All 78 acres of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden are bursting with life. More than 1,000 species of native Californian plants and regional flora line its 5.5 miles of serene, public trails, allowing visitors to witness the overwhelming diversity of the Pacific coastline's plant life. Along with stands of oaks and riparian woodlands, botanical collections inhabit precisely arranged landscapes, echoing the founders' goal from 1926 to create a garden that would "unite the aesthetic, educational and scientific." In 2003, Santa Barbara County rewarded the garden's decades of cultural and scientific contributions, granting County Historic Landmark status to 23 of the acres.
The garden's specimens and displays exist just as much for education as they do for appreciation. Guests can gather landscaping ideas from the Home Demonstration Garden, a cottage surrounded with water-conserving plants. The Japanese Teahouse and Demonstration Garden melds traditional East Asian design with California-native flora. Throughout the grounds, tour guides dispense invaluable information on the displays and the retired tree nymphs that tend them. Additionally, scientific researchers use the facilities in their efforts to both study and conserve numerous rare and endangered species.
The seasoned craftsmen and designers at Santa Barbara Frame Shop & Gallery take pride in preserving and enhancing memories in all of their forms?from artworks and diplomas to posters and dog-eared time-share brochures. They draw on a selection of hundreds of frames, selecting one to match your keepsake before enhancing it with a precision-cut mat and non-glare glass. As a testament to the framers? acumen, walls throughout the shop showcase local artists' paintings, serigraphs, and photos, each fitted within its own regal frame.
The knowledgeable tour guides at Santa Barbara Trolley spout entertaining and historical anecdotes during narrated tours of the seaside city. Open-air trolleys stop at 14 area attractions, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the historic Old Mission, and the Santa Barbara Courthouse, where a vacationing John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence. While zooming in and out of shopping, dining, and historical districts, guides discuss Santa Barbara’s rich history and explain its evolution from a small farm town to the Christmas capital of the world. Guests are encouraged to tote cameras for snapping shots at each iconic, carefully chosen locale. Trolley passes are valid the entire day of redemption, and free re-boarding enables patrons to hop on and hop off as many times as they please.
The horticulturists at 7 Day Nursery have dedicated more than 29 years to equipping guests with the organic means to build their gardens, housing a variety of lush greenery and eco-friendly supplies. Guests can dot their flower beds with a colorful palette of annuals and perennials (2.99+), or plant veggies ($2.99+) and California-raised fruit trees ($34+) to supply salad bowls and Carmen Miranda’s hat collection. A blossoming selection of houseplants infuses vibrant hues in plain, empty dwellings ($3.99+), and garden art and pottery accentuate flower patches in front lawns. Eschew harmful chemical pesticides with organic fertilizers that improve growth without polluting waterways or wilting innocent lawn flamingos.
Big Wave Dave's Pumpkin Patch outfits front stoops in fall finery with a showcase of locally grown, organic pumpkins, while regaling tots with a bevvy of free games and prizes. Customers peruse the orange orbs beneath an all-weather tent that repels rain and migrating autumn leaves, selecting future jack-o'-lanterns from the patch's assortment of $10, basketball-size gourds. The outdoor pumpkin emporium equips novice etchers with a variety of carving kits, candles, and stencils to surgically enhance unexpressive spheres with flickering grins. Kids can compete for prizes in a series of autumnal games, or vault over invisible hurdles in the Santa Barbara location's complimentary bounce house.
Patrons step into the locally owned Patterson Self-Storage and Moving Box Supply Store, a winner of Santa Barbara Independent’s Best of 2008 and 2009 Self-Storage, to procure secure boxes and storage materials for bundling up household valuables. For added padding, patrons can wrap fragile figurines in large plastic bubble wrap ($0.40/ft.) or fill pools with packing peanuts ($6.55) to perfect jackknives during the winter. Customers can tuck prized possessions into small ($1.85) or large ($3.85) boxes, or send them in holiday shipping cubes ($1.20). For customers in a rush to get to the post office or to the pony express, sets of supplies are available, such as the quick pack ($26.32), which includes small, medium, and large boxes, as well as a roll of tape.