South on 101: Online Santa Barbara experiences
South on 101

South on 101: Online Santa Barbara experiences

  • 0

Public events are still cancelled, but you can enjoy several different kinds of charming Santa Barbara experiences online.

Virtual Garden Tours

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden plans to gradually reopen but haven’t quite yet – with 78 acres, there is plenty of room for social distancing. Until then, visit their website ( to view a live webcam or take in a virtual tour.

Take in the Garden’s meadow in its full springtime blanket of poppies in bloom, or “sit” by Mission Creek to listen to soothing water sounds. The Garden’s Scot Pipkin is an engaging and knowledgeable guide in the brief video tours of the redwood grove, a hillside of manzanita, and the historic mission dam and waterworks – all viewed in 360-degrees.

Ganna Walska Lotusland opened to the public this month, and is also glorious in the spring. Photos on its website ( actually do it justice. Six 360-degree panoramas include views of the “living” Zodiac Clock (planted with succulents), beneath the dragon trees (dating back to the 1870s when the property was a nursery), and the white-bottomed abalone pond in aloe garden. Learn more about the plants in their extensive Plant Index.

Go Wild at the Virtual Zoo

Catch up with the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo at; new videos and news are posted every few days. You can follow the adventures of Humboldt penguin Monte who has been touring the closed zoo with keeper Ellie. Most recently, he met Western lowland gorilla Bangori – not face to face, but through glass. You can meet new residents: a male Masai giraffe calf named Twiga, born on March 27; and Bono, a new male white-handed gibbon who arrived from Eureka’s Sequoia Park Zoo in January.

Hear from animal experts from around the world on Zoo Radio (, produced by the Santa Barbara Zoo. Show host John Sepulvado talks with animal experts of all kinds in this informative and fun podcast. Learn about wild cheetahs in Africa who have dog companions, discover the mysterious life of seadragons (cousins of seahorses), or hear how bison are pollinators on the Great Plains, and much more.

Live Online

“Noah benShea and ‘Jacob the Baker,’” recorded live last February at the Luke Theatre, is now streaming free at BenShea published his first “Jacob the Baker” book in 1989. Its humor, compassion and gentle wisdom was a hit, and the series “Jacob” books has been translated into 18 languages. BenShea is now an internationally renowned philosopher, scholar and speaker (and Santa Barbara resident) who’s been called “a cross between Deepak and Oprah.” In this performance, he shares wisdom both as Jacob and as himself.

Center Stage Theaters DigitalArtsFestival has proven so popular, it continues indefinitely with new postings every day at 7 p.m. at Hear from local art-makers – in dance, theater, music, film, visual arts, poetry, storytelling – as they share their artistic process. Links to their works and performances are featured, as are insightful interviews from veteran radio broadcaster Jim Sirianni.

Julia McHugh can be reached at


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News