Coach Miller on Trip Advisor
10 months ago
10/19/2020, 01:34 AM
Enjoy a hidden gem
My wife, 2 young children, and I have been going here for years. It's lovely! Unfortunately, the enormous wind storm of Dec 2011 diminished it's beauty. The silver lining to that would be how every day the Arboretum literally gets better and better. This will continue for years, until it's back to it's previous perfection. The Arboretum is a perfect place to take a healthy, long walk. There are large ponds to see turtles, huge Koi, ducks, and of course peacocks. You're not supposed to feed them, because some people are idiots and feed them things they're not supposed to eat (do your research!), but it will be a lasting memory for any young child. There's a fantastic staircase by a lovely waterfall that's perfect for getting your heart rate up. If you pack a lunch and a blanket you can spend a long, cheap day here enjoying the quiet and beauty and fresh(er) air.
All that said, I should point out the negatives. The employees tend to be young Chinese-American high school students who are being forced to volunteer by their parents for their college application transcripts, and it shows. Most of them are devoid of emotion, kindness, customer service, or joy. When you go to the gift shop you can save time by replacing any questions you may have with "I don't know." Also, as the Arboretum does rely on donations to survive, they have a large donation box at the entrance. Being that Arcadia is mostly populated with well-to-do but very stingy anti-charity anti-donation people, I've literally been sneered at for putting $ in the donation box, which I do every single time I go. It's an odd but common occurrence! It was explained to me that in their culture (I'm not stating who, as I don't need anyone flagging me as racist) it's all about "saving face." Since I'm donating, and my kids are donating, and "they" won't and don't, it's shaming them by my putting $ in the donation box. At any rate, I mention this because I urge you to donate to the box, even if it's just $1, but do expect strange looks.
Another negative is that, while the place urges quiet and parents are expected to control their kids, some parents just don't. I enjoy meditating, and there are always a few people engaged through the park's tranquil glades and nooks, and I've literally had children run around me, screaming or acting like sugared-out chimpanzees, while I was in meditation. For the most part, the children do behave here, but as it is an affluent area, I suppose it's better than it would be in other areas.
They have a good cafe with good coffee and decent snacks that aren't as ridiculously overpriced as you might expect. The only time I visit it though is in the hottest days, where I'll treat the family to those delicious and hard-to-find Nestle ice cream cookie sandwiches.
So, in essence, I can say it's a beautiful place, and only getting more beautiful. There are forest aspects, lake aspects, walking paths, plenty of shade and sun to be had. While you may do your best to avoid others and keep your distance, there is a bit of culture shock if you do encounter "the locals." If you go, and I suggest you do, teach your children to respect nature and others, as I have done with my children. There's few places in So Cal as good to get away from city living, and enjoy a healthy nature walk, as good as this place. Once the pandemic is over, they'll bring back their awesome events like Summer Concert Series and Snakes in the Park (classic Cobras parked thru the park! One of my favorites!).