At the time that I visited this park, I ended up very upset and angry. There is a surprising ending.
Let me start at the beginning... with a warning. There are 2 separate hours that you have to consider with this attraction. The first set of hours are the PARK hours, the second set are the FACILITY hours. The park is open for a lot more time than the facilities are. The facility hours are limited. At the time of this writing, the visitor center is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The park is open every day ... winter hours right now, but of course there's a separate set of summer hours. I learned this the hard way!
On the day I was going to visit the park (a Thursday), I thought the park and facility hours were one. I checked out of my Coronado, CA hotel, drove 3 hours to my Long Beach, CA hotel... checked in.. then decided I was going to visit the Citrus park... 1 1/2 hours away in Riverside.
So, when I drove up, I was expecting a fully open park. I had dealt with the famous LA afternoon traffic, and I was really looking forward to this. Only then was I shocked and disappointed to see that all I could do was look at the pretty groves, but nothing else... there were no rangers, no tours, no anything. Everything was closed. The tour, talking to the rangers, even a little gift store shopping, were the things I most wanted from the park. Coming from the East, all I know are apple groves... I wanted to learn more about the beautiful orange groves I was looking at. Maybe they'd even let me try a fresh orange from a tree... I didn't know whether that was possible. I was hoping for a unique experience. Especially since regardless whether the facilities are open or not, you have to pay a fee!!!! ($4.00 at the time of this review)
Needless to say, I was cussing mad. First of all, I had a $5.00, not $4.00. So, I had to leave behind an extra dollar for a park that I didn't even get to fully enjoy. Along with my money, I had left a note at the park telling them how disappointed I was. To top it off, you ARE NOT ALLOWED to touch a single orange on ANY of the trees. IT IS ILLEGAL! Yes, I was very angry and disappointed. The area is lovely, but I was very disappointed.
The story takes a happy turn tonight. I am still picking up my jaw from the floor from the incredibly kind apology that I got from the Citrus Park. It was totally unexpected, and very decent of them to do. They even sent me some stickers and a little booklet.
So, I will tell my fellow tourists now... just keep your eyes out on the facility versus park time.. If you want to just stop by for a minute, look at the pretty trees, then leave.. you can depend on the park hours. If you want a more involved experience, then MAKE SURE you KNOW what the FACILITIES schedule is!!!! The area is very lovely. To see the mountains in the distance, the palm trees, and the beautiful groves... yes, that is a nice experience. I wish I had been able to have more of an experience there, but maybe it's an excuse for me to go back sometime. I appreciate the decency they showed me, with me having been so upset.
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