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Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden, Catalina Island

Susan Placek

Catalina is an island off the coast of Southern California, south-southwest of Los Angeles. Who doesn’t know the song ’26 miles to Catalina’ by The Four Preps, released in 1958?

Beautiful Catalina
Susan Placek

But have you visited the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden, reachable by a thirty-minute stroll up Avalon Canyon from the town center? The Botanic Garden is also the primary access to one of the Island's most popular hikes, the Garden to Sky Trail.

William Wrigley Jr. lived from 1861 to 1932 and the memorial honors his memory. The Wrigley Company is best known for its chewing gum production, however, Mr. Wrigley was also known for his love of this beautiful island. With his creative vision he was responsible for improvements such as public utilities, a hotel, and the Casino and its lush landscape designs. The Wrigley Memorial is the centerpiece of the Botanic Garden and was built in 1933-34 by a Chicago architect. Read more details at

Mr. Wrigley’s wife, Ada, had the idea for the Botanic garden in 1935, and worked with a horticulturalist from Pasadena on the execution of her plans. The moderate climate was ideal for desert plant collections and to showcase plants from many regions all over the world.

In 1996, the Wrigley Memorial Garden Foundation merged with the Catalina Island Conservancy to preserve the environment and they also revitalized the garden thoroughly.

When visiting Catalina, don’t forget to check out zip-lining and the Jazz Trax Festival