Ellwood Monarch Grove & Santa Barbara

12 Apr

Posted by: Katie

This last December I met up with my brother in LA and we went up to visit our mom and aunt in Santa Barbara (we took the train- it took only about two hours. So much fun).

We did all sorts of fun things but one of my favorite adventures was going  to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve! It is in Goleta, CA close to the University of California, Santa Barbara campus and was such a surprise treat. I never knew that when Monarch butterflies migrate South they come together in certain spots and I guess this is a place that they stop and huddle together (cuddling butterflies!) for their “over-wintering time” which is typically from November through February. The recommended months for seeing the peak number of butterflies are December and January.

This way to butterflies

The Monarchs were hanging from the eucalyptus tree branches in huge clusters and apparently when the weather is a little warmer or the sun is on them, they fly around more. When we came upon the clusters I was shocked to see how big and how many of them there were. We did see butterflies flying around but it was not like a snowglobe with butterflies all around you (although that would have been cool too). It was such a beautiful, quiet place that I felt really lucky to have been able to experience it.

Those aren't all leaves they are thousands of butterflies!

Butterfly clusters high in the trees

The preserve is 9.3 acres and encompasses the butterfly grove, woodlands and meadows and trails linking the Ellwood Main Monarch Grove to Ellwood Shores coastal bluffs, Ellwood Mesa. Spearling Preserve Open Space, the Devereux Slough and the beach. The trails are not “hikes” and you can wear flip flops comfortably, although you might prefer wearing shoes because it can get a little muddy in areas. If you continue past the grove like we did you will come to a beautiful bluff overlooking the ocean.

My mom and brother

Other notable things from that trip that I would like to revisit were the Farmers Market on State Street, San Ysidro Ranch and the beach.

Farmer's Market on State Street


San Ysidro Ranch

I am excited for my next trip to see my mom, aunt and more of Santa Barbara.


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