Santa Barbara Mission
Barbara has a number of sights that are
historically and culturally significant.
They are appropriate for both families
and individuals of all ages.
city was shaped by its Spanish past and
reflects that in its architecture.
There has been a strong commitment to
keeping Santa Barbara beautiful.
It makes this city very easy on the eye!
Mission - This is where it all began
for Santa Barbara. The mission is
one of the most beautiful in the state
and offers real historic insight.
Many events are scheduled at the Mission
and it continues to be a focal point of
cultural and religious activity.
Waterfront is at the Heart of Santa
Barbara beauty and a great source of
entertainment. You'll find three
beaches, several excellent restaurants,
a wharf, a museum, a harbor and a skate
park. If you are visiting Santa
Barbara, this is an absolute must-see.
Courthouse - This gorgeous but
functional structure is just 75 years
old but it has the look and feel of a
200 year old Spanish Colonial. If
you are planning to visit, make a point
of going to the top of the tower - the
view is spectacular.
Barbara Zoo -
One of the nation's best small zoos,
this is a visit for the entire family.
The Zoo was developed like a park, with
plenty of picnic and open areas. The
animals are easily viewed and the
setting is intimate. They say its
a small zoo but there are 600 animals!
Barbara Museum of Art - This
wonderful museum boasts an excellent
combination of permanent and special
exhibits. Although it's not an
enormous museum (you can see it all in
about 90 minutes), it has an impressive
permanent collection of Asian art that
is a must-see.
Ranch Center - Bringing the Reagan
Ranch to downtown Santa Barbara, CA. The
center shows the history of the famous
Reagan Ranch property and highlights the
legacy and accomplishments of Ronald
Presidio State Historic Park - One
of the most significant historical
buildings in Santa Barbara, El Presidio
has been reconstructed faithfully based
on historic and archeological evidence.
It combines great beauty and real
function, as it is the home for many
events throughout the year.
de La Guerra - Another must see.
From the outside you'd never really know
that this was a wonderful museum
with some fabulous vignettes.
Since it was initially built (~1817) the
Casa has been the center of civic,
political and even social affairs.
Museum of Natural History
- One of
the many surprise finds, this excellent
museum displays the flora and fauna of
Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands.
There is also an extensive section on
Prehistoric Native American life.
- These wonderful gardens are a bit out
of the way, but definitely worth the
trip. There are many events
planned by the Gardens staff that give
dyed-in-the-wool botanists and new
enthusiasts alike something to learn.
Barbara Historical Society Museum - This
museum features both permanent and
changing exhibits that share Santa
Barbara's colorful past from the Native
American age to modern times.
Maritime Museum - This is a
fascinating small museum located right
on the waterfront. It is filled
with artifacts, displays and history all
about the impact of the sea on the local
inhabitants ranging from the Chumash to
House & Railroad Museum -
by a prominent ranching family in 1873,
Stow House is a rambling two story house
and is the oldest frame house in the
Goleta Valley. The Railroad Museum
offers antique railroad artifacts,
photographs and hands-on exhibits are
shown in the agency office and the
passenger waiting room.
Coordinates - Each
use of hand-held
GPS (Global Positioning System)
receivers become more common place
as location-finding tool.
Here we provide you a table of latitude
/ longitude GPS coordinates of selected
Santa Barbara County destinations.
2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
The official literature calls Mission Santa
Barbara "Queen of the Missions for
its graceful beauty." Founded on December
4th, 1786, it was the tenth of 21 Franciscan
missions in California. It still functions as
a church today. Self-guided tours daily
9am-5pm. Docent tours for schools and other
groups are arranged by appointment. The tours
are $4.00 for adults and begin in the gift
Barbara was the tenth of the California
missions to be founded by the Spanish
Franciscans. It was established on the Feast
of St. Barbara, Dec 4, 1786. Padre Junipero
Serra, who founded the first nine missions,
had died 2 years earlier. Serra had planned to
build this mission, raising the cross at the
presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782. It was
Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, his
successor, who raised the cross here and
placed Padre Antonio Paterna, a companion of
Serra, in charge. Paterna put up the first
buildings and made the first converts.
buildings were of adobe and unpretentious. As
the years passed, there was progress and
development. There were three adobe churches
here, each larger than the other, before the
present church. The third was destroyed by
earthquake in 1812. Thereafter the present
church was planned. It was finished and
dedicated in 1820. The present friary
residence was built gradually, first one
story, then a second was added. It was not
finished until 1870. The beautiful fountain in
front of the Mission was built in 1808. The
earthquake of June 29, 1925 damaged the
Mission Church and friary considerably.
Restoration work was completed in 1927 and the
towers reinforced in 1953.
Prior to the
Spanish arrival, the Chumash inhabited the
area from Malibu to San Luis Obispo. They were
hunters and gatherers oriented to the sea.
They built plank boats (tomols) which were
capable of traveling to the Channel Islands.
Their religious practices and ceremonies
included the creation of elaborate polychrome
rock art located in remote caves and rock
outcroppings. Chumash villages were
autonomous, headed by the hereditary leader.
Houses were dome shaped with tules covering a
willow frame. Basketry was a major art form as
were stone bowls and tools. Chumash
manufactures were noted by early explorers as
being high in quality. Their skilled handiwork
greatly contributed to the Mission's success.
leaders such as Chief Yanonali became
Christians, leading many villagers to join
them. Native customs did not die out all
together in arts or belief, however. In the
1880's Rafael Solares (pictured in museum room
#1 in spiritual leader's garb) was the last
Antap (Native spiritual leader) and also the
sacristan of Mission Santa Ines and an active
Christian leader. Many Chumash descendants
still live in the Santa Barbara area today. A
number of Indian community groups keep culture
alive and provide social, cultural, medical,
and preservation programs that benefit the
Franciscans introduced agriculture to the
Indians. The principal products of the field
were wheat, barley, corn, beans, and peas.
Orange and olive trees were planted and vines
were cultivated. Water was brought from the
mountain creeks to irrigate the fields and for
domestic use. To impound these waters the
Indian Dam was built in 1807, about two miles
upstream. The water was led to the Mission by
an aqueduct, the water flowing by gravity. The
ruins of these, together with a mill, tanning
vats, a storage reservoir, and a filter may be
seen near the Mission today.
Barbara had cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, mules
and horses in great number. In 1809, there
were 5,200 head of cattle, and in 1803, 11,221
head of sheep. At the Mission, the Indians
made adobes, tiles, shoes, and woolen
garments, learned the trades of carpenter and
mason, and became herdsmen and farmers. They
also leaned to sing and play European
instrumental music. Church services were
accompanied by an Indian choir and
instrumental ensemble of violins, cellos,
woodwinds, and brasses rather than an organ.
purpose of the Mission was the
christianazation of the Chumash Indians. This
was considered accomplished by the 1930's.
With no new converts, the Mission's Indian
population started to go down. Spain had lost
California to Mexico in 1822, and in 1834 the
Mission was secularized. Indians were placed
under civil jurisdiction not church authority.
Civil administration resulted in a
deterioration of lifestyle and buildings. Fr.
Duran was then appointed administrator in
1839, and in 1843 the Missions were returned
to the Franciscans. Two years later the
Governor confiscated the lands and in 1846 the
Mission was sold. The missionaries were
allowed to conduct services in the church
(unlike many California Missions which were
abandoned or turned into barns). In 1865 the
Mission was returned to the Catholic Church by
Abraham Lincoln (California having become part
of the U.S. in 1848).
Mission period was over, the buildings were
used for a number of purposes. From 1868 until
1877 the Franciscans conducted a high school
and junior college for boys, both for boarders
and local students. In 1896, a seminary was
opened at the Mission for candidates studying
for the priesthood. Until the summer of 1968
the School of Theology for the Franciscan
Province of St. Barbara was located in the
Mission buildings. The Friars work in various
apostolates in the western states. They
continue to serve the Indians of Arizona and
New Mexico as well as the foreign missions.
The Mission church today is used by the Parish
of St. Barbara. When Santa Barbara's Presidio
was founded in 1782, in expectation of
founding a Mission here, the Spanish soldiers
were of varied ethnic backgrounds. Indian
tribes of Mexico, Sephardic Jews, and Africans
as well as Spaniards were all represented in
the ancestry of California's early settlers.
Some of those settlers soon intermarried with
native Chumash people. There are numerous
Santa Barbarans today who trace their ancestry
to the Chumash and a Presidio soldier or early
settler. When the Americans arrived in 1848,
further intermarriage occurred resulting in
the diversity of Santa Barbara's heritage
reflected in the names and backgrounds of
those buried in the Mission cemetery. Early
Manila galleons and China clippers brought
Asian cultural influence to California as
well. Some visible examples of this cultural
infusion are the Philippine crucifix and the
Chinese silk vestments in the museum Chapel
room and the variety of Chinese porcelain
alongside the English China, Mexican Majolica
and California Indian basketry seen in the
kitchen display. The obvious Moorish (African)
cultural influences are clearly visible in the
architecture of the Mission itself, while the
art works that decorate the Mission are
primarily from Mexico's rich cultural
traditions. Santa Barbara Mission today is a
monument to the cultural diversity of
art collection of this mission is rich and
varied. Most of the pieces are of the baroque
or neoclassical eras, and nearly all were
imported from Mexico and South America. Some
notable exceptions include the three stone
statues in the museum depicting S. Barbara,
along with the virtues of faith and charity.
These three were carved by a mission Indian
using pictures in books as a guide, from which
he carved three-dimensional images. The figure
of charity has very pronounced Indian
features. These are the only existing large
sculptures done by California Indians.
and statues in the church and museum depict
angels, saints and Bible stories. Some of the
more notable works include the large crucifix
portraying the suffering of Jesus on the
cross. The straining body and streaming blood
from wounds are meant to emotionally involve
the worshipper in the passion of Christ. The
small statues of St. Dominic and St. Francis
are especially fine sculptures whose faces
display a sense of emotional intensity typical
of baroque art.
building is similar to those built in the
countryside of Mexico in the early 1800's. It
is primarily neoclassical in style, utilizing
decorative devices and features from the time
of the Roman Empire. The iconic capitals on
top of the pilasters echo the ones on the
facade of the building, and were considered
appropriate by the Romans for a temple
dedicated to a goddess. Since this church is
dedicated St. Barbara, the designers utilized
these "female" architectural
attributes. The church was probably
constructed under the direction of a master
mason, Jose Antonio Ramirez. It represents the
greatest engineering achievement of the
combine efforts of the Indian, Spanish and
Mexican artisans here in Santa Barbara.
Waterfront ranges from Leadbetter
Beach, past the Harbor, West
Palm Park, the Zoological
Gardens and to East
Beach. Along this stretch of
incredible coastline you will find
restaurants, shops, artists, and a bike
trail. The waterfront is an important
meeting place for locals during the Forth of
July and First Night celebrations.
Wharf is the center of all this
activity. The structure is over
130 years old and has been the home of much of
Santa Barbara's early history when immigrants
and supplies had to come primarily from the
popular attraction is the Ty
Center - a fun,
engaging, interactive marine education
facility located on Stearns Wharf. Owned and
operated by the Santa Barbara Museum of
Natural History, the Ty Warner Sea Center
fulfills the mission of the Museum to inspire
a passion for the natural world.
Harbor began almost a hundred years ago when a
wealthy Santa Barbara resident wanted to keep
his yacht closer to home - or so the story
goes. He created the breakwater and
harbor that keeps the considerable fishing and
pleasure boat population of Santa Barbara safe
and moored. The Harbor and
Stearns Wharf are connected by the Waterfront
Shuttle "Lil Toot".
the Harbor features the Maritime
Museum and one of Santa Barbara's landmark
restaurants, Brophy Bros. The
breakwater is paved and you can take a stroll
out to the end.
will find a wonderful park to the east of the
Palm Park, that features the weekly Arts
& Crafts Show. Each Sunday local
artisans gather to share their latest wares.
Palm Park is also a mecca for the younger
crowd as they try their skill at Skater's
Point, Santa Barbara's gift to
skateboarders and inline skaters.
Take the 101 to Cabrillo or Garden. Turn
away from the mountains. Cabrillo Blvd.
Will bring you to the East Beach edge of the
Waterfront. Garden will bring you closer
to the Wharf. The parking is along the
south side of Cabrillo, in the lot near East
Beach, on one of the side streets off State
Street, in the parking lot near the harbor and
in the lot near Leadbetter Beach. If
there is a major event going on, park in one
of the main city lots up State Street and take
the Waterfront Shuttle.
Birthday information hotline: 805-962-5339
General Visitor Information: 805-962-6310
(with recorded information)
daily 10am-5pm. Tickets
sold until 4pm.
Adults (13 - 59): $10.00
Children (2 - 12): $8.00
Seniors (60+): $8.00
Children under 2: FREE
Consistently ranked as one of America's
best small zoos, the Zoological Gardens are
wonderful. One of my favorite things to
do is get in right around 4 p.m. when the
animals are getting fed. If you're lucky you
can actually see (and hear) the sea lions eat
- a treat in and of itself!
- Hotels near the Zoo
of the Santa Barbara Zoo
the 500 animals
you'll find elephants, giraffes, lions,
tigers, gibbons, sea lions, exotic birds and
farm animals. There is a miniature
train ride, children's playground, snack bar
and spacious picnic area.
The zoo is constantly in the process of
making changes so there's always something new
Note: If the animals and the park
don't amaze you, think of the amazing piece of
land this zoo sits on. You're right next to
the ocean and the giraffe's have the
equivalent of a multi-million dollar
Presidio de Santa Barbara
123 East Canon Perdido St
Open daily 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
$4 donation is requested
Guided tours can be arranged by contacting the
Trust at 805-965-0093
far as landmarks go, this is one of the most
interesting and significant in Santa
Barbara. It rivals the Mission in
complexity and beauty. It is also the
site of an active archeological dig.
Most of the buildings are thoroughly
researched reconstructions using the real
foundation of the original Presidio.
Only El Cuertal, the family quarters of the
guard assigned to the western gate, and the
Canedo Adobe, which was deeded to a soldier
after the Presidio was no longer active,
survive from the original buildings.
in 1782, the Santa Barbara Royal Presidio was
the last of four military fortresses built by
the Spanish along the wilderness
frontier. The original fort was a fully
enclosed quadrangle that surrounded an open
parade ground. It was surrounded by an
outer defense wall that boasted two canon
bastions. The chapel was the first in
Santa Barbara for the local towns people, as
the Mission was used primarily by the
Christianized native population.
series of earthquakes over 100 years and then
the development of the downtown area destroyed
most of the original buildings. In 1963
the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic
Preservation formed with the restoration of
the Presidio as its primary objective.
The Trust has donated the park to the state
and continues to manage it. The State Park is
always under some sort of construction.
are three major structures. El Presidio is
across the street from the Post Office.
The living quarters, which are the newest
addition, are on the other side of Santa
Barbara St. El Cuartel is on the other side of
Canon Perdido next to the Post Office and is
the oldest surviving Presidio structure.
A fourth structure is under construction next
to the main Presidio. Many of the
artifacts in the displays come from the
archeological digs you can see surrounding the
Barbara Maritime Museum
113 Harbor Way, Suite 190
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
to the Maritime museum is a wonderful treat
for anyone. The
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a must stop
if you are close to the Waterfront
Center. Just looking through the
periscope is worth admission.
the Harbor's Waterfront Center, formerly known
as the Naval Reserve Center, The Maritime
Museum features a balance of highly
interactive exhibits, such as the
periscope. The periscope extends from
the roof for anyone to view. Just like
an actual periscope from a submarine, it gives
you a 365 degree viewing radius. It is
absolutely the best exhibit at the museum.
museum is dedicated to preserving and
presenting to the public the maritime heritage
and on-going educational platform to study
human interaction with the marine
300 North Los Carneros Road, Goleta
Wed.-Sun. 1-4 p.m.
Depot was built by the Southern Pacific
Railroad Co. in 1901 and closed in 1973.
It was boarded up for a long time before local
efforts to save it succeeded. Extensive
restoration work was necessary, but
Goleta Depot reopened Oct. 10, 1982, during
which the building also was officially
recognized as Santa Barbara County Historical
Landmark No. 22.
railroad museum with its miniature train is
well-done and a treat for the whole family.
Antique railroad artifacts, photographs and
hands-on exhibits are shown in the agency
office and the passenger waiting room.
From the 101 exit on Los Carneros, which is
about 10 miles west of Santa Barbara. At the
top of the ramp, turn towards the mountains.
If you continue past Calle Real, you will find
the parking lot to your right.
House & Railroad Museum
Los Carneros and Calle Real,
This wonderful park is a
unique combination of
history and rustic charm.
Ideal for children who might
learn history the fun way
and for many busy
professionals who take their
lunch breaks here.
by a prominent ranching
family in 1873, Stow House
is a rambling two story
house and is the oldest
frame house in the Goleta
Stow House has been restored
and outfitted with beautiful
clothing, toys, and
memorabilia by the Goleta
out the Rail Museum
From the 101 exit on Los
Carneros, which is about 10
miles west of Santa Barbara.
At the top of the ramp, turn
towards the mountains. If
you continue past Calle
Real, you will find the
parking lot to your right.
House, South coast Railroad
Museum housed in the
restored rail depot, a
25-acre lake with walkways
all around it. Creature
comforts are scarce,
restrooms and picnic areas