Ganna Walska Lotusland
Ganna Walska Lotusland
4.5
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Write a review
About
Lotusland is considered to be one of the top 10 botanic gardens in the world. Situated in the foothills of Santa Barbara, California, this 37 acre botanical wonderland is home to more than 3,000 different types of plants from all around the world. The estate gardens were created by Madame Ganna Walska, who owned the property from 1941 until her death in 1984. Lotusland is home to several extraordinary plant collections and around each corner there is the unexpected - a surprise of unique garden design and plant species. The collections include rare cycads that are extinct in the wild, an unparaleled cactus garden, palms and euphorbias like most people have never seen. Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, lotuses (bloom only in the summer months), water lilies and bromeliads. Lotusland horticulture philosophy is organic, using no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Reservations are required. Tours are Wed - Sat at 10 AM and at 1:30 PM. Open Mid February through Mid November.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

See what other travelers are saying
  • MrGaucho1987
    Santa Barbara, California1,000 contributions
    Pro Tips: Make Your Visit Special with These Recommendations
    Most importantly plan ahead. Check their website. You cannot get same day tickets. The gardens are beautiful and worth a visit. But be prepared. Tickets are expensive. The garden is in a wealthy area surrounded by wealthy neighbors. Neighbors who like to complain, so the number of visitors, cars and sounds are carefully controlled. Hence the $50 pp price. There is lots of walking so wear good shoes and bring a hat. The ground can be uneven. Check the website for ADA compliance. There is water but no food that I could see. Be ready to spend 2 hours. Bathroom access was also a bit limited. This is a beautiful, often stunning, garden...so don't miss it. But set your expectations carefully.
    Written June 23, 2022
  • shipfotog
    Santa Barbara, California76 contributions
    Amazing experience
    A highly unique experience that should not be missed. These gardens are truly amazing, the docents are highly knowledgeable and really make the visit special. We bought the membership as we are local and wanted to visit as often as we can. Things to note: 1. Open February through November (check the website for specific dates) 2. By reservation only - book in advance as they have limited availability 3. It is worth the price, it’s not cheap, but your are going to experience a very unique place.
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 8, 2020
  • dahlia8
    Los Angeles, California1,010 contributions
    Felt like a different world
    Lovely garden very well maintained. The docents were everywhere but they were informative and friendly. They didn’t open until exactly 1:15. If you arrive early the gates are closed. We thought parking would be an issue but there were plenty of parking spaces that day. It wasn’t overly crowded which made for a relaxing 2 hours
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 3, 2021
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
470 reviews
Excellent
376
Very good
68
Average
14
Poor
9
Terrible
3

Mary M
Alameda, CA8 contributions
Mar 2022
I am planning a visit to Santa Barbara in April 2022. This Lotusland garden is a grossly misclassified entity. Their website claims "Lotusland is a public garden in a residential neighborhood operating under strick limitations set by the County of Santa Barbara" Yet there is in fact NO public access. I have been to the website and only members are allowed to tour April 1 to end of May 2022. In theory, public would pay admission tickets of 50 dollars per adult. So this is some serious elite tax avoidance, fancy exclusivity. No wonder this city is the residence of some super wealthy well known people. I hope I enjoy the otherwise public ambiance of the beaches and parks of the city of SB but this Lotusland thing is disturbing. I predict this trip will be my one and only visit.
Written March 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lyndi
1 contribution
Jul 2021
Nice gardens but the experience greatly diminished by over zealous docents/volunteers. You only get 2 hours in the place, and trust me, they make darn sure you don't stay a minute longer. I'll grant them some slack for Covid (no group tours), so perhaps they just had too much time on their hands. Every time I turned around, or sat on a bench to enjoy the moment, some docent was in my face. I felt constantly watched (really, in a garden?). Dare I touch something or walk somewhere off limits, which I respected and did/would not. On a more positive note, beautiful gardens. If you are familiar with So CA landscapes, especially Santa Barbara (I'm a local), it's not that much of a wow factor save for the cacti. If from out of state, yes, it's a wow! The water garden was stunning. I've been to a lot of gardens. Compared to Longwood in PA, both stunning, just different owing to climate and of course, being followed everywhere you walk. That would be my reason for not wanting to return; made to feel like an intruder. Without question the docents zap the joy & peacefulness one would normally feel in a place like that. I would still recommend it, especially if you are from out of state. We certainly have control of our feelings, but unfortunately, no control over the docents/volunteers in your face the entire time.
Written August 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Josephine B
Cornelius, NC83 contributions
Apr 2021
I really loved the beautiful grounds of Lotusland. The guides were helpful and enthusiastic. It was a little expensive but a great deal of work must go into keeping this area in tiptop shape. The only disappointment and it really did affect my opinion of Lotusland was the bird enclosure. This was a beautiful open space with trees and bushes galore and they have a large number of finches and some pigeons captive in a rather dingy cage. I have no idea why this was there. There was no information about the birds and it just seemed terribly out of place. Imagine being able to fly and surrounded by such beauty and locked in a small, dull cage.
Written April 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ppestle
1 contribution
Aug 2020
When researching Ganna Walska Lotusland on their website, I was informed that we needed to phone for reservations. When I did so and requested reservations for the same day, I was told that they did not accept same day reservations. I mentioned to the person handling reservations that their website did not indicate this and was then told that she didn't know what was on the website. Further, she said that it is being redone anyway. The final thing that she said is that it wouldn't have made a difference anyway since they were booked until the following week.

On our visit to Santa Barbara and Montecito ,we have experienced nothing but friendly and considerate service. This was a notable exception and reflects a lack of good training and customer service. We do not plan to visit on a future trip.
Written August 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gardengel-IoW
Crawley, UK610 contributions
Feb 2020
We knew we had to book on this tour but as from UK waited till we got to US. Now the tour may have been book up months ago, we'll never know. You have to book by phone and pay then too.
We tried calling several times, from about 10 days prior to when we could visit, during office hours and just got an answering service. We eventually left a message, as requested saying they will call back. They never did. Part of our problem may have been catcing this at the beginning of the season. For the times the garden was open there was only one day for us that would work. We called again on the morning, call answered, and sure enough it was all full except for a cancellation for the afternoon tour which we couldnt make as had to be on the road again.
Very disappointed with service and booking system. This is a '1001 garden to see before you die' I will never know.
Written February 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Gardengel-IoW, I apologize profusely that you were unable to see Lotusland. Our protocol is to return 100% of the phone messages in short order and I fear you fell in between the cracks, for which I am truly sorry. The County of Santa Barbara severely restricts our visitation and we periodically encounter situations similar to yours. While we are trying to work with the government to remedy this situation, there is an enormous amount of red tape and expense involved. I hope you are able to visit at another time and are willing to give us another chance. All the best.
Written March 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Larry W
Los Angeles, CA699 contributions
Feb 2021
We had an ok time, but, honestly, for $50 per person it was disappointing. There are various garden areas, but the Japanese area wasn’t too much and not too authentic. The cactus area was the best, we thought. I would not particularly recommend a visit. A shame.
Written March 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Global775960
Houston, TX16 contributions
Feb 2021 • Couples
We enjoyed the gardens which are quite beautiful but the volunteers were a bit overzealous checking to see if we had questions. We found it particularly inappropriate for the head volunteer lady to offer to “escort” us to the exit when we only had 10 minutes left on our time limit for fear that we might overstay by 2 minutes. For a place that portends grace, sophistication and tact she lacked all three.
Written February 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SB_Walking_Tours
Santa Barbara, CA36 contributions
Aug 2021
Lotusland is truly incredible. 37 acres of meticulously kept gardens, from an expansive Japanese garden replete with waterfalls, a huge koi pond, and a pagoda, to the jaw-dropping cactus gardens which contain 50-ft tall saguaro cacti, Lotusland cannot disappoint. These gardens truly are some of the best in the world. It is impossible to see all the wonders in just one visit. I hope to go again soon!
Written August 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

23gadfly
South Pasadena, CA18 contributions
Jul 2015 • Family
We were looking for an outdoor activity before heading into downtown Santa Barbara, and the 200+ positive reviews encouraged me to give a call and set up a visit.

Well, it might very well be paradise, but @ $45 per person, that would have been $180 for my family of four for a two-hour garden tour - come on!
Written July 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CBish2014
Albany, NY48 contributions
Mar 2015 • Friends
The docent we had was more interested in talking about the founder of Lotusland, Ganna Walska, than the plants. She told us that she knew nothing about botany or science, but would email answers to us on any questions we had, which she did not do. She carried around, not a book with garden information, but a book full of pictures of the founder with stories about her life, loves and gossip. When she did talk about the gardens, there was misinformation galore. For example, she said that Spanish moss was neither a pest nor a nuisance: it was nothing! (Actual words) That, of course, is not true. Some think it a nuisance because it can add weight that ultimately can harm a growing plant, but if kept in control, it is a strong barrier against insects. She said that the eucalyptus trees were bad because they were flammable, but eucalyptus is a sustainable wood and can be used for erosion control. She specially pointed out a cactus that was unique and when people wanted to know what it was, myself included, she said that she did not know but would email us the name later, which she did not do. She then went on to talk about how rich and beautiful Ganna Walska was and show us pictures of her. At this point, my friend and I gave up and left the tour. Basically, if the docent is more interested in gossip than nature, you are in trouble. Lotusland should train its docents before they let them loose. The gardens are beautiful and deserve better. Those who want info on Ganna's life, should attend special lectures for that purpose.
Written March 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 458
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Ganna Walska Lotusland (Montecito) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Ganna Walska Lotusland

Ganna Walska Lotusland is open:
  • Wed - Sat 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Wed - Sat 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM