Peacocks (as the suffix of the word hints) are never females. If you’re looking at a peacock, you’re looking at a male bird. If you’re looking at a peacock with large peacock feather plumage, you’re looking at a horny male bird. The lady birds are known as peahens, and together the birds are known as peafowl. The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is home to roughly 200 peafowl.
The Arboretum, located in Arcadia, near the San Gabriel Mountains, is a 127-acre plot of land that houses garden and plant collections from across the world. It’s an official wildlife sanctuary, so, in addition to those peacocks and peahens, you can see all manner of migratory birds, aquatic creatures, and small reptiles and mammals.
Beyond all its Mother Nature-bequeathed beauty, the Arboretum is a historical site with Native American, Rancho Period and late 19th century architectural gems.
Perhaps the most elegant piece of structural splendor on the property is the Queen Anne Cottage. Constructed in 1885-86, Elias “Lucky” Baldwin gifted it to his 16-year-old bride (one of four brides he’d walk down the isle) as a wedding present. Baldwin, a savvy ninetieth century businessman, bought the property, then known as Rancho Santa Anita, in 1875 and is responsible for much of the land’s development. The subdivision of some of his land holdings is also responsible for the formation of the towns of Arcadia and Monrovia, California.
You can tour the cottage’s interior (note the peacock-themed stitching in the carpet) on the weekends. If you find yourself at the arboretum on a weekday, you’ll have to settle for peaking inside the windows. But the wraparound porch with its marble floors and the crisp white, red and blue accented walls are nothing shy of gorgeous.
The arboretum has plants from Africa, Australia, the Canary Islands and Madagascar. The plants of Madagascar’s Spiny Forest habitat represent one of the most endangered floras on Earth. They also marvelously make you feel like you’ve wandered into a garden fit for slew of Dr. Seuss characters.
Go to the arboretum in February, and the Magnolias are in bloom. And the smells. Oh, sweet honeysuckle, and lavender, and jasmine and other unidentifiable (by us) aromas of spring wafting into your nostrils and snuggle into your soul.
Give yourself three to four hours to explore.
The arboretum is significantly less expensive than entry into Huntington Gardens.
Technically, you are not permitted to bring food or beverage into the gardens. We brought a blanket and a bottle of wine and secreted ourselves away under a pine tree.
Students with ID. and Seniors age 62 and older: $6.00
Children Ages 5-12: $4.00
Children under 5: free
For information, call 626.821.3222.
Take the Gold Line and Metro bus to the Arboretum
You can use public transit to get to the Arboretum. Just take a Metro bus or train to Union Station, and then transfer to the Gold Line and get off at the Sierra Madre Villa station.
From there you can transfer to Foothill Transit buses or Metro buses that will take you within a short walking distance to the Arboretum.