La Purisima Mission, Lompoc

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Santa Barbara, CA
La Purisima Mission, Lompoc
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The best place in Lompoc that you absolutely must not miss is the salmon pink La Purisima Mission. What a sweet spot! It is a pleasure to spend some time pretending you live in the countryside, peeking at the sheep and the pigs with wavy-rimmed ears, admiring the impressive bull, looking across large spans of golden wildflowers, walking the beautiful gardens full of silvery-green olive trees, and exploring the mission building. The mission has a campanario (bell tower) and two chapels (one with fantastic acoustics- I sang in here and sounded terrific!). Babies will enjoy making sounds and hearing their echo. There are plaques everywhere describing what each room was used for. In the back there is an olive press and in a field there are cowhides drying in the sun. The rooms are wonderfully set out, bringing you into the past: a weaving room with a large loom and a blanket almost completed on it, a carpenter's room full of tools, and a leather shop. It's so much fun to walk into each room!
Living history days (see schedule) are a fun way for kids to see the museum come to life.
The visitor center is a large modern building with super displays. Here kids become really interested in the history of the mission. There is a diorama of the Chumash indians and there are objects on display that kids can touch, like an abalone shell. Check out the area set up like a room for the men who worked on restoring the mission. The mission was a Civilian Conservation Corps project in the late 1930s. Jobs were provided to young, unmarried men during the Great Depression through this program. They need a program like this nowadays! How wonderful to have a job restoring something beautiful that will last for decades to come, rather than struggle with unemployment.
If you're in Lompoc early in the summer, check out the flowers fields at Ocean Ave and Floradale Ave. There is a playground at Ryon Memorial Park on Ocean Ave and O Street.
Half an hour away to the east are the towns of Solvang, a touristy Danish town, and Los Olivos, a hip wine-tasting town. For an amazing medieval playground in Solvang that will keep your kids happy for hours, check out Sunnyfields Park.
Each mission is a little different and some people make a tour out of seeing them all! Santa Barbara Mission has a stunning location with views of the sea. Views from the rose garden are heaven. Mission Santa Ines is a yellow mission amongst the Solvang countryside. Mission San Buenaventura in Ventura has a fantastic fountain with blue Spanish tiles surrounding a rivulet.

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Kids love the animals at La Purisima Mission!

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Little lambs...

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Salmon pink walls against blue sky.

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The stairs up to the campanario.

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A bucolic scene...

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The chapel with the great acoustics!

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Soldiers' dining table, as it was in the 1820s.

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Plaques everywhere tell you about the mission during its heyday.

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The weaving room. 1,000 blankets were made at the mission each year.

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Pretty architecture.

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Gardens, through an archway.

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A little building in the back of the mission, as seen through an archway.

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The leather shop- leather was used for the roof beams, ropes, soldiers' shields, pouches, shoes, saddles, and harnesses.

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The room where dignitaries were received.

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A lovely scene through an archway. I love Spanish arches!

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Flowers that look like they are made of soft fabric.

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Spanish fountain in the garden amongst olive trees.

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A bench beside flowers.

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Fountain in the garden with the mission's many rooms behind.

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Pigs with wavy-rimmed ears!

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The colors of the countryside are just gorgeous at the mission- a silvery green.

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The modern visitor center.

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Map showing the coastline and mountains.

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Abalone shell kids can touch and admire.

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The mission bell.

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Huge religious songbook that dates to the 16th century.

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Exhibit showing concrete columns with steel reinforcing.

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Exhibit about a group of men, called Company 1951, who rebuilt the mission.

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A bull!

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A family visits the mission.

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Cowhides in the sun.

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Cuartel.

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Where work was done.

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Where the men slept.

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A pretty scene.

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The candle-making room.

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Bell and columns.

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Spanish fountain.

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A donkey!

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Cute donkey.

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Not sure what they're implying here lol...

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Pig blowing bubbles in the water.

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Turkey!

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Gorgeous view in wintertime.

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Hilarious sheep.

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Directions

La Purisima Mission is located at 2295 Purisima Rd, Lompoc CA 93436, call (805) 733-3713.
From Highway 101 southbound, take Highway 135 south. Turn right on Harris Grade Rd and follow it for almost 8 miles. Turn left on Purisima Rd. The entrance to the mission will be on your left. Look for the sign.
From Highway 101 northbound, take Highway 1 to Lompoc. When you come to the big intersection at the entrance to the town of Lompoc, turn right on Highway 246. After 1 1/2 miles, turn left at Mission Gate Rd. It will lead straight into the mission's driveway and parking.
Entry is $6 per car ($5 if you're a senior).
Open 9-5 daily. Closed on January 1, Thanksgiving (4th Thurs in Nov), and December 25.
Free 60-90 minute tours at 1pm daily at the Visitor Center, except on special event days.

map

Click on map for interactive view

Comments

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Craig

2009-10-09 20:38:00

This is the fifth california mission that my wife and I have visited in the last year. It is our favorite, a feast for the soul. Explore every room of the mission. Enjoy the garden - we went in spring and the flowers were in full bloom. A lot of work went into this mission.

Last Updated: Sun, 29 Apr 2018 22:03:42 GMT

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