Catalina Island Nature Center

Quick Tips

Hours: Open Every Day from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM

  • The Wrigley Memorial: William Wrigley Jr. was interred here following his death in January 26, 1932 at the age of 70. His remains were later relocated to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA in 1947.
  • The tower stands 130 Feet High and is primarily made of local resources. The Red Roof Tiles as well as the decorative tiles were made by the original Catalina Pottery Plant which was in operation from 1927 through 1937.
  • The botanic garden covers 38 acres and was originally an idea by Ada Wrigley (William Wrigley’s wife) in 1935.  Horticulturalist Albert Conrad was hired by Ada to plant the original Desert Plant Collection.
  • Catalina Island is home to a wide variety of endemic species. The Botanic Garden focuses on 8 of the main endemic plants: the Catalina Manzanita, Catalina Mahogany, Sedum purpureum (Live Forever), St. Catherine’s Lace, Santa Catalina Island Bedstraw, Catalina Ironwood, Catalina Bush-Mallow, & Trask’s Yerba Santa. 
  • The Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden are currently operated by the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy. All proceeds from admission fees are utilized for the maintenance of Catalina Island’s natural beauty.

Construction & Design

Wrigley Memorial Construction & Design

The Wrigley Memorial was built between 1933 and 1934 by the architectural firm: Bennett, Parsons, and Frost. The firm had gained attention by the Wrigley’s with its design of Chicago’s “birthday cake” style Buckingham Fountain in 1927. At the time of its construction the fountain was one of the largest fountains in the world.

Most of the building materials come from Catalina Island itself including the Red Roof Tiles and the decorative tiles; all of which were made at the original Catalina Pottery Company. The blue flagstone that was used on the terraces as well as the ramps come from Little Harbor on the backside of Catalina Island. Only the marble that’s used on the inside comes from Georgia.

Wrigley’s Death

Wrigley’s Death

William Wrigley Jr. died on January 26, 1932 at his Phoenix, Arizona mansion at the age of 70. We was interred at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Gardens in a custom designed sarcophagus at the time of his death near his famous Catalina Island mansion. His wife Ada would later go on to start what is now the Botanical Gardens in 1935 originally as a Desert style plant collection.

In 1947 William Wrigley Jr’s body was relocated to the corridor alcove end of the Sanctuary of Gratitude Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA. While it was originally stated that his body was moved to allowed the Memorial to open to the public; it has since been suggested that his body was moved during the times of World War II due to “security risks”.

Following his death William Wrigley left his fortune to daughter Dorothy Wrigley Offield and son Phillip K. Wrigley. It is Phillip Wrigley who would later carry out his father’s dream of the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy in an effort to preserve much of the island for later generations to experience. Phillip ran the company until the time of his death in 1977 at which time he was interred alongside his father in the corridor alcove end of the Sanctuary of Gratitude at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.