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Best Place to Take Superstitious Visitors: And see a white-felted Indian paintbrush 

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden is an ideal place to take friends who are more comfortable with horticulture than sepulture. It's also an escape from the usual tourist traps -- and one that might actually leave your guests with a relaxing vacation memory. The UCBG is located in Strawberry Canyon in the hills above Berkeley's Memorial Stadium. Showcasing mostly plants from Mediterranean climates, this 34-acre garden is home to a colorful and dizzyingly large collection of twelve thousand different species and subspecies. The garden has extensive collections of cacti, rhododendrons, Chinese medicinal herbs, Western herbs and California native plants, all arranged according to geographical origins, with a great bay view to boot. For a $3 adult admission (free on Thursdays) you can wander, in terms of native plants at least, from Africa to Asia to Central and South America. If you want to learn more about what you're seeing, catch up with the docent-led tours at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. See the Web site for a schedule of walking tours and classes.

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