Wrigley Botanical Gardens
The Wrigley Botanical Gardens are located about 1.5 miles up Avalon Canyon Road. The gardens are open year round from 8am-5pm. There are a few ways to get there. You can walk if you’re able – the walk is all uphill, but enjoyable, with lots to see as you pass the Catalina Island Golf Course, baseball field, and finally the Hermit Gulch Campground. You can also rent a bicycle or a golf cart, or take the Catalina Island Trolley.
The Wrigley Botanical Gardens were established in 1945, under the direction of Ada Wrigley, the wife of William Wrigley Jr. In the center of the garden is the Wrigley Memorial or the Monument, which commemorates William Wrigley, who lived from 1861-1932. Originally about 38 acres, the gardens were expanded and revitalized in 1969.
Originally, Ada Wrigley along with horticulturist Albert Conrad designed the garden to showcase desert plants from all over the world. Catalina’s temperate marine climate was (and still is) the perfect location to support plants of all types. However, with the expansion in 1969, a new direction for the gardens was established, with a special emphasis on native California island plants. The new plantings showcased plants that come only from islands off Southern California’s coast, some of which are extremely rare and on the endangered species list. Of particular interest are six species which are endemic to Catalina Island, including the rare Catalina Ironwood.
In 1996, the Catalina Island Conservancy merged with the Wrigley Memorial Garden Foundation. These two organizations share a common goal and vision for the island.
The Wrigley Monument, located at the top of the gardens, pays tribute to the man who loved Catalina Island the most, William Wrigley. The monument itself embodies his ideals, built with native clay tile, blue flagstone quarried from the island, and red roof tiles made by the Catalina Pottery Plant.
The view from the monument, perched high above Avalon, is well worth the hike. On a clear day you can see right across to the Palos Verdes, and the Catalina coastline. It’s a great place to stop and sit, take in the islands natural beauty, soak in the view, and remember the man that was responsible for so much development while remaining committed to the preservation of Catalina Island.
The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden
Hours: Open daily from 8am-5pm year round.
Admission Fees: Adults $5, Children under 12 Free.
Contact the Catalina Island Conservancy at P.O. Box 2739, Avalon, CA 90704. Call (310) 510 2595.