Growing up in Riverside California, some of my earliest memories include the smell of orange blossoms on a hot summer night. Almost everywhere you would drive had an orange tree grove near by. Things have changed a lot since I was young, the orange groves have all but disappeared and been replaced by housing tracks. It is very rare that you are able to smell an orange blossom but when you do, like a ratatouille moment, the past comes racing back to you.
On the corner of Dufferin Ave and Van Buren Blvd is a nostalgic reminder of citrus in Riverside, known as the California Citrus State Historic Park. At only 5$ a car entrance fee, you can take advantage of the walking paths, the museum, have a picnic or take a citrus tasting tour.
Enter the visitor center for a walk through time. The museum is on the smaller side but filled with information. You start your tour by watching a short video on the history of oranges in California and then begin your walk through exhibits. You are presented with the timeline of citrus through the world, their beginnings in Asia, their trip down the silk road and their voyage across the ocean, then gifted to a Riverside woman by the name of Tibbets. You can then exit out the gift shop to a patio and the start of a walking path through the orange tree’s themselves. If you are looking for a beautiful place to have a photo shoot, a family reunion or a birthday party, there is plenty of open space, gazebos and picturesque back drops. Open from 8-5 on most days with extended hours in the summertime.
When you leave the park and all you have on your mind is oranges, you can stop at the corner fruit stand and pick up a delicious bag of Gless Ranch oranges or grapefruit. California Citrus State Historic Park is rich with history and pride. It is a wonderful place to spend a day with family or just on a mind clearing walk alone.
To check out all the upcoming events and times, go to California Citrus SHP