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“Butterflies are free”

Goleta Butterfly Grove
Ranked #3 of 31 things to do in Goleta
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Goleta Butterfly Grove is an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area where your can view the overwintering Monarch butterflies between mid-November and mid-February. It is adjacent to the Sperling Preserve on the Ellwood Mesa. The Ellwood Mesa is 137 acres of natural terrain with designated trails and beach access. Free parking is available at the Ellwood Mesa Parking Lot at 7701 Hollister Avenue. The walk from the parking lot to the grove is a little over a half mile and is marked with trail markers. It's a beautiful walk on a dirt path.To ensure the safety of the monarchs and enjoyment of the public, we ask that visitors please observe the following rules: -Always stay on designated trails and roads. -Stay out of the roped-off areas. -Watch your step when entering and exiting the grove, and avoid monarchs which may be “puddling” in the surrounding areas. -Do not touch or harass the butterflies. -Avoid making loud noises. -Keep dogs on a leash. No bicycles, horses or motorized vehicles in the grove. -Please take your trash out of the grove.
Level Contributor
96 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Butterflies are free”
Reviewed January 11, 2013

This is the second time we have visited the Monarch Grove at Ellwood and find it so tranquil. Last weekend most the butterflies were just hanging onto to the eucalyptus branches while a very few were flying about. Likely due to the cold and raining day, but still it was a short drive, no parking fee no park fee and the bluff overlooking the pacific is a short walk further throgh the grove. Yeah I would say it is worth a trip.

Visited January 2013
3 Thank Katlak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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61 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Mother Nature at her finest”
Reviewed December 12, 2012

I go our here or to another, much smaller butterfly site every winter. The butterfly migration is not be missed. Stop and be still and all of the sudden you'll see thousands upon thousands of butterflies clumped together hanging on the branches of the eucalyptus trees in the grove. Its better to go when its warmer and sunny as the butterflies will be a bit more active. As others have said climb up to the bluff and enjoy the ocean view too. Since it's winter always be on the lookout for gray whales. I haven''t seen one yet, but one of these days I'm certain I will.

Visited December 2012
3 Thank travelgnat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, Missouri
Level Contributor
85 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“No butterflies!”
Reviewed November 17, 2012

I guess we were there the wrong time of year. Just several dirt trails although we were able to walk to the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Not much else there.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank vlevi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CityofGoleta, Owner at Goleta Butterfly Grove, responded to this review, November 20, 2012
I'm sorry you didn't get to have the full experience of seeing thousands of butterflies. It's truly amazing. Our latest butterfly count (last week) showed that there were about 4,000 butterflies in the grove. (At our highest point last year we had about 50,000.) We hope you'll come back when more butterflies have migrated. You can get updated information on the count on our website. Thanks for visiting Goleta.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Most beautiful view I have ever seen!”
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Thousands of butterfly's every where!!! in just a short walk! You have to go when they come during the year.

Visited March 2012
2 Thank Jess H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goleta, California
Level Contributor
157 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Beautiful walk through the grove and to the beach”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Seeing the butterflies when they've migrated to Goleta is AMAZING. On a bright, sunny day, you can see hundreds of butterflies bursting in the eucalyptus trees. If you get a chance, come on the weekend when the docents are available to answer questions. Don't forget your camera!

Free parking is available at the Ellwood Mesa parking lot off Hollister Avenue and it's a little over a half mile walk from there to the grove. The butterflies are only generally there from November through February or March.

Check out the reviews on the Coronado Butterfly Preserve which are really describing the Goleta Butterfly Grove. The preserve is adjacent to the area where the butterflies migrate and have some interesting signs on the butterflies as well.

Visited January 2012
4 Thank Valerie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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