Blooms A-brewin'

Tilden Botanic Garden and Westbrae Biergarten

Got anything for Mom, yet? Go botanical. Nestled between idyllic meadows and woodlands, Botanic Garden in Tilden Regional Park is anything but garden variety—with a collection that has grown to include thousands of the state's native species and 10 acres of meandering streamside paths. Free admission will spring you on a floral Tour de California from the High Sierra to the Pacific Rain Forest and back. Flowers bloom every month of the year, reaching a spectacular peak now through midsummer. Keep an eye out for cacti, stroll past a striking streak of purple brodiaeas, and picnic on lawns surrounded by a ring of radiant orange poppies—one of May's hottest stars. To cool off, unwind under the lush cover of the sanctuary's show-stopping Redwood grove; have a seat on the grove's most secluded bench and you may confuse it with Muir Woods. Keep the green going with celery and lettuce: Bring some veggies from home and stop to feed the four-legged cuties at Tilden's Little Farm on your way out.

BEER BONUS: Garden hop to Westbrae Biergarten, a family-oriented outdoor oasis—owned by a couple named the Lasagnas. The spot features a toy-packed sand pit and rotating selection of ciders and beers (including sours). A second outpost of Berkeley's beloved Pedro's Brazil Café is also on site to serve up mouth-watering South American eats, including Pedro's favorite tri-tip, and bar bites like croquettes and bacon-wrapped chicken nuggets. Next door is Westbrae Nursery, an eye-catching jolt of multi-colored floral euphoria.

The Botanic Garden is located in Tilden Regional Park on Wildcat Canyon Rd. at its intersection with S. Park Dr. Free parking is available across the street. Garden is free to the public and open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No dogs. Westbrae Biergarten and Nursery are located at 1280 and 1272 Gilman St. in Berkeley. Dog-friendly!

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