Open Pathways

Lotusland is a treasure that Madame Walska intended to share with all Santa Barbara citizens, but the restriction of visitors and students to a total of 20,000 annually, by our Santa Barbara County Conditional Use Permit, makes it difficult for us to fulfill Madame’s dream. As Roger Ascham penned in 1545, “necessity is the inventor of goodness”, and our commitment to sharing Lotusland with the entire Santa Barbara community inspired our creativity.

The invention of goodness is our Open Pathways program, in which we partner with select Santa Barbara organizations to bring in underserved segments of the population who might otherwise find it challenging to visit Lotusland. Open Pathways provides customized tours and programs for them, for free. Access is only part of the gift.  A visit to Lotusland can provide respite and tranquility, and inspire awe and hope, for some of the most underserved people in Santa Barbara. Qualifying organizations are 501(c)(3) status or government agencies that work with underserved populations. Past partners have included organizations that help veterans, people with poverty or homelessness, under-resourced youth, and people with cognitive, mental, or physical impairments.

Our staff and docents work with numerous organizations and our deliberate approach to bring Santa Barbara’s most underserved populations to the gardens fulfills the original intent of opening Lotusland free to our county citizens who cannot afford the admission cost, and has earned Lotusland the Mayor of Santa Barbara’s Award for Accessibility in 2013.This program is generously sponsored by the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and by Southern California Edison. If you would like to support or see if your organization is qualified for Open Pathways, please contact Lisa Stone at or 805.969.3767 Extension 120.