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AN URBAN OASIS : Cal State Fullerton Arboretum Offers Serenity, Cider Pressings and Hay Rides This Weekend

October 01, 1992|CORINNE FLOCKEN | Corinne Flocken is a free-lance writer who regularly covers Kid Stuff for The Times Orange County Edition.

It's a five-minute drive from the Orange Freeway to the Fullerton Arboretum, but the two may as well be in separate galaxies.

On the northeast corner of the Cal State Fullerton campus, the 26-acre arboretum offers a varied landscape of natural and man-made treasures. Given the urban sprawl that surrounds it, the facility is an unexpectedly serene harbor for visitors seeking low-cost R & R. On any given Sunday, for example, one might stroll through shady groves, tour a turn-of-the-century Victorian cottage or loll on a creek-side bench to watch a crawdad pick its way upstream.

If this appeals to you but sounds a bit languid, you may want to hold your visit until this weekend, when the arboretum beefs up its usual attractions with a range of kid-pleasing seasonal activities. The seventh-annual Arborfest, hosted Saturday and Sunday by the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum, features apple cider pressing, hay rides, a petting farm and a variety of hands-on children's activities; it is one of two family-oriented events planned this weekend on the CSUF campus. (See story, Page 7.)

According to Friends director Lorra Almstedt, Arborfest was begun in 1986 as a way to attract visitors--especially young families--to the arboretum, and to raise funds for the facility, which receives partial support from the university and the city of Fullerton. Last year, nearly 2,600 people attended the event, raising $10,000 to help support arboretum programs.

Tucked between the CSUF ball field and a busy thoroughfare, the Fullerton Arboretum is divided into several distinct climate zones. Following a series of graveled paths, visitors can glimpse such exotic fruit as kiwi and guava growing in a small subtropical grove, or take a breather beside a gentle stream that meanders through a small conifer forest. Workshops and demonstrations open to the public, including several geared specifically to youngsters, are held year-round.

This month's youth programs include a Children's Garden Exploration series for first- through fourth-graders, and pumpkin patch tours for students in preschool through first grade.

The man-made centerpiece of the arboretum is the 1894 Heritage House, a restored Victorian that was the original home of Fullerton's first physician, George C. Clark. Trimmed in gingerbread and surrounded by gardens and outbuildings typical of the turn of the century, Heritage House is open for tours throughout the Arborfest celebration and during the year by appointment.

This weekend a trio of demonstrations and hands-on activities continue the history lesson.

Visitors of all ages can try their hand at washing with an old-fashioned washboard and tub, watch apple cider being pressed in a turn-of-the-century cider press (and taste the results) and make butter by "churning" cream in baby food jars.

The house tours and demonstrations "appeal to the young because it's so completely different from what they experience now," Almstedt said. "But for those who are 50 or over, it brings back memories of grandma's house."

A children's area at Arborfest will feature face-painting, storytelling, bubble-making and crafts along with a contingent of farm animals.

A tractor-drawn hay ride will offer views of the grounds, or families can set out on their own self-guided tour.

Scarecrow and decorated pumpkin competitions are also planned, said Almstedt; participants should bring in their entries by 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

What: Arborfest.

When: Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3 and 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Fullerton Arboretum, 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton.

Whereabouts: Exit the Orange (57) Freeway at Yorba Linda Boulevard and drive west. Turn left on Associated and right into campus parking lot.

Wherewithal: Festival admission is $3 for adults, free to children 16 and under and Friends members; there is a nominal charge for some activities and food. Parking is $1.50.

Where to call: (714) 773-3579.

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