One of the greatest and most over-the-top botanical gardens in California is once again open to the public.

Aerial View
Courtesy of Lotusland

If you’re looking for a hint that life might ever return to normal in California, look no further than Santa Barbara icon Lotusland. The beloved public garden is back after a two-month closure, having been deemed an essential outdoor recreation space by Santa Barbara County.

The reclassification means that the 37-acre property can open in something resembling a normal capacity. Masks will be required, and bathrooms will be the only buildings visitors will be allowed into. But the public can once again stroll the fanciful grounds, wandering at will (group tours have been suspended) through the various botanical regions of the garden, originally envisioned by eccentric Polish opera singer Ganna Walska in the 1940s.

Staff caution that if the public prove unable to maintain social distancing, the garden could be shut down again, so we urge visitors to be respectful of each others’ space.

Tickets can be reserved online or by phone at 805/969-9990. Get them quickly, as reservation are hard to come by in a normal summer, and will be even more scarce this year with reduced numbers of people allowed in the gardens at any one time.