State park attracts locals

An ocean of citrus trees. The smell of oranges lingering in the breeze. Lush and picturesque grounds. These are just a few things you can experience at the California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside, only a few miles from California Baptist University’s campus.

Resting upon 250 acres of prime agricultural land, the state park boasts a visitor center with a museum, guided tours and facility rental opportunities.

If a guided tour is not what one is looking for, there is the opportunity to explore the beautiful grounds of the park, take photos with friends or have a nice picnic under one of the large gazebos.

Janeth Hidalgo, junior psychology major, visited the park with her little sister during a school field trip.

“I was really surprised by how beautiful the park is and by how much they have to offer,” Hidalgo said. “We went on a very informational tour and they even let us sample fruit for free.

“Everyone I was with had a really great time and I will definitely be revisiting in the future. It would definitely be a great thing to do once it cools down a bit, as well.”

Raphael Samuel, employee at the visitor’s center, said although there is a $5 parking fee when visiting the park, the historical tours are free.

During tours, fresh fruit samples are given out and visitors may even receive a souvenir bag.

“Fruit is not sold inside the park but fruit is sold at the fruit stand on the corner year-round,” Samuel said. “The fruit is in season and especially good in the spring.”

Emily Neal, sophomore early childhood studies major, has visited the park with her friends on several occasions. She described the park as being relaxing, a good family spot and full of color.

“My favorite thing to do there is going on picnics,” Neal said. “I go with my friends and sit on a blanket under a tree.”

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the visitor center and museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free guided tours are available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. Pre-registration for the tour is preferred. The California Citrus State Historic Park is located at 9400 Dufferin Ave., and its entrance is marked by a bright blue sign above a large orange in front of a tan building.

The vast park grounds offer a nearby escape for students looking for a break from studying for finals or looking to celebrate the end of the semester with their friends before heading home for winter break.

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