The exhibits at the Botanical Garden display a selection of foliage native to a different area of the world. There are many biomes you can walk through, including a rainforest, local Californian wildlife, a bamboo garden, and more.
Other special exhibits of note at San Diego Botanic Garden include a bird and butterfly garden, an overlook area, and an attraction dedicated to educating visitors about fire-safe landscaping.
The Bamboo Garden is the largest public collection of bamboo in the country. It is accredited by the North American Plant Collections Consortium in recognition of the role it's played in recognition, plant research, and conservation awareness.
At the exhibit, you can learn about the traditional use of bamboo in zen gardens as a decoration, its more functional uses, and its cultural and historical significance.
Wide Variety of Plants
The gardens include over 5,000 varieties of plants from all over the world including tropical, subtropical, and California native plants.
Bird and Butterfly Garden
The Bird and Butterfly Garden is part of the Pollinator Project, which is a research project that focuses primarily on the relationship between different plants and their pollinators. This is part of an effort to increase bee populations to counteract the devastation caused by environment destruction and uninhabitable conditions.
In this exhibit, you may spot any of the over 650 species of bees native to the San Diego area, but that's far from all you'll see. As the name suggests, it's also an amazing place to bird watch, and butterflies often frequent the nectar-rich bushes. Snap a photo of a rare bird with vibrant feathers or, if you're lucky, let a butterfly land right on the tip of your nose!
If you spend a lot of time at tourist attractions in California, it's easy to forget about some of its natural beauty. While beaches and sun-warmed waters may be the first thing to come to mind, these are far from the only natural environments present throughout the state.
The California Gardenscapes area is split into over a dozen different ecological zones to simulate the multiple environments that can be found in Southern California. These zones include coastal dunes, a wildflower meadow, the bioswale, the foothill garden, and many more, each one showing how varied the local landscape can be.
Dickinson Family Education Conservatory
Inside the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory, you'll find a wide range of tropical plants that require warmer conditions than those available outside. There are nearly 5,000 plant species inside the 8,000 square foot glass conservatory, which makes for an incredibly unique experience.
The exterior of the conservatory features various rare and critically endangered plants. As you enter the building, look up to see the hanging gardens suspended from the roof. These "plant chandeliers" are truly a sight to behold!
Landscape for Fire Safety
Wildfires pose a danger to both human lives and natural ecosystems alike, but they also play a role in bringing new life to old forests. It is important to know the possible threat of these fires when they are out of control, what happens to a forest before and after a fire, and what you can do to reduce the risk of contributing to a dangerous fire.
Many of California's native plants dry out when there is little rain, which means wildfires can spread quickly. In this exhibit, you'll learn about the threat these fires pose to California residents and ways the risk of fire damage and out-of-control wildfires can be managed with fire buffer zones and the use of certain less flammable plants.
Native Plants and Native People Trail
The Native Plants and Native People Trail showcases how the West Coast's earliest residents lived alongside the land and used it to their advantage. Indigenous tribes like the Kumeyaay developed methods for living in harmony with their environments without depleting natural resources. The trail includes the southern maritime chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitats, both of which are now among the rarest in the United States.
Olive Tree Garden
The Olive Tree Garden is home to an ancient olive tree that was originally planted over a hundred years ago and still stands today. The tree was donated by Ancient Olive Trees during the San Diego County Fair in 2008, and it has become a very well-known centerpiece at the Botanic Garden.
Overlook Natural Area
The Overlook Natural Area is the perfect spot to get a good look at everything the San Diego Botanical Garden has to offer. You can get a bird's-eye view of the different zones in the garden, plan the path you'll take through them, or take advantage of an incredible natural photo backdrop.
The area is also heavily involved in conservation efforts. You can spot the critically endangered Del Mar Manzanita among other rare plants, which are being germinated to replace their dwindling population. You can also learn about efforts to reduce the spread of invasive plants in Southern California.
Tropical and Temperate Rainforest
The Tropical and Temperate Rainforest zone is one of the many geographical areas represented in the San Diego Botanic Garden. There are over 300 different species in this section of the garden, all surrounding a huge 60-foot waterfall.
This miniature rainforest is a once-in-a-lifetime sight, complete with deciduous and conifer trees, mosses, shrubs, ferns, and orchids.
Many of these rainforest plants are especially large, with leaves as big as six feet long and trees dozens of feet tall. The bunya bunya trees are especially notable for their pine cones, which are 10 pounds and can grow to be roughly the size of a human head.