A Delightful Day at Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
North of the Santa Barbara Mission you will find the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, a quaint garden that is worth visiting. The Botanical Garden is located at 1212 Mission Canyon Road. There is an admission cost unless the visitor is under 2 years of age.
At the entrance, each child is asked whether he or she would like to look for tadpoles and small fish. Each was given a net and a small magnifying container. I could tell right away that this garden is child-friendly.
This botanical garden is known for its native flora. It is a great place for a leisurely walk or hike. The terrain is so different. Right after turning right upon the entrance, you find an organized garden with a pond filled with small fish and turtles. Right after that, you come across an open meadow and then a slopped area full of container succulents. All along the trail you find native Californian oak.
As we head farther north, we encountered a wide path with wooden railings taking us to native Redwood. The path gently took us down to the creek level. It was interesting to travel from a hot open meadow to a shaded Redwood forest. One could tell that it is well-maintained because of all of the sprinklers around. All along the creek level, you will find split wood embedded into the side of the rock formation serving as permanent benches.
The path takes you across the old Mission Dam, which is 1.5 miles from the Mission and 750 feet in elevation. On the north side of the creek, there are many trails along the hillside. One of them followed the Mission aqueduct. In California, one has to be mindful of poison oak, and there are many of them in the garden.
Beyond the Trails
The children spent a lot of time looking in the creek for tadpoles and small frogs. It was not difficult to find one, although some of the rocks were more difficult to navigate than they had imagine, and they are 10 and 12 years old. We saw a family with small children and a stroller, and the father had to haul the stroller over parts of the dry bed.
Climbing up to the higher elevation, you encounter the educational portion of the botanical garden. There is a Japanese tea garden where it is often used to teach Japanese tea ceremony. There are Japanese fountains around the tea garden. There are many educational displays, and at then you return to the entrance of the botanical garden. We just happen to catch the garden during its annual plant sale. We were surprised to see so many variety available. Although there is no restaurant, the gift shop is worth visiting. We were totally exhausted by the time we came around to the entrance and we decide not to explore the trails across the street. At a very leisurely pace, I suggest that you give yourself 2 hours to take it all in.