Peaceful, colorful and historic, the Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden is a locals’ favorite. Occupying a city block, the gardens feature a collection of more than 70 tree and plant species. The park is a popular spot for weddings and events as well as school field trips.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
There are many things to see and do at Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden. Take a self-guided tree and plant tour. Explore the butterfly garden. Meander along the walk paths. Escape to the sensory garden, which offers sensory posts and interpretive Braille signs. Or enjoy a picnic at the beautiful gazebo that overlooks a manmade pond filled with koi and turtles.
A highlight of the park are the specialized planting beds for low-water species. These plants were chosen because they can grow well in Santa Barbara’s climate without the supplemental use of one of the area’s most precious resources – water. Nearly every day, professional photographers and visitors alike can be seen photographing these special plants.
HISTORY OF THE GARDENS
Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden has gone through many transitions since the 1860s when it was one of Santa Barbara’s original Plaza Alameda blocks. In 1904, the property was purchased by Mrs. Christian Herter, who built an Italianate-style house on the site. The house was later converted into a hotel called El Mirasol, which was demolished in the 1960s. In 1975, the property was purchased by Alice Keck Park, who gifted the land to the City of Santa Barbara and provided funds for the gardens’ development under the stipulation that the land should remain a park and not be sold to a developer.
HOW TO GET TO ALICE KECK PARK MEMORIAL GARDEN
Coming from Highway 101, take the Garden Street exit and turn onto Garden Street toward the mountains. The garden will be on your left between Micheltorena and Arrellaga streets. There is plenty of free parking nearby.