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Get Ready: Tour Guides


Published Jan 1, 2008 9:00 AM

Copyright © Illustration by Sarajo Frieden '77

What’s the best way to see UCLA? It depends what you’re in the mood for, because you’ve got plenty of choices. Here are some of the best:

Walking Tour

This hike starts at Bruin Walk and doesn't stop until 90 minutes later after you've hit the high spots of the 419-acre campus. Perky student tour guides give you the official story — the inverted fountain, for instance, with its 10,000 gallons-per-minute of recirculated water — plus insider info such as the year-end custom in which swimsuited seniors celebrate graduation with a fountain dip. Tours are by reservation. Log on to UCLA Tours where you can book your tour, see an online map and a downloadable podcast tour.

Lecture Experience

Exercise your brain with visits to the classes of some two dozen professors who have welcome visitors on a drop-in basis. A wide selection of undergraduate lectures are offered each quarter, with recent classes including History of the American Motion Picture; Introduction to Poetry; Thermodynamics, Electrochemistry, Kinetics, and Organic Chemistry; and Macroeconomic Theory. Check here for current offerings: Lecture Tours

Mildred E. MathiasBotanical Garden

Seven acres of paradise sloping down from Tiverton Avenue just north of LeConte, the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is home to 5,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world, as well as frogs, turtles, goldfish, streams and even a waterfall. One highlight is the Metasequoia, the tallest dawn redwood tree in North America. Tramp around on your own any day except university holidays. Or arrange a docent-led tour: (310) 206-6707.

Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden

UCLA's renowned outdoor sculpture garden is a greenbelt boasting more than 70 pieces of fine art sans the "look but don't touch" feel of your typical art gallery. See gorgeous bronze treasures like "Stephanie and Spy" by L.A. celebrity artist Robert Graham, along with work by Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Claire Falkenstein, Barbara Hepworth, Gaston Lachaise, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi and Auguste Rodin, among others. For a tour, e-mail Darin Klein

Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

The annual springtime open house and behind-the-scenes tour unearthed a 7,500-year-old Turkish "Death Pit" last year. The event is an inside glimpse of a world-famous institution where 75 working archaeologists analyze and store their findings. Labs showcase their projects, and Cotsen archaeologists speak about their exciting escapades. For info on the next tour, call (310) 206-8934 or visit IOA Tours