Glamping is a relatively new term that was created by combining the ideas of ‘camping’ and ‘glamor’ to create a different style of vacation. Before the recent popularity of glamping, travelers were often forced to choose from staying in hotels or packing their own tents for private camping trips. Now, with glamping, it’s possible to enjoy the luxuries and amenities of hotels with the freedom and fun of camping. Glamping locations can feature all kinds of accommodation from yurts and cabins to tents or even treehouses, and will often come along with the sorts of furnishings and services you would normally expect of a good quality hotel room like comfortable beds, running water, showers, toilets, Wi-Fi, cooking equipment, electricity, and more. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Overview of Glamping in Santa Barbara
2.Best Glamping in Santa Barbara
Best Glamping in Santa Barbara
- Overview of Glamping in Santa Barbara, Photo: Colin/stock.adobe.com
- Best Glamping in Santa Barbara, Photo: SergeyKrasnoshchokov/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Tomasz Zajda - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara in California is the premier non-collecting contemporary arts museum. Featuring a roster of world-class artists, MCASB curates 8-10 exhibits per year and hosts more than 30 events. Admission to the museum is always free.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara was established in 1976 as an alternative arts space by the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum. The initial founders felt it was important to dedicate a space for the sole purpose of displaying contemporary art on a local and multi-national scale.
The MCASB was first located in the historic Balboa Building before finding its permanent home in the 3,500-square foot Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center location in 1990. A satellite location was opened in 2010 at the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara which enabled the museum to offer exhibitions and programming to a wider audience and furthered partnerships with local organizations.
The Contemporary Arts Forum was renamed Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara in 2012 with a mission focused on education and the arts and is currently the most significant contemporary arts institution throughout the Santa Barbara region. In 2016 MCASB earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and operates as a non-collection not-for-profit museum.
The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday with varying hours and closed on major holidays. Admission to MCASB and the satellite location, is always free.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara does not collect any works and curate’s exhibitions by worldwide artists that are temporary. Details on specific exhibitions and length of the exhibits can be found on the MCASB website. Some artists that have been featured in the past include local artists Jane Callister, Ann Diener, Keith Puccinelle, and Richard Ross. The museum has presented exhibitions by Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, David Ireland, Vito Acconci, Jon Winet, Haha, Linda Hudson, Buster Simpson, Piero Golia, Evan Holloway, and many other internationally known contemporary artists. The museum also hosts Avant Garde performance art, dance, and video presentations in conjunction with other community organizations.
Bloom Projects- The Charles Bloom Foundation Gallery presents a series of art featuring newly commissioned art works by previously unknown artists. This program gives artists that are just beginning their career a platform to garner attention and provides them with resources to further their careers.
MCASB Satellite-This extension of the main museum is located in a boutique art hotel, Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, and features exhibitions that are presented for an entire year. Educational programming including lectures, workshops, performances, and film screenings are also presented, free of charge, at the Satellite location.
The MCASB Engagement Department is dedicated to providing visitors to the museum, and those in the community who cannot visit the museum, a unique experience in the contemporary arts through educational programming and outreach. Programs are offered for adults, children, families, and groups.
Artist Talks- Exhibiting contemporary artists host conversations about their art at MCASB for the community.
smART Talks- This lecture series seeks to increase community awareness of contemporary art and features local artists.
Curated Cocktails- A downtown Santa Barbara First Thursdays event at the Paseo Nuevo Upper Arts Terrace that features unique and innovative works, adult beverages, live music and interaction with art.
Third Thursday Studio- visitors can explore techniques and themes of contemporary art through creation with a featured guest artist. Materials are provided and advance registration is suggested.
Visiting Artist Series- This workshop takes place at the museum and offsite. Teaching artists engage participants in creating and experimenting with contemporary art.
Teen Arts Council- TAC is a hands-on program that aims ot make contemporary art more accessible to teens and young adults in the Santa Barbara area. Members of the organization work with curators to plan, promote and host events at the museum.
Art Lab- creative play in encouraged for all ages in the Art Lab where visitors are immersed in themes of contemporary art.
Art Voyager Camp- This summer camp is a collaboration between MCASB and other community organization to provide artistic opportunities for children.
Sunday Story Time- This program welcomes children on Sunday afternoons to read and listen to stories related to themes of current exhibitions at MCASB. If current exhibitions are not family friendly, the program is paused.
ArtKlatsch- These professional development workshops are designed for art educators who wish to learn more about contemporary art and provides a networking opportunity for local professionals.
Tours- Self guided tours are encouraged at MCASB with guides available for visitors. The museum is also a frequent location for school and community groups who wish to learn about contemporary art and local, as well as international, artists in a variety of mediums.
653 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, California, 93101, Phone: 805-966-5373
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Attraction Spotlight: Ganna Walska Lotusland
Ganna Walska Lotusland in Santa Barbara is a magnificent landscaped garden estate named after well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, Madame Ganna Walska. The property was purchased by Walska in 1941, who then spent the next 43 years creating Lotusland, which now features one of the most spectacular collections of exotic plants in the world.
Located in Montecito in California, the globally renowned 37-acre property reflects Walska’s personal penchant for the dramatic and the whimsical with unique garden designs, several extraordinary plant collections and surprises around every corner. After Ganna Walska’s death in 1984, the estate became a nonprofit botanical garden and was opened for the public to enjoy in 1993.
Named after the myriad lotus flowers that bloom prolifically here in the summer, Lotusland is home to more than 3,000 plants from all over the world, represented in a variety of unique gardens. Varieties range from lush bromeliad and fern gardens, aloe gardens, and striking cactus and succulent gardens to a serene Japanese Garden, and a stunning ‘blue’ garden. Other features of the whimsical botanical garden include a 25-foot round horticultural clock with the signs of the zodiac, a Theatre Garden, and fanciful topiary animals dotted around the terrain.
The Australian Garden was designed by landscape architect Sydney Baumgartner in 1993 and features large masses of unusual plants, all native to Australia, that pay homage to Madame Walska’s distinctive landscaping style. Characteristic species include spear lilies, dramatic bottle trees, and grass trees, as well as acacias, myrtles, and grevillea.
The Aloe Garden features over 140 kinds of aloes, succulent plants native to Africa and Madagascar, including Aloe barberae, A. ramosissima, and A. dichotoma, including unusual species such as a ponytail palm (Beaucarnea stricta) and the grugru palm (Acrocomia aculeate). The Garden also has a white-bottomed ‘abalone shell pond’ with two cascading fountains made from giant clam shells.
The Japanese Garden features azaleas, camellias, Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), and several species of pine, all of which are pruned in the traditional niwaki style. The garden is also home to several bronze statues of cranes, ducks, egrets, and kingfishers, and a collection of stone lanterns, while huge koi swim in the shallow waters of a tranquil pond. A small Shinto shrine and a wisteria arbor surrounded by Japanese and coast redwood add an extra Oriental touch.
The iconic Blue Garden features plants with silvery to blue-gray foliage such as the blue atlas cedar, towering Chilean wine palms, Mexican blue palm, and ground cover planting of blue fescue, among others. Highlights of the garden include two camphor trees native to China and Japan, bunya-bunya, Queensland kauri, and hoop pine, while blue-green glass slag lines the pathways that wind through the garden.
The whimsical Theatre Garden was constructed in 1948 and features seating for more than 100 visitors on sandstone benches. The Garden is filled with Walska’s collection of ancient stone figures, called “grotesques,” which she collected and retrieved from Gallus, France after World War II. The garden is surrounded by African boxwood trees and fern pines.
The Tropical garden began with a collection of orchid cacti and developed into a beautiful sanctuary with a rock-lined streambed, masses of gingers, ornamental and edible bananas, and hanging baskets.
Other features of the Gardens are the newly restored water stairs and cypress allée. Beginning at the swimming pool and culminating at an ornamental carved limestone wellhead, the cypress-lined brick walkway (or allée) offers a lovely amble next to a series of 14 water basins that flow into a large pleasure pond, complete with a sailboat and an island.
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695 Ashley Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108, Phone: 805-969-3767
Attraction Spotlight: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History was founded in 1916 by William Leon Dawson an Ornithologist when he became formally integrated into the Natural History Society that a group of businessmen and scientists had begun in 1876. The small museum that the society had started was located on State Street, however the location was moved to two buildings on Dawson’s property where his collection of bird eggs and bird specimens were prominently featured. Next read: Best Things to Do in Santa Barbara
In 1923, The Board of Directors were eager to expand their vision and received generous donations and endowments from the estates of two different members of the Hazard family, Caroline and Mrs. Rowland Hazard. A new museum building and campus were built and several wings added over time to grow the collection.
There are currently two campuses—Mission Canyon and The Sea Center which is located on the wharf in Santa Barbara. The museum receives over 200,000 visitors per year and now hold over 3.5 million specimens and artifacts in the departments of archaeology, anthropology, biology, geology, paleontology, art and archives.
The Natural History Museum is divided up into eight halls that represent different sciences. Admission to all eight halls is included in museum general admission. The specimens in the exhibit have been preserved in many ways including taxidermy. Each hall is set up much like a diorama filled with animals and created habitats displayed together in a scene.
Mammal Hall- Like the name suggests, mammals are featured in this hall. Visitors will learn about each animal on display from badgers to deer, foxes and even bears. Each exhibit will teach about the mammal’s physical characteristics like fur, antlers, teeth, camouflage, and other features that help it adapt to its environment.
Denis M. Power Bird Hall- This exhibit is one of the most renowned of its kind. There are 500 different birds representing 300 species in this hall. Each of the birds in this exhibit are native to the west coast and California.
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Cartwright Hall- This exhibit is unique because it explored relationships between living things from plant and insect relationships to fire and climate. The habitats that are included in this exhibit are Salt Marsh, Yellow Pine Forest, Savanna, Oak Woodlands, Coastal Dunes and Chaparral. Most of the specimens are invertebrates and include terrestrial and freshwater species. The entrance to the hall is an amazing glass wall with over 4,000 butterflies, moths, and insects mounted to it. This exhibit also includes many live specimens such as spider, crustaceans, millipedes and scorpions.
Chumash Indian Hall- The history of the Chumash Indians is portrayed in this hall. These people were indigenous to the Santa Barbara area. The Natural History Museums holds one of the most impressive collections of Chumash artifacts in the world and partner with the local Chumash community to learn more.
Geology and Paleontology Hall- This is the largest of the permanent exhibits and includes specimens dating back 19,000 years ago. A highlight of the exhibit is the recreation of a Pygmy Mammoth skeleton that was most complete of any other that has been found. There are articulated mammoth skeleton and paintings of mammoths also in this exhibit. A genuine skeleton of the Channel Island Pygmy Mammoth is in the Pygmy Mammoth excavation exhibit. This specimen happens to the only full sized skeleton of a Channel Island Pygmy that has been found. This special exhibit also teaches visitors what the excavation process is all about.
Mineral and Gem Gallery- The Mineral and Gem Gallery is the newest exhibit at the museum. Minerals, gems, phosphorescent and fluorescent specimens, crystals and other precious stones are found in this exhibit. There are rare gems such as a watermelon tourmaline and ornamental stones. The touchable minerals in this exhibit are a visitor’s favorite. Visitors can play with fool’s gold, explore a crystal mine and watch glow in the dark rocks change under Ultraviolet lights.
John and Peggy Maximus Gallery- This hall focuses on the preservation of antique prints and interpreting works of art from the 17th through 19th centuries. The hall features three exhibitions every year that are organized around specific themes. The current exhibit is Birds of Prey, Game Birds, Nocturnal Hunters. This exhibit is part of the centennial celebration of the Natural History Museum and contains 91 Audubon prints that were donated by Mr. Wolcott Tuckerman in 1923. This collection was the foundation for the natural history print collection. The upcoming exhibition will be Design by Nature: Four centuries of Botanical Illustration. This exhibit will run in the spring of 2017.
Marine Hall- Local marine animals and their habitats are presented in this exhibit to help visitors understand more about the natural marine life all around them in California. A highlight of this exhibit is the model of a giant squid hanging from the ceiling.
The Blue Whale Skeleton showcases the largest animal to ever live on earth. Many natural history museums showcase dinosaurs, but the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has a blue whale marking the entrance of their museum. This is one of only five intact skeletons in the country and is 73 feet long and weight 7.7 thousand pounds. The skeleton underwent restoration in 2010 and some features were beyond repair so the massive skeleton is now a composite of four different Blue Whales.
Nature Trail is an outdoor natural walk through the timber and natural areas of the 11 acre property of the museum. There are paths that lead alongside the creek, trails through the nature sanctuary, plenty of picnic tables and an outdoor amphitheater. There are bird feeding stations and bird spotting guides that visitors can use while walking. Visitors are also educated on the value of natural plants such as poison oak. They can also observe the Steelhead Trout which is currently endangered.
The Museum Backyard celebrates the joy of being outside and features boulders to climb on, forts, mud stations, water activities, a stage and playground. The Nature Club House located in the Backyard as well and allows guests to interact with insects and other creatures found in the oakwoodland.
Fleischmann Auditorium is the lecture hall at the Museum of Natural History. There are also special exhibitions that are set up here. The current exit is American Indian Basketry from the Anthropology Collection. This exhibit in an ongoing series at the museum that goes behind the scenes. Items that are part of a collection but not currently on display to the public are featured in these special events.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History owns a second campus on Stearns Warf called The Sea Center. This museum is interactive and perfect for families with children who are interested in the ocean and marine life.
There are several permanent exhibitions at The Sea Center including a Shark Cove where visitors can interact with the sharks through a touch pool, see sharks while they are still forming inside translucent eggs. Intertidal Wonders is another exhibit of touch pools that allow guests to interact with sea anemones, hermit crabs, and more with naturalist guides. There are also Jelly Fish and a photography exhibit of underwater photographs and video.
This planetarium is the only on the Central Coast that features multimedia shows live. The planetarium opened in 1957 and has educated guests on the constellations, solar system, Milky Way galaxy, the moon and other planets as well. This building is part of the astronomy program through the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History with a recent remodel in 2005. There is now a state of the art digital projector that allows for guests to take flight virtually and brand new theater style seating.
There are shows that are produced daily that are in addition to museum admission unless visitors have a museum membership. In December, there are shows that discuss Santa’s fight, and there are shows that are in Spanish on Sundays. Twinkle Twinkle is for children who are under 5 and is a short, 15 minute program presented weekly. Kids’ Space Adventure is perfect for children over 5 who are interested in our solar system, asteroids, comets and stars. Your Cosmic Quest and What’s UP are both programs for teenagers and adults that focus on seasonal variations in the sky and recent discoveries. Cosmic Safari takes visitors on a tour of planets that have not been discovered yet. They learn about the different environmental possibilities on other planets and possible life forms. This is a mix of science fiction and best for families with children who are over five years old.
The mission of the museum has always been based in education. There are programs for Adults, Families, Teens and children, as well as, special programing for education field trips, teachers resource and homeschool programs offered through the museum.
There are also camps offered in the spring, summer and fall and weekend workshops that emerge participants in science and nature as they explore the world around them. There is even a program that employs high school students.
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2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, Phone: 805-962-2526
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