Events + News


As an integral part of our mission to connect people to plants, the Garden acts as a community gathering place for a wide variety of events. We host thought-provoking programs that connect people to nature, promote appreciation of plants, and explore our world through new lenses. Sign up for our newsletter below or here to be the first to receive event announcements.

Mindfulness in Nature

Join us at 4 p.m. on October 5, 2023 for a health and wellness program led by Diana Winston, one of America’s best-known mindfulness experts and the Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. This event kicks off our year-long public learning series.

We will learn about mindful garden appreciation and practice a walking meditation, then come back together to share our experiences. We hope to see you there!

RSVP to secure your spot.

Public Tour

Explore our living museum featuring collections of plants from around the globe! Join a Garden Guide for a free tour of the Botanical Garden on October 7 at 10 a.m.

You’ll hear the stories of selected plants in the Garden and their relevance to human society. All ages are welcome. Tours meet at the La Kretz Garden Pavilion at the northern end of the Garden and are given a grace period of 5 minutes.

Find us on Eventbrite and RSVP to secure your spot. Drop-ins are welcome but may be limited based on each month’s availability.

After Hours in the Garden with Project Phoenix

On Thursday, October 12 from 4 to 6 p.m., join Project Phoenix and the UCLA Mathias Botanical Garden for a special edition of After Hours in the Garden. Project Phoenix leverages the power of community to learn more about how wildfire smoke impacts California birds.

Meet at the La Kretz Garden Pavillion to learn more about Project Phoenix, the Garden, and ways to get involved in community science. Enjoy light refreshments and a guided evening bird walk through the Garden.

RSVP here.

Trails & Treats: Plant Sale and Giveaway

Head to the Garden on October 27, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for our annual plant sale and giveaway!

Are you a Garden Member? Get early access to the plant sale starting at 9 a.m. Your first plant is on us! Additional plants available for purchase. Not a Garden member? Sign up here.

9am to 10am: Members Only Hour – Members get a free plant and are entered to win a water bottle and tote bag!

10am to 4pm: Open to the public – Join us for candy, photo ops, merch, music, our plant sale, and themed trails 🎃

RSVP today!

Fowler Museum Garden Procession

A special live performance kicks off the Fowler Museum’s new exhibition. Artist and abolitionist Patrisse Cullors will lead a spiritual procession through the UCLA campus. This program is free and open to the public. The performance begins at the La Kretz Garden Pavilion and ends at the Fowler Museum.

The House Was Too Small: Yoruba Sacred Arts from Africa and Beyond features more than 100 remarkable works from Nigeria, Benin, Brazil, Cuba, and the United States. Explore the exhibition while it remains open until June 2, 2024.

Learn more and RSVP.


The wildest place on campus

Managing Director Dr. Andy Kleinhesselink guided our Garden staff through the trails of Sage Hill, a richly diverse outdoor learning space with myriad possibilities. Check out this recent Daily Bruin piece or learn more about Sage Hill here.

The highest elevation herbarium in the world?

Garden volunteers are digitizing 700 plant specimens from the White Mountains of California! Barcroft Station sits above the bristlecone pines at 12,470 feet. Inside the main quonset hut building resides a single herbarium cabinet of plant specimens collected over the past 90 years.

This unique and valuable resource will soon be accessible to all. UCLA Herbarium volunteers are creating high quality images of the specimens. These images will become online resources for scientists and researchers. Learn more about White Mountain Research Center here.

The Garden lauded as a therapeutic landscape by StatNews

In a recent article, Isabella Cueto sheds light on the healing power of gardens. She writes, “The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is one of many variations on green spaces near hospitals. Restorative gardens are meant to help patients and health care workers find relief away from difficult, fluorescent-lit health care environments.” The Garden is proud to be a source of peace for the UCLA Health community and beyond. Read the full article here.

Best Venues in Westwood

The Vendry lists us among their top venues in Westwood. Host your next unforgettable event with the Garden; explore our venues and submit booking requests here.

Top 5 Things to Do at UCLA named exploring the Garden one of the top 5 things to do at UCLA, describing it as “a haven for plant lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat from campus bustle.” We’re proud to be a can’t-miss experience among all that UCLA has to offer. Read the full article here.

Top 10 Best Parks for Pictures and Bird Sanctuaries

Yelp included us on their list of the Top 10 Best Parks for Pictures near Los Angeles, as well as the Top 10 Best Bird Sanctuaries near Santa Monica. The Garden provides a stunning backdrop for film and photography; explore permitting options here.

UCLA receives $1.5 million to further waterworks project at Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

See how Charlie and Peggy Norris’s donation will further promote sustainability in the garden and help move forward exciting improvements to The Stream. Read the full article here.

Garden Newsletter 

Everyday the Garden is growing and changing. Subscribe below to receive updates in your inbox every month. Read our past newsletters here.

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After Hours in the Garden

Experience the Garden after hours featuring Comedian and Naturalist Tobin Mitnick! Appreciate the beauty of the Garden in a cool and relaxing atmosphere. Indulge in refreshing beverages, delectable light appetizers, and delightful music. Wrap up the evening with a Garden tour.

July 26, 2023

Check-in: 5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Talk Trees with Comedian & Naturalist Tobin Mitnick: 5:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Garden Tours Departing: 5:45 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Ongoing: music, beverages, and light appetizers

Photo by Matt Kallish

Become a Naturalist Day

Celebrate native plants with the Garden! Create native wildflower seed bombs, embark on a garden scavenger hunt, and enjoy a complimentary garden tour!

Drop-in anytime between 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. to participate.

On-going Activities: Scavenger Hunt & Wildflower Seed Balls

10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Storytime

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Guided Tour

12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Botanical Illustrations Activity

Family-friendly free public programming at the Garden

Fall Friend-raiser

October 4th, 2022

Ever wanted to adopt a plant from our Garden? Now you can! Join us for our Fall Friendraiser and grab a new plant friend (or two!) for your collection.

In exchange for vouchers, you are able to adopt plants, books, & more. Your donation goes a long way to support LA’s only free-admission botanical garden and helps us keep our living museum thriving!

Vouchers cannot be obtained in advance and must be purchased at the entrance.

You don’t want to miss out on this once-a-year event!
(Active members and active volunteers receive two vouchers. No RSVP is necessary. Supplies are limited. The line begins at 9am and entry is not guaranteed.)

Twilight Hours

August 2022

Members get exclusive access to the Garden from 5:30-7:30 PM every Thursday night in August. Why not pick something up from the Westwood Village Farmer’s Market or bring your own picnic and enjoy an enchanting summer evening amongst the trees?

Or better yet, have a picnic with a friend near the Palms Section and relax with our friendly squirrels.

Check-in begins at the La Kretz Garden Pavilion at 5:15PM. Don’t have an active membership?

Click here to purchase or renew online.

Festival of Trees

April 29, 2022

In honor of Earth Month and in collaboration with UCLA Health and the Office of Sustainability, we are celebrating all things trees this April 29th. Visit the Garden any time from 12pm – 2pm and participate in an interactive stamp rally where you’ll learn more about some of the most iconic trees in the Garden. Collect all eight stamps and you’ll have the chance to take home a special plant prize!*

Interesting Urban Insects

April 17th 2021 – Online

At the Botanical Garden, insects can be observed pollinating flowers, moving seeds, and so much more. Have you ever stopped to wonder what’s flying, crawling, and wriggling around our city? Over 3,000 species of insects have been observed in Los Angeles on the iNaturalist/Seek apps, and new species are still being discovered by scientists today! Anyone can become a community scientist and help to identify and document species living in our city. Meet your insect neighbors and get ready for the 2021 City Nature Challenge.

• Explore how to use the Seek app
• Learn about insect identification
• Interview with UCLA scientists Eva Horna Lowell & Alejandra Gamboa
• Print your very own Insect Explorer Guide

Houseplant Natural History Event

Natural History & Care of Popular Houseplants

March 6th 2021 – Online

Have you ever wondered what your Monstera deliciosa would be like in the wild? Why Tillandsia don’t require soil? Join us to learn about the unique adaptations plants have to survive in their natural habitats, and how that impacts their care in your home.

Led by Botanical Garden staff Terry Huang and Jules Cooch, this intimate conversation will cover a variety of popular houseplants and connect them to interesting specimens in the Garden. Grab your favorite warm beverage and get cozy with us on Saturday morning before caring for all your favorite fronds.

Though much of our programming is free, this special event was limited to Garden Members and was not recorded.

Plant Stories Trapped in Tar: Paleobotany at the La Brea Tar Pits

February 25th 2021 – Online

The La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles, California are world famous for their preservation of Ice-Age mammals, especially the iconic, extinct megafauna such as saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, mammoths and mastodons. What is less known, is that the unique asphaltic preservation of past life at La Brea includes much more than mammals, but entire ecosystems of Los Angeles from the Late Pleistocene through the Holocene spanning the last ~57,000 years. While much attention has been given to the fauna, relatively little is known about plant life during this time. Fossil plants preserved at the La Brea Tar Pits include seeds, wood, leaves, needles, cones, pollen and phytoliths. We will detail how these ancient floras reveal a rich history of climatic and environmental change in Los Angeles and Southern California over the last several millennia leading to the formation of our modern day ecosystems. Join scientists Dr. Regan Dunn, Assistant Curator at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, and Jessie George, UCLA PhD Candidate, to explore the ancient flora of Los Angeles and learn about the fascinating field of paleobotany. Learn more about the La Brea Tar Pits at:

Botany of the Holidays 2020

December 3rd 2020 – Online

Seasonal festivities bring together traditions, history, family and friends. To a botanist, they are also a case study of the deeply interconnected relationship between nature and culture. Join us for the 4th annual Botany of the Holidays as we travel to China and Brazil to share the botanical origins of some winter holiday traditions, and see just how important plants are to celebrations around the world. This year’s speakers include:

• Terry Huang • Assistant Director, Botanical Garden
• Xinyi Yan • UCLA Alumna, PhD Student at UT Austin
• Marcel Vaz • UCLA PhD Student, Kraft Lab

Nature Journaling Workshop

with Artist Deborah Shaw

October 10th 2020 10:00am – Online

Focused observation—drawing, sketching, and writing—changes how we look at the world around us. Nature journaling forces us to see, instead of look. Suitable for all levels and ages (including beginners) this workshop will explore various journaling techniques to enhance drawing skills, explore ideas and document our place and time. The only required supplies are pencil (a regular #2 or softer) and paper, although any other art supplies are certainly welcome. A reference sheet handout is available here. Watch the recording here.

ARS Electronica Festival

Telluric Vibrations — ARS Electronica Festival

September 9th-13th 2020

UCLA Art Sci Center x Botanical Garden

The UCLA Art Sci Center and the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical were excited to collaborate as a site in the prestigious ARS Electronica Festival! Virtual events were recorded throughout the course of the five days. From oak genomics and interspatial communication to COVID-themed opera and fungal projections, a wide variety of topics were explored! The festival was started in 1979, and this year’s theme encompassed ecology, art, design, humanity, and the dynamic changes we have experienced related to the global pandemic. Watch more archived videos here.

The UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a promoter of nature at a California land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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