Explore the Garden

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.

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Celebrate California native plants with us: 

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 Teahouse and Tea 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.

Iconic Meadow View - 1940s

SBBG: A Historic Landmark

and treasured cultural landscape

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has long been celebrated for the distinctive marriage of its landscape design and natural setting. In 1983, the Mission Dam and Aqueduct (located on the Garden grounds) were designated County Historic Landmark #24 by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. In 2003 the landmark was broadened to include the Garden’s historic design concept and six additional elements within the Garden's 23 core acres.

The seven specific landmarked structures are:

  • Mission Dam and Aqueduct (1806)
  • Indian Steps 
  • Caretakers Cottage (1927)
  • Information Kiosk (1937)
  • Blaksley Library (1941)
  • Campbell Bridge (1941)
  • Clara Small Smith Entry Steps (1948)

More information and descriptions of the featured landmarked areas

Cultural Landscape Master Plan

The Garden completed a Cultural Landscape Master Plan in 2012 to help us understand and preserve the significant elements that combined create the character of the landscape. The years between 1926 and 1950 are defined as the Period of Significance. This timeframe includes the Garden’s conception by Fredrick Clements, its initial design and development under directors Elmer J. Bissell and his wife Ervanna Bowen Bissell (1926-1936), its continued development under director Maunsell Van Rensselaer (1934-1950), and the major planning and design contributions of Lockwood de Forest III, Beatrix Farrand, and Lutah Maria Riggs. The fact that SBBG was the first botanic garden devoted to the propagation, display, and study of native California plants and plant communities and was consciously designed in a naturalistic style contributes to its significance.

More information and CLMP Documents

SBBG Meadow Revival Project 2013-2015, Learn More

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