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Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
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Ranked #25 of 72 Attractions in Santa Barbara
Type: Gardens, Outdoors
Activities: Viewing foliage, Hiking
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Attraction details
Owner description: With sweeping views to the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and stunning landscapes, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a great place to explore California's native plant diversity.The Garden's 78 acres encompass a variety of cultivated displays as well as stands of natural coast live oak and riparian woodlands.The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden fosters the conservation of California's native plants through our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model of sustainable practices. 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. With over 1,000 different taxa of plants on display there is always something new to experience. Stroll the 5.5 miles of paths and discover featured areas within the Garden: the historic Mission Dam and aqueduct built in 1807 to supply water to the Santa Barbara Mission, an authentic Japanese Tea House and Garden, and the spectacular views along the Porter Trail. Experience the quiet cool of the Redwood grove on a hot summer’s day or the knockout punch of the Meadow wildflowers in full bloom in spring.The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden welcomes visitors seven days a week, rain or shine. The Garden is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and during some special events.

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262 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Victoria, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2014 NEW

Yes, it's a time of year when there aren't many flowers, and the drought has had a terrible impact. That said, our experience was much better than that of other recent reviewers, perhaps because we started with an excellent docent-led tour. The docent, Susan, talked about the background of the gardens, as well as current projects such as restoring the... More

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Chatham, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
4 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2014

Fun beautiful winding drive up from State St. but once you get there nothing speical. Nice trail & eucalyptus smells amazing. Redwoods were highlight. Dam history mildly interesting.

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Brighton, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
9 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2014

It's a great place but the end of the summer , especially in a drought does not give so much to see. The river was dry and everything felt parched. Hardly any flowers. The Japanese tea house was disappointing as you couldn't get near it. The shop was excellent and in a nice building but a cafe was severely lacking.... More

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Callao, Virginia
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
27 attraction reviews
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014

These gardens are a quiet and shady retreat, but four years of drought have taken their toll. The entire garden is very dry and not in a healthy state of growth as you'd expect of a botanical garden. Some say another two years of drought is inevitable. I felt good about giving money (entrance fee) to the garden, but sad... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
41 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014

Drought conditions have resulted in this place being not worthwhile. Actually I can't realize it being very nice even in non-drought conditions. We visit botanic gardens wherever we go,... this one is a definite pass

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Fremont, California
Top Contributor
1,698 reviews 1,698 reviews
1,065 attraction reviews
993 helpful votes 993 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2014

We enjoyed visiting the botanic park in non drought years and the botanical gardens have been pretty; with California drought not as pretty this year. We did enjoy taking a walk on the hiking trails associated to this park. I have rated it four stars due to prior years visit; this year it is more average.

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La Jolla, California
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
21 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2014

This is NOT a place to bring people who want to see botanical garden, this is a great place to donate money, BUT not worth a long drive to do so. We hoped to see the actual plants and flowers and got a hike and not much else.

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Santa Maria, California
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
21 attraction reviews
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014

Although a not-for-profit that lives on visitors dollars, I am still compelled to at least alert others that this is a great place to donate money, BUT not worth a long drive to do so until AFTER (God willing) rain and a return to non-Drought conditions. Took my Mom for her 71st and realized we paid $18 for a hike... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Massachusetts, USA
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
14 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2014

It was probably foolhardy to visit a botanical garden during a drought, but I would say we agree with "T M"--except we didn't have the advantage of seeing the turtle! Given that the garden has only native California plants, it would be helpful to have identifying labels for those of us from another part of the country. In cooler weather,... More

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Rochester, Michigan
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2014

I guess I had the wrong expectations. I was expecting a garden setting with different kinds of indigenous gardens, but it was mostly an overgrown mess - more like taking a walk through the forest. It was overgrown and much of it was brown and dying from the drought. The only thing worth seeing was the turtle and the small... More

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