Viewing Peacocks in LA: Los Angeles County Arboretum

Themed gardens, fountains and a waterfall, a historic cottage with a peaceful lake… The list of things to see in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is long until you spot peacocks, walking gracefully and showcasing their multilayered tails willingly. And nothing else matters after that.

Last updated: April 28, 2024

Viewing peacocks in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Viewing peacocks in LA: Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Viewing Peacocks at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

“Why do you like peacocks?” The question popped up in my mind while we were driving to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden to see these resplendent birds from the pheasant family. “What makes them so special?”

Depicted in many children’s stories, the peacocks are viewed as integral parts of paradise-like gardens of rich masters and kings. For ages, these birds with multilayered, brightly-colored tails and slow gaits have been the epitome of grace and elegance. To this day, the peacocks stop almost every passerby in her tracks.

Listening to these thoughts inside my head, I was not sure if I was excited or indifferent about our little adventure. But viewing peacocks in the Los Angeles County Arboretum, one of the most beautiful gardens in Los Angeles, sounded like a really good idea.

Peacocks in LA: How to Get to Los Angeles County Arboretum

Approximately half an hour later, we finally saw our first peacocks in the Los Angeles area. Set near the San Gabriel Mountains, east of Pasadena, across the street from Santa Anita Park, the Los Angeles County Arboretum is mostly popular with locals. Hardly any tourist knows about this place, moreover considers any opportunity to view peacocks in one of LA’s public parks.

Embarrassingly enough, after living in Southern California for more than 10 years, I didn’t hear about this hidden gem until just recently. Since that day, the idea of watching peacocks in Los Angeles (outside of the LA Zoo) has been set firmly in my head.

Peacocks at the Los Angeles County Arboretum | Roads and Destination
Viewing peacocks in the Los Angeles County Arboretum

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Address: 301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden has worn many hats. Its story started as Rancho Santa Anita, an agricultural outpost of Mission San Gabriel. Later it belonged to Yankee capitalist Elias Jackson Baldwin whose name has been memorialized at the lake near the far end of the park.

Thanks to its convenient location and outstanding beauty, the Los Angeles County Arboretum has also been used as a movie set. Such Hollywood films as Fantasy Island, Tarzan and the Slave Gild, and Anaconda were shot here.

For locals, though, it’s a remarkable outdoor place to spend time with kids, learn about native and imported plants, and view peacocks, adapted to the climate of Los Angeles.

The places to explore in the Arboretum are abundant. From diverse botanical collections, such as Africa, Australia, Madagascar, and Canary Islands, to Queen Anne Cottage, one of the West Coast’s protected historic structures, horseshoe-shaped Baldwin Lake, the Rose Garden, and the Meyberg Waterfall, each corner of the Los Angeles County Arboretum holds unique treasures you ought to discover.

TIP: The originality and natural beauty of the place are on display the moment you pull over in the Los Angeles County Arboretum parking lot. The parking situation, however, may get complicated, especially on weekends. So plan your trip early in the morning to beat the crowds and have not only the Arboretum but also all the beautiful peacocks in this part of Los Angeles to yourself.

Peacocks in the Los Angeles County Arboretum | Roads and Destinations
Peacock show in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Peacocks in Los Angeles

Who do you think greets you first near the visitor center that also serves as the entrance to the park? A pair of the most curious peacocks that somehow sneaks out of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and lures the visitors inside with their stupendous coloration.

Gracefully pacing in front of the gate, the birds cast indifferent glances at passersby. These peacocks, easily some of the most fabulous residents of Los Angeles, are excellent performers that don’t show any discomfort in the growing ecstatic crowd with its frequent “oohs” and “wows”.

On the other side of the gate, more large birds show themselves to exuberant visitors. The peacocks in Los Angeles seem to be aware of their splendid looks and entertain their admirers to the best of their birdy abilities. In a leisurely manner, they turn around, showcasing all their colorful sides.

A few moments later, a loud shrill notifies the crowd that the peacocks are ready to open their gorgeous fantails. (Apparently, the mighty birds don’t want their grand shows to go unnoticed.) Delighted by the numerous clicks of the cameras that start working almost instantly, like professional runway models, the smart creatures start turning around once again, proudly displaying their luxurious tails.

TIP: Some people try to lure the birds closer by offering them nuts and seeds. The Los Angeles County Arboretum asks its visitors to not feed the peacocks. Peacocks, especially male peafowl, can be aggressive and cause injury. Walk away when the peacocks approach. Don’t chase or disturb them in any other way.

Peacocks in Los Angeles County Arboretum | Roads and Destinations
The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a sure place to find peacocks in the city

More Than Just Peacocks in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

As we mentioned before there is a lot more to see than just the peacocks at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. Here are some other places you may be interested in.

War Memorial Fountain

The Los Angeles County Arboretum wouldn’t be the epitome of beauty and peace without its other components. Start with a remarkable fountain, a place of interest for many children who try hard to slip away from their parents and dip their little hands in cold water.

Botanical Gardens

To the left of the fountain, a picturesque world of neatly cut green lawns, summer houses built in Greek style, and plentiful mini gardens opens up to your view. Contributing to the creation of the paradise-like environment, the native and exotic flowers and trees line up along endless pathways and congregate in tiny islands. Before long, you find yourself in a mini palm grove, surrounded by succulent and other distinctive gardens.

Some peacocks wander farther to the other side of the Los Angeles County Arboretum. Most of them, however, linger near the entrance.

Queen Anne Cottage, Los Angeles | Roads and Destination
Queen Anne Cottage

Queen Anne Cottage

After you leave the palm garden and head back toward the fountain, turn to your right and follow a paved pathway that leads to Queen Anne Cottage. Built in 1885, the white house with red pillars and gorgeous exterior details looks like a bigger version of Snow White’s cottage.

Backed by a picturesque lake to its left, the property served as a place of refuge for many of its previous owners who searched for a calm harbor in the world of constant movements and changes. At one point, the historic structure lost its popularity. Eventually, it was turned into a museum that opens its doors to the peacock-chasing visitors of Los Angeles twice a year.

We were lucky to visit the Los Angeles County Arboretum on one of those two rare days. Ironically, we still managed to miss a guided tour. As fate would have it, we approached the cottage at the exact time when the last visitors were leaving it. A few minutes later, the museum locked its doors and resumed its lonely existence until Christmas lights would illuminate it six months later.

Baldwin Lake

To the left of Queen Anne Cottage, Baldwin Lake fully compensated for the lost opportunity. Resembling an enormous horseshoe, the secluded lake allures with lush vegetation along its shores and squeaking ducks swimming in the middle. Hardly any peacocks ramble to this part of the Los Angeles County Arboretum.

Find a cozy place and spend a few minutes by the lake. Take out your book or notebook and, imitating aristocrats of the old days, document your experiences or feelings in words or sketches.

Baldwin Lake | Roads and Destinations
Baldwin Lake | Viewing peacocks in Los Angeles County Arboretum

Rose Garden

Soon kids’ laughter, coming from nearby, arouses your curiosity. It leads you to the small Rose Garden with a big white summer house at the far end. Here, while adults smell the flowers, the youngsters chase each other around the rose bushes.

Meyberg Waterfall

A short walk farther down the paved pathway takes you to the Meyberg Waterfall, a small, hidden site at the far end of the Arboretum. This charming attraction entices many young couples, looking for exotic places for their engagement or wedding photoshoot and historic venues to celebrate their big day.

Rose Garden | Roads and Destinations
Rose Garden | Chasing peacocks in Los Angeles
Meyberg Waterfall | Roads and Destinations
Meyberg Waterfall | Looking for peacocks in Los Angeles

Final Thoughts

Everybody, small and big, young and old, finds something interesting in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The place is big, yet small enough to explore in one day or a few hours. So take it slowly and explore every corner of this remarkable park. Stop often to smell flowers and enjoy spectacular shows offered by the most extravagant residents of the Greater Los Angeles Area – peacocks.

If, inspired by the peacocks, you want to explore the “wild” world of Los Angeles and California in more detail, check out the following guides that will tell you where to find seals and other local marine and land creatures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.