Though the entire Capitol grounds are very scenic, the east side of the Capitol building is home to a massive park/garden area. Here you can find a variety of trees and flowers, including a rose garden and a cactus garden. You will also find a lot of squirrels looking for handouts. They may look cute but there are so many they are more of an infestation due to people giving them food. Please don't feed them.
There are also numerous monuments — to firefighters, to those killed in the Vietnam War, and many more.
The Capitol Building
The Capitol Museum can be found inside the Capitol building itself, and guides are always happy to show people around the building.
The building can be a bit confusing because it's a hybrid of the original, historical Capitol building, and a newer annex. The historical building is on the west side, and sports the picturesque dome. The annex is on the east side of the building. Navigation within the building can be confusing for newcomers, because the floors of the annex don't correspond to the floors of the historical building. The 2nd historical floor meets with the 3rd annex floor, for example. You will find it somewhat easier to navigate the building if you remember that all 3-digit room numbers (e.g. 113) are in the historical side, and all 4-digit room numbers (e.g. 4201) are in the annex.
The Capitol Grounds
There are a variety of memorials and monuments on the Capitol grounds. A (possibly incomplete) listing from the State Parks website:
- A Civil War Memorial Grove planted in 1897 with saplings from famous Civil War battlefields.
- A life-sized statue of Father Junípero Serra, a Roman Catholic missionary sent by Spain to help colonize California. At its base is a map of California's 21 missions, from San Diego to Sonoma.
- The California Vietnam Veterans Memorial, with bronze statues of service men and women depicting military life in Vietnam and featuring engravings of names of Californians killed or missing in action.
- The California Veterans Memorial, a granite obelisk honoring California Veterans from the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.