When I first stumbled upon Alice Keck Park Gardens, I was ecstatically surprised. What a find! The park is somewhat hidden, even though it's on a main street. Once inside, I couldn't believe how many wonderful flowers and flowering trees there were. The flowers and trees are laid out in a very attractive way, as if much thought was put into the structure of the gardens. Tall palms provide a backdrop for pink clover blossoms, wisteria, and trumpet vines.
Each season the park looks different. One spring I found a tree that had pale pink leaves, pink branches and even the trunk had a slight pinkish hue- the whole tree seemed pink! There are freesias, Spanish bluebells, pincushion flowers, and climbing roses. In summer the bougainvillea stun with their hot pinks and purples. Most of all, in summer, incredible yellow waterlilies with giant glossy leaves cover the pond from edge to edge! In the fall, the Natal coral trees from South Africa display their vibrant orange-red flowers. The floss silk tree from South America, with its thorny trunk and branches, produces hibiscus flowers in the Fall. On the borders of the park, lavendar, catmint, and thyme delight with their fragrance. Touch the soft Lamb's Ears.
Stand at the gazebo and squeal with delight when you see a little turtle pop its head up and look at you! Walk around by the island near the pond with its benches or have a seat under a Mediterranean fan palm near the main lawn. Watch the koi fish swim gently by and the ducks glide along. Or sit in the raised circular area under the magical Australian Tea Tree. This area feels sacred, and sometimes musicians come here to play music to themselves. On Wednesday evenings, a group plays Old Time music here. Also on Wednesday evenings a group of hula hoopers meet on the main lawn and show their tricks.
Walk past the trickling stream with its tropical plants. Behold the gorgeous views of the Riviera backed by the Santa Ynez Mountains from the luxurious lawns in the park. Walk the little wooden platform through marsh grasses, white lilies, and poppies. There are so many treasures at Alice Keck Gardens.
Just across Micheltorena Street is Kidsworld with its spectacular wooden castle playground, palm grove, and restrooms. Diagonally across Santa Barbara Street is Alameda Park, an oasis of wide green lawns, tall palms, and plump pines, with long paved walkways.
There are restrooms across Micheltorena Street at Kidsworld.
If you're hungry, the closest place to grab something to eat is Crushcakes and Cafe, a five minute walk away at 1315 Anacapa St, which has cute views of Arlington Theater.
Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens is located at 1500 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara 93101.
From Highway 101 southbound, exit at Mission Street and turn left. Turn right on Castillo Street and follow it five streets down until you come to Micheltorena Street. Turn left on Micheltorena St. Once you pass Santa Barbara Street, park along the road. Alice Keck Park is on your left.
From Highway 101 northbound, exit at Arrellaga Street. Take the first right onto Castillo Street. And then the first left onto Micheltorena Street. Once you pass Santa Barbara Street, park along the road. Alice Keck Park is on your left.
Spoon Icecream, 1222 State St, call (805) 962-1838.
My oldest daughter and husband enjoyed the playground across the street while my youngest daughter (3) and I explored the gardens and pushed the information buttons hidden in the plants)
Thank you for letting us know about this gem!
We are visiting UCSB for a few weeks, and took our 10-month old daughter to this park and Kidsworld this afternoon, following your suggestion. We had a great time! The playground is the best playground I've ever seen: we adults even enjoyed wondering through the castle. I wish we had a similar park where we live..
The Keck's gardens are lovely, really a magical place..
We are planning to go back before we leave, to have a picnic or something.
Love your Pictures!)
Last Updated: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:20:55 GMT