Today’s adventures with the little ones took us to the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon, and I’m here to encourage you to make a visit with your family sooner than I did with mine! I’ve been meaning to check this place out for over a year now, but the 20-minute drive always deterred me from making the trip out there. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the drive was really only 15 minutes from La Mesa, went super quick, and was well worth it!
First off, admission is FREE, and the gardens are open daily (excluding holidays) from 9am – 4pm. My initial intention to visit was set solely on entertaining my kids for a couple of hours, but I left with a pinterest-board-like mind full of ideas on how to revamp my backyard into a more drought tolerate landscape! From grasses, to rocks, to mulch, to plant life and more…the 6 acres of garden displays are sure to get your creative landscape juices flowing!
At the entrance, our kids were given a scavenger hunt with the motivation of a prize from the treasure box to complete it. *Side note – the bathrooms are right at the entrance, so make sure to make a stop on your way in. *Additional side note – the treasure box prizes are not that great, so don’t get their hopes up TOO much 🙂 We started at the Butterfly Pavilion (which we will be returning to in early April to see the butterflies in action) and wound our way up to the Jurassic Garden. This is the most “kid-friendly” spot with a sandbox and toys, dinosaur “skeletons” and facts, and a small playhouse to enjoy.
From there we found dinosaur footprints, gnomes, stepping stones, garden jewels, fairy gardens, koi fish, and more! The trails were flat (even stroller friendly and…dog friendly!), there were plenty of places to stop in the shade for a rest or a snack, and so much to learn about along the way with clearly marked signs and labels at every corner.
On the way out, we ran into Ms. Smarty Plants, who was more than willing to engage with our children and teach them a thing or two about our native plant life. We’re already looking forward to going back for a free garden tour, buying some drought tolerant succulents for our garden, and enjoying more fun facts from Ms. Smarty Plants.
Water Conservation Garden
12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West
El Cajon, CA 92019