and butterflies all call this garden home and can be seen throughout the year.

Hours: Daily, 8a.m.-6p.m.
Cost: Free

275 Arlington Dr.

photo: Shahrzad Warkentin

Exposition Park Rose Garden

After being closed for annual maintenance from Jan. 1 to Mar. 15, The Rose Garden reopens to showcase its latest blooms. It's located in Exposition Park, right near the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Stroll through to discover beds of roses and a beautiful central fountain perfect for making wishes. 

Hours: 9a.m.-Sunset
Cost: Free

701 State Dr. 
Los Angeles

S. Mark Taper Life Science Botanical Garden

If you're looking for a quick garden fix in the San Fernando Valley, visit this two-acre garden on the Pierce College campus in Woodland Hills. The peaceful spot features drought-tolerant trees and cactuses, flowers and bushes, and grapevines trellising the central pergola. Wildlife-loving kids can have fun spotting hummingbirds, egrets, ducks, squirrels, cottontail rabbits, frogs, lizards and turtles. 

Cost: Free; parking permit required on weekdays
Hours: Open daily, 6a.m. to 11p.m.

6201 Winnetka Ave.
Woodland Hills

photo: Shannan Rouss

Conejo Valley Botanic Garden

The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is 33-acres of natural terrain in Thousand Oaks. From the the sweeping vistas at the peak of the Garden through fifteen unique, hillside specialty gardens, and onto the hiking trail along the steam, the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is a destination not to be missed. In addition to the Herb Garden, Butterfly Garden and Lillian's Meadow (featuring a variety of native and drought-tolerant plants), there's the can't-miss Kids' Adventure Garden, where you'll find a tree house, tea party and much more. 

Hours: Main garden is open daily, sunrise to sunset. The adjacent Kids' Adventure Garden is open 11a.m.-3p.m. on Sun. only.
Cost: Free

400 W. Gainsborough Rd.
Thousand Oaks

–Shannan Rouss


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