Transport yourself to Arizona

Transport yourself to Arizona

Why Stanford’s Arizona Garden a blooming cactusis also called Cactus Garden is quite obvious when you come closer. Here are more than 500 species of cacti and succulent. In fact, these species are from around the world, not just local to Arizona.

 

I was there when some of them were in bloom; what a spectacular site!

 

While lizards are native they tend to be rare to find, but here you have a great chance to see them. We saw at least three on our little excursion.

another cactusYou can find this free garden between Campus Drive and Arboretum Road. It  is a bit of a hidden treasure; when I asked about this in the visitor center, the students had to ask around to find out where it was.

 

Have you ever been to this garden?  What did you think?

 

Do you have another favorite public garden?

Hanging out with elephant seals

Hanging out with elephant seals

There are two options I am aware of to see these interesting seals up close.
First is Año Nuevo State Park and also Piedras Bianca near San Simion.
In order to see the seals in Ano Nuevo you have to book a tour online that, if you want to pick times that suit you, you probably have to book about two weeks in advance. I think the $7 per person plus $10 for parking was well spent. On a 2 ½ hour hike we learned a lot about the seals and came up close to watch the little babies get nursed.

Piedras Bianca has a short, more accessible, walk up to a viewing point where a park ranger answers questions. Here no reservation is necessary but a donation is appreciated.  

female seal
Female seal taking a rest

January/February are probably the most visited months for the state park to see the elephant seals. Breeding season is from late December till early February. In March the adults leave their pubs behind. Yes! Imagine that. The pubs tech themselves to swim and will depart in April to swim up north.

Mature females will be somewhat pregnant after about 24 days after giving birth, they do a delayed implantation which means the fertilized egg will not be implanted in the wall of the uterus for another four month.

Another unbelievable fact is that the females don’t eat anything while they give birth, nurse and breed, and the males go without food for up to three months while they are on land mating.

Do you know of any other places to watch elephant seals in the Bay Area?