SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Lotusland has been closed since mid-March and it hasn’t been easy surviving without guests.
"As an organization, we have suffered a great deal of loss,” Lotusland Interim Executive Director Rebecca Anderson said. “We're looking at revenue shortfalls of a million dollars this year."
Deemed an essential outdoor recreation space by the county, Ganna Walska Lotusland will reopen to the public on May 20th.
The nonprofit botanical garden is implementing Public Health Department requirements to create a safe experience for individuals seeking to explore the historic estate.
Lotusland will require face masks and physical distancing throughout its property.
Staff and volunteer garden attendants trained to protect visitors will be stationed throughout the entire facility.
The botanical garden will not grant access to any buildings except the Visitor Center restrooms. It will also be selling masks and providing hand sanitizer.
"We've staggered our tours,” Anderson said. “That's allowed us to just have a couple of cars at any given moment."
"It lends itself to that kind of environment where people are able to distance themselves,” Lotusland docent Sandi Wilson said.
Many locals have already made reservations for their return to the 37 acre botanical wonderland.
"It's so wonderful to have people back at the gardens and to see everyone's smiling faces,” Lotusland education and community engagement manager Nikki Evans said. “There's a general sense of calm as people walk around."
"They're going to enjoy the fact that they can be back in such a tranquil peaceful environment,” Wilson said.
Guests will be able to use their phone cameras to scan QR codes for detailed horticultural information within the garden.
"We wanted to do something which helped people navigate their way through the gardens and learn a little bit more about each garden,” Evans said.
The staff remains confident visitors will benefit from the beauty of the botanical gardens.
"It's so important to be outside in nature right now and we've all been challenged to do that safely,” Anderson said. “Lotusland provides respite for all of us."
"To be able to come and spend two hours at an oasis such as Lotusland is so wonderful for mental wellbeing,” Evans concluded.
Lotusland has noted that their reopening status could be revoked if safety cannot be preserved or if the county changes its order.
For additional information on making a reservation, visit Lotusland's website or call 805-969-9990.