We celebrated Mother's Day this year with a visit to the Arboretum. JJ, Joe and I took my Mom, MiMi (as she has been known since JJ was small and could not pronounce Grammy) and had a very enjoyable day. There is a lot of walking and the tram tour which is fabulous was not leaving for several hours so we rented a wheelchair at the gift shop ($10) and took off!
There are peacocks everywhere and some of them had white stickers covering the "eyes" on their tail feathers. A docent explained that they are part of a breeding experiment to see if the females still find them attractive and agree to mate with them.
We headed out for the Queen Anne's Cottage best known as the Fantasy Island Hotel - you remember….da plane…..da plane??? The cottage was built by Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin in 1881 for entertaining. There was no kitchen in the house so meals were transported from the adobe house nearby where Baldwin actually lived. The Arboretum was originally part of the thirteen thousand (plus) acre Rancho Santa Anita previously inhabited by the Gabrielino Indians. They served as laborers for much of the building and you can visit wickiups and a model Gabrielino village near the adobe.
Baldwin was a prominent businessman, dabbling in many money making schemes. He started Santa Anita Racetrack located across the street from the Arboretum and was famous for breeding racehorses. He made most of his fortune on the Comstock Lode buying and selling silver mines. To say that he was an interesting fellow who lived life to the fullest would be an understatement!
Walk down the trail toward the Coach Barn past a wall of prickly pear cactus and a grove of tangerines. Around the bend is the rose garden. It was spectacular and you could smell the roses before you could see them!
The Mayberg Waterfall and Meadowbrook area are where Joe and I were married many years ago. I also brought Joe here to tell him we were expecting JJ so we have many connections to this gorgeous spot. On this day it was filled with Canada geese and their goslings as well as a mallard duck and her fluffy ducklings curled up for a nap.
We walked along the road trying to identify the trees before we came to the signs displaying their "real" names and spotted many flowers and bushes we recognized. The Tule Pond was alive with red eared slider turtle and huge (I mean HUGE) Koi begging for a handout. A flock of green parrots flew in squawking loudly and we were simply dazzled with how rich the area is with LIFE and beauty!
It was getting a bit hot as we made our way back to the Visitor's Center walking past the Shakespeare, herb and cactus gardens. In the distance you can always hear the peacocks shouting, "HELP" and the honking of territorial geese. We turned in the wheelchair, had a look around the gift shop and headed out to In and Out for the perfect end to a perfect day - burgers, fries and chocolate shakes. It was a PERFECT Mother's Day!
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. The LA County Arboretum is open daily from 9-5 and there are many special exhibits and events throughout the year.
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