Depending on traffic, drive to Santa Barbara is approximately 45 minutes and 25 miles; Getting on/off motorcoach; Walking on even terrain and standing for long periods of time; Participants can climb the 85-foot clock tower of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.
At the hotel, we'll enjoy a buffet featuring an assortment of hot and cold breakfast items plus water, coffee, tea, and assorted juices.
This morning, we’ll be joined by a local expert who will trace the history of the mission system from its Spanish beginnings to the successes of the missions in Latin America, and examine why they were used in California. Hear about Father Junipero Serra and what life was like at the California Missions. Discuss why the missions failed, the pros and cons of the missions, and how they are viewed today. Our private motorcoach will depart the hotel for the Santa Barbara Mission, where we will enjoy a docent-led visit. Founded in 1786, Mission Santa Barbara was the 10th of the missions to be built. It is called the "Queen of the Missions" for its beautiful hilltop setting and majestic views. Our morning continues with a docent-led visit of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. The courthouse is the jewel in Santa Barbara's architectural crown, on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Historic Landmark. The current courthouse, completed just four months before the U.S. stock market crash of 1929, looks as if it belongs in southern Spain with its Spanish-Moorish architecture and surrounding sunken garden. The top of the 85-foot clock tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding city and the mountains.
At a favorite local restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara featuring a sandwich, side salad, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, or soda.
Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Explore State Street in Santa Barbara before the motorcoach departs for the return trip to Ventura.
At the hotel.
Enjoy an evening session with a local expert learning about Channel Islands National Park in preparation for the next day's visit via boat to Santa Cruz Island. Channel Islands National Park covers five of the eight channel islands off the coast of Southern California. Having endured thousands of years of isolation, these islands are host to a variety of flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. With its pristine beaches and grass covered hills, Santa Cruz is the largest island of the five islands comprising Channel Islands National Park, and is a miniature of what Southern California looked like 100 years ago.