DISCOVERY TRAIL 2016-10-12T17:04:44+00:00


A lovely one-mile walk through the Campus, with several stops
highlighting art, architecture, nature, a beautiful
rose garden, lake and other historical elements.

Imagine beautiful, historic architecture. Mature, shady heritage oaks trees. Comfortable benches at lakeside.  The mist from the water feature while scanning the waters for any sign of wildlife.  You can find it here — on The Discovery Trail at University Park. A lovely one-mile walk through the Campus, with several stops highlighting art, architecture, nature, a beautiful rose garden, lake and other historical elements, you can enjoy the ambiance of the park in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. 

Each stop along the trail will provide you with a brief overview and its significance to University Park — the history as well as current interests. 

Whether taking a break from the office to stroll through the park, packing a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake or meditating in the University Park World Peace Rose Garden, you will feel at ease — as University Park has 24-hour on-site security. 

Magnolia Mansion

The Magnolia Mansion was built in 1900 for the Stockton State Hospital for a cost of $5,800. The Magnolia Mansion has served as the residence for numerous superintendents and their families. It was partially restored by Grupe Commercial Company in 2004.

This 16 room home is an excellent example of a Georgian Neoclassical Revival re Beaux Arts architecture.

The State Hospital was established in 1853 as the first publicly supported facility for the mentally ill in the west.

At full operation in 1956, the 102 acre facility had 53 buildings, over 1,000 employees serving over 4,800 patients.

In the future, the Magnolia Mansion will be restored as a glorious facility to hold special events. For more information or to learn more about supporting these efforts please call (209) 473-6168.


Circle of Palms

Though not native to the state, California’s eighteenth century Franciscan Missionaries were the first to plant palms ornamentally. They were often planted near important buildings.

California Indians used the palms as a natural resource; eating the fruit and weaving the fronds into baskets. It was also an excellent source for roofing material.

These palms are much older than the normal lifespan of 75-100 years.

Magnolia Tree

The Southern Magnolia tree has large glossy leaves and huge fragrant white blossoms. Few trees can match it for year round beauty.

Once planted, seedlings often take ten years before they come into bloom. Magnolia Trees continuously drop leaves throughout the year, offer dense shade, and have shallow roots.

The Magnolia Trees planted at University Park are a tribute to Southern architecture and influence found on the 102 acre site.

There are 53 other varieties of trees throughout University Park.

Doctor’s Row

Constructed in 1870, the three Doctors residences are of gothic revival influence and located on their original site on Acacia Street.

The fourth residence, a Queen Ann cottage style home, was built in 1888 and now resides on “Doctor’s Row”. Originally located on Grant Street, due to the development of Pittman Elementary School, it was necessary to move the historic home. In 2004, it was cut in three sections and reassembled at its current location. It has been preserved as a historical building.

Oak Tree Park

This beautiful grassy area is preserved as open space for both human activity and wildlife.

Students play here, families picnic, others come to walk their dog and large groups gather here for a variety of planned activities.

Wildlife to look for in the park include: hawks, owls, blue jays, woodpeckers, crows, red squirrels, gray squirrels, raccoons, possums, jack rabbits and an occasional illusive red fox!

“Together” – Art Mural

This mural depicts the preciousness of each person on the planet embracing all ages, genders and ethnicities.

The hands work together to support the earth, symbolizing the responsibility that each of us have to leave the earth a peaceful and healthy place for the next generation.

This mural, painted in 2014 by Michael L. Oliva of The S.M.A.R.T.

Project—in cooperation with art students from local high schools—is one of several planned projects of the University Park Art in Public Places program.

Aspen Hall

Aspen Hall was built in 1931 and is a rep-resentation of Tudor Revival Gothic Style architecture.

Listed as item # 053 in Historical Buildings of the Stockton Center, the building has lovely stained glass

window panels and carved wooden doors.

The Aspen Hall was originally used as a kitchen, bakery and dining facility.

Owl House

There are six owl boxes scattered throughout University Park. Each owl house can be home to a set of nesting Barn Owls that will rear 5-6 brood of young each year.

Each owl family can hunt and consume 1000 pocket gophers, voles or ground squirrels per year, or over 3000 mice.

The owls help out considerably with the destructive rodent population found on the park like grounds.

Great Lawn

The Great Lawn is one of the most gracious areas to be visited in

University Park. The cool, grassy lawn meets the lake with views of the stone bridge, Tower Cottage, Water Tower and beautiful historic and new buildings.

Flowering cherry trees welcome spring each year while the musical fountains help provide a sense of serenity and escape. Large native California Oaks encourage visitors to picnic, stroll and read beneath their shady limbs.

University Park Water Tower

This Water Tower was built circa 1930, is 129 feet tall and 23 feet wide!

Initially the Tower was used for water storage to pressurize the water system for 53 buildings and landscaping of the 102 acre site.

This water system was operated separately from city water and used its own well.

Today the Water Tower provides back-up water for fire hydrants. It is purely ornamental.

Cork Oak Grove

The Cork Oak is a unique tree that bears a bark that can be split then peeled away without injuring the tree.

This agricultural material is then used to make actual corks for wine bottles and other products.

The Cork Oak grows slowly and the first harvestable cork, known as virgin cork, is usually not taken until the tree is more than 25 years old. Each tree can be harvested every 10-12 years.

Wildlife in University Park Lake

Look for the following critters hanging around this beautiful resource:

Birds/Fowl: Ducks, Geese, Seagulls, Heron and an occasional Crane.

Reptiles: Bull frogs, Lizards

Invertebrates: Crawdads, Turtles

Fish: Gold fish, Minnow fish, Bass and Carp

Ground dwelling and wild animals come here to drink water.

University Park Lake

This man-made lake is a part of a series of lakes constructed by The Grupe Companies in planned communities and developments across the United States. The lake holds 4,540,000 gallons of non-potable water and is approximately 2.8 acres. The lake is 9′ at its deepest point.

The purpose of the Lake is to serve as storm water retention basin for University Park as well as a filter system before the water passes into the City system and then into the Delta.

Lined with a rubber liner the lake loses less water than most other lakes that use a clay liner. The lakes filtration system is similar to a swimming pool but also adds air bubblers and fountains that circulate and clean the water.

University Park
World Peace Rose Garden

In partnership with the International World Peace Rose Garden Organization this rose garden is created as a place of both beauty and inspiration.

Over 245 roses are spread throughout the garden. Designed like the sun with planets orbiting it, the center of the garden hosts a Peace Plaza..

Seven larger double wide rays and six smaller planets extend from center. The garden has plaques with inspirational messages of peace from local and distant school children. Here you will find a place for our whole community and visitors to feel welcome in the spirit of Peace.