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Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Santa Barbara, California, United States


Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is on a wonderful plot of land below the Santa Ynez mountains. Here you will find towering redwoods and shady walkways lined with knotted oaks. In autumn the deciduous trees turn orange and in spring you can see poppies and blue lupine in the meadow. Around the volunteer cottage is an adorable garden, blossoming galore in the spring.
The aquifer system that fed water to the Santa Barbara Mission two hundred years ago begins at the botanic garden and is interesting for older kids to examine. Kids love to stand on the stone bridge and watch the roaring water below. Giant dark boulders, steep stairways with twisted wooden rails, and benches made of tree trunks add to the magical effect. The hikes here are easy for kids.
For a hike very nearby that is free and also gorgeous, check out Rattlesnake Canyon Trail and the Cookie Monster Rock.
For a playground nearby, in a wooded area with a flowing creek, check out Rocky Nook Park. Just around the corner from Rocky Nook Park you must not miss out on the sunny, spectacular Mission Rose Garden, set on a hill above the ocean and a row of cute Spanish houses.

Photo Gallery

A hike in the woods, at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Redwood forest, at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Deciduous trees overhead at the end of December.

A quiet place to sit...

Awesome tree!

Fall leaves.

Kids love this bridge over roaring water below.

Spring meadow. Photo by Suemae Willhite.

Redwood forest catching the light.

Redwood trees in Central California!

Looking up at the redwood trees.

Looking down at the mission's aquifer system from the bridge.

Bridge over the water.

Lovely walkway.

Trees on a hill.

Looking toward houses in the canyon.

Turtles in a pond.

Mountains in the distance, at the meadow.

Flowers along the path at the meadow.

A funny little caterpillar.

Light shining through the redwoods at sunset.

Classic fairytale tree, twisty staircase, and redwood tree. The Berenstain bears must be here somewhere.

California Rose Bay, in the redwood forest.

Yellow daisy in the forest.

Blue Lupine, at the meadow.

Beavertail Cactus- amazing!

Beach Strawberry in a pot. What glossy leaves!

Walking toward the volunteer cottage.

Western Redbud, in bloom in April.

White flowers by the volunteer cottage.

Bush Anemone near the volunteer cottage.

The garden store, with the mountains in the background.


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Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is located at 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara CA 93105, call (805) 682-4726.
From Highway 101, exit at Las Positas Rd and head towards the mountains. Continue for 1.5 miles, across the big intersection. Turn right on Foothill Rd, also called Highway 192. Follow it for 1.3 miles. There will be signs to the Botanical Gardens. You will turn left on Mission Canyon Road and follow the signs to the gardens. There is plenty of free parking.
Entrance fee is $12 each- yes, it's expensive. $10 for seniors, $8 for teens/college students/military, $6 for kids 12 and under, and children under 2 enter for free.
Open 9-6 from Mar-Oct, and 9-5 from Nov-Feb. Closed on Jan 1, Thanksgiving, Dec 24, and Dec 25. Tours are given at 2pm on Mondays, and at 11am and 2pm on weekends.
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