This is one of Santa Barbara's hidden treasures. Off the beaten path, this park features nearly 80 acres of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, cacti, in natural settings. It is truly spectacular in the spring. There are over 5 miles of easy-to-walk nature trails. The historic dam was built in 1806 by Native Americans under the direction of mission padres.
Widely regarded as a model botanic garden, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a living museum and a member of the American Alliance of Museums, dedicated to research, education, and conservation of California native plants.
As an accredited museum and botanic garden, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden differentiates itself from being just another beautiful place with open space and pretty flowers. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a living museum where collections-based research preserves California native plants and displays them in a beautiful setting.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden holds documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education. As with other botanic gardens, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden also provides visitor services that include tours, educational activities, displays, art exhibitions and a variety of forms of entertainment. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is one of only 30 gardens accredited by the American Alliance of Museums as a living museum.
Arranged in stunning sectional displays and interpreted through signage and docent-led tours, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is nearly 80 acres, with more than 1,000 taxa of California native plants, illustrating the remarkable diversity of California's flora and vegetation.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden strives to provide successful conservation education programs at the local level. Doing so increases environmental knowledge within the community and develops the skills, expertise and commitment needed to address local and global environmental challenges.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden welcomes visitors seven days a week, rain or shine.
Directions: Take the Mission Street exit of the 101 freeway and head north towards the mountains. Drive until you reach Santa Barbara Street. Turn left. You will now begin to see signs for the Museum of Natural History and the Botanic Garden. Go 2 blocks on Santa Barbara Street and turn right at Los Olivos Street. Stay on Los Olivos past the Santa Barbara Mission. Bear left at the fork in the road and continue on to Foothill Road (Rt. 192). Take a right at the stop sign at Foothill and a left at the next stop sign on to Mission Canyon Road. Bear right at the fork of the road and continue on to the Botanic Garden entrance on you left.
Photos by Tricia and John Wardlaw