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.
In 1917, the Ranger was a sport-fishing yacht?the first built on the West Coast?that hosted celebrities trying their luck at snagging tuna, swordfish, and other swimmers. Flash forward nearly a century, and the Ranger is now a lure, one of several vintage boats that entice visitors to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Inside a former Naval Reserve building, the museum traces the history of the California Coast seas, from cannons to seaplanes and surfing to the environment. The Munger Theater brings the sea to life with films that could feature maritime history or a trip around the coast, and lectures and other events further enrich the experience.
Highlights of Rodrigo Clark's two-decade Brazilian jiu-jitsu career include training with Master Carlos Gracie, Jr., reaching 3rd-degree black belt status, and medaling at the World Nogi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship seven times. At Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Academy Santa Barbara, Clark shares his vast knowledge of the Gracie style of self-defense during programs for all ages and skill levels. His and his team's teachings don't just show students how to defend themselves, though. They can also boost self-esteem, burn calories, reduce stress, and improve one's ability to dice vegetables with their bare hand.
Just two blocks from East Beach and down the way from Stearns Wharf, the crack of bats is a fitting addition to the soundtrack of the nearby crashing waves. Each day throughout the week, baseball and softball fans pop in at East Beach Batting Cages to get in a workout, perfect their swing, or shake off the rust from too much time between batting sessions. At the outdoor facility, eight baseball pitching machines wing balls at batters at 35?80 mph, and six softball pitching machines lob a choice of slow or fast pitches. After working up a hunger, patrons can indulge at Norton's Pastrami and Deli, located onsite, or take a stroll along the beach to see how the seals play their own version of baseball.
At Bikram Yoga Santa Barbara, instructors, each of whom was personally certified by Bikram yoga?s eponymous founder Bikram Choudhury, guide students through 26 classic poses in 105-degree heat and 40% humidity. The patient teachers accommodate yogis of all skill levels, modifying poses and offering corrections during each class? 90 minutes of sitting, standing, balancing, and core-strengthening. The recently-renovated studio with new flooring and heating system helps melt muscles to make limbs more pliable while summoning sweat, boosting blood flow, detoxifying the body, and soothing soreness from injuries, stress, and overzealous hokey pokeys.
La Playa Pilates' team of certified Pilates instructors help students of all abilities hone strong cores and toned physiques. La Playa’s mat classes, conducted with strength-enhancing props, are currently available four days a week in its airy, spa-like studio. These mixed-level classes encompass the basics of Pilates, lay the foundation for lifelong strength, prepare students for more advanced apparatus and resistance work, and build abdominals tough enough to protect naturally delicate nougat centers.