Have Fun, Learn A Lot At SB Botanical Garden

June 5, 2018

Flannery Hill

Woman in Redwoods

In a single day, your family can take a fabulous trip that includes hiking in the redwoods, looking for critters in the desert, climbing peaks for ocean views, learning a bit of California Mission history, discovering the Channel Islands, and exploring in nature.

It’s all possible at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

The garden is a great place for families who love to explore. Native plants from all over California are arranged into natural plant communities to give you the experience of having visited them in their home habitat.

Just a half mile up from Foothill Road in Santa Barbara, you can immerse yourself in the heart of nature. Parking is easy and many paths are accessible by stroller or wheelchair. The 5.5 miles of trails include gentle slopes, some more challenging climbs, and an easy walk to the new Pritzlaff Conservation Center where you can enjoy amazing views of the Channel Islands. Some 40 historic benches are tucked away on the grounds, providing plenty of spots to rest and teach your children how much more you can see in nature if you are just quiet and observe.

Even if that lasts only three minutes, it is a start.

Two studies in the American Journal of Play indicate that children are spending a mere four to seven minutes per day outdoors.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. Another recent study documents that children who are actively engaged in guided observation, and in collecting plants and insects, develop care and appreciation for the natural environment as adults.

The Garden provides “near-by nature” for all ages. Even a casual walk engages the senses, and reveals new dimensions, as the garden changes with each passing season. Pack up your backpacks for a real hike and eat on the trail, or at one of the garden’s lovely decks with picnic tables or benches. If you forget a drink or need more chips, make a stop in the Garden Shop. The Garden Shop also has a great collection of nature-inspired toys for your young explorers, and plenty of books and guides for explorers of every age.

The garden is both a hub and a portal for learning about biodiversity and conservation, providing avenues for exploration and discovery, and an accessible, safe place to explore nature. Too much for one day? A family membership gets all of you in for free any day, every day, except three holidays per year. Membership also includes free admission to more than 300 botanic gardens and arboreta across North America, as well as discounts at the Garden Shop.

For more information, go to sbbg.org or connect with the garden on Facebook and Instagram.