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Explore & Grow Together

Explore Together

Foster a Love of Nature

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden provides the perfect backdrop for school trips, small groups, and summer camps. Whether you’re looking to immerse your classroom in the natural world, expose your youth to lessons only nature provides, or treat your kids to fun activities all year long – the Garden has you covered.

From scavenger hunts you can pick up at the start of your visit to engaging outdoor programs, we’re committed to creating moments in and around that Garden that inspire the next generation of conservationists. So, let’s explore what the Garden offers!

Contact

Youth & Family Programs

805.682.4726, ext. 161

Summer Camps

Children ages 5 to 10 are invited to join us for a week of outdoor play, exploration, and connection in the Backcountry at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Campers will create, get dirty, ask questions, and seek answers in one of California’s premier native botanical landscapes.

Kids ascending stairs in redwoods led by woman

School Visits

We are proud to offer several guided tours, led by our Education and Engagement Team, to further enhance your school group’s visit to the Garden.

NOTE: Our school field trips for the 2023-24 school year are sold out.

Self-guided School Visits

Moving at your own pace through the Garden might be what your school group prefers. If that’s the case for you, here are a few things to keep in mind. A reservation request must be received no later than 21 business days before your desired visit date in order to receive your discount.  

When booking a reservation through a school or youth-focused organization, the Garden will discount admission as follows: 

  • Youth: 50% off admission
  • Teachers and group leaders: 50% off admission
  • Adult Chaperones: No charge for a maximum of five adults. We recommend one adult per six to eight students.

Teacher Resources

To support a lifelong connection with the natural world, the Garden has several free tools available to support educators and enthusiasts to pass along an appreciation of native plants to the next generation.

Partnering with local teachers, we have developed lessons and unit materials that can be completed both synchronously and asynchronously.  These units and activities support teachers’ science and environmental curriculum in the classroom, at the Garden, and online. 

Hands-on learning about plant propagation (Photo: Randy Wright)
Child in yellow shirt planting a native spout in black container
Hands-on learning about plant propagation (Photo: Randy Wright)

Backcountry Pathfinder Program

Children ages 8 to 13 are invited to become a Backcountry Pathfinder. A Pathfinder loves to explore, values nature, and inspires others through example and leadership.

Kids can grow skills and become leaders in caring for nature. With a focus on horticulture, biodiversity, and using natural resources, these mission-driven tracks strengthen children’s relationships, skills, and understanding of native plants and habitats to inspire them as future stewards of our planet.

Explore the Backcountry

Looking for something a bit less structured? Come explore the Backcountry, a 4.5-acre (1.8-hectare) section of the Garden opened every day. Designed for kids of all ages, this ever-evolving space invites guests to hike through different habitats as they climb on fallen trees, rock hop, look for critters under logs, build forts out of natural materials, and even navigate a maze.

Kids in Backcountry_Andrea Russell Photo