TR Robertson — There are many special places in and around Vista that fall into the Hidden Gem Category, places you may heard about or not visited yet. Alta Vista Botanical Gardens falls into that category. This amazing set of gardens, situated on 13 acres in Brengle Terrace Park, has provided a calming escape for many since the gardens opening in the early 2000’s. The idea for Alta Vista Gardens began in the late 1990’s with a non-profit group overseeing the project in 1999. The Master Plan for the gardens was approved by the Vista City Council in 2005.
The Mission of Alta Vista is to bring together people, nature and art as well as providing an interactive living classroom for the students in San Diego County. The gardens have accomplished this with a variety of areas created that display flora and fauna unique to that area’s designation. Trails wind throughout the garden allowing visitors the opportunity to explore each area. The various areas include Australian Garden, Conifer & Fern Garden, Pan Asian Garden, California Natives Garden, Desert Garden, Medicine Wheel, Inspirational Rock Garden, Jungle Garden and Lower Jungle Garden, Sub-Tropical Garden, Tropical Fruit Garden, Prehistoric Cycad Garden, Ceremonial Garden, South African Garden, Labyrinth, Reception Rose Garden, the Palapa and the Children’s Garden. In 2007, a 35 ft. tall obelisk, resembling the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., was built in the center of the paved road across from the Garden House & Shop.
In each of the gardens, intriguing plants, water features and amazing sculptures offer guests a chance to hike, relax, contemplate, and learn about the variety of things the garden offers. World-class plants abound including rare roses and towering trees, proteas and rare fruits can be found. One of the most popular places in Alta Vista is the Children’s Garden and Discovery Trail. Throughout Alta Vista are over 18 sculptures, incorporated into the garden design. Eight of these large metal sculptures were made by Ricardo Breceda and include dinosaurs, a scorpion, giraffes, and a large sea serpent. There are a number of ponds and small waterfalls in Alta Vista where frogs, turtles and occasional egrets can be found. The North American Butterfly Association and the National Wildlife Foundation have certified Alta Vista Gardens.
The Children’s Garden is under the direction of Nancy B. Jones, known as Farmer Jones, Director of Children’s Programs at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens. A large number of programs are offered for children of all ages and can be found online at Alta Vista’s web page, www.altavistabotanicalgardens.org. Nancy said, “Alta Vista Botanical Gardens stayed open through the pandemic and provided an opportunity for Vista to get outdoors safely – for exercise or for meditation. Kids in the Garden classes continued, masks worn, and separation maintained. Our Adopt-a-Gardeners keep the beds neat and welcoming. AVBG was a pressure-relief valve for our community. Our membership has grown four-fold since January 2020 as people discovered this hidden gem right here in Brengle Terrace Park!”
One of first stops visitors should make is at the entrance, a nominal fee of $5 for adults for non-members and $3 for children is requested. Maps of the Gardens are available at the entrance. This map will give you recommendations for ways to visit and enjoy the Gardens. Docents can be found around the Garden who can also offer advise or answer questions. There is also a Garden House and Shop where visitors can obtain a variety of gifts or materials about gardening, plants, and other subjects.
Many people visit Alta Vista Botanical Gardens for the first time when they attend one of the unique festivities held at the Garden. Close to 1,000 people wandered and enjoyed a fun time as they attended the Meading at the Garden on April 2nd. This mead and brewery festival used a number of the locations in Alta Vista for their tents and displays. The Gardens hosted the Earth Day Festival on April 23rd. Later in the year will be Fall Fun Festival on October 15th and Novemberfest on November 19th.
The Gardens are open daily Monday-Friday from 8 am until 5 pm and on weekends from 10 am until 5 pm. If you would like to contact someone at the Gardens call 760-945-3954 or email email@example.com. It is located at 1270 Vale Terrace Drive, at the top of the hill inside Brengle Terrace Park. The Gardens is a popular wedding and reception venue. Membership at Alta Vista can be obtained that will get you daily access to the Gardens. Volunteers are always needed at the Gardens.
If you live in Vista and have not visited Alta Vista Botanical Gardens you should add this beautiful spot in Vista to your must-see list. You will not be disappointed.