Experience the Ranch

Visitor Information

Visitors can experience historic Rancho La Patera by walking through the gardens, taking a guided tour of the Stow House, exploring the Visitor Interpretive Center, and by hands-on exhibits in the History Education Center.

Please begin your museum experience by stopping by the Visitor Interpretive Center & Museum Store.

We welcome group tours, commercial tours, community groups, youth groups, and school classes. Our parking lot is accessible to tour buses and RVs.

Museum Store

The Museum Store features a wide selection of local gifts, including historical publications, cards, crafts, old-fashioned toys, original lemon labels, t-shirts, iron work, Goleta memorabilia and other treasures.


  • Open 1:00 – 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays
    (and by appointment)
  • Guided tours of the Stow House begin at 2:00 and 3:00 pm.
  • Stow House is closed during the month of January.
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1-4pm


  • Suggested Admission: $5/ Adults.
    Children under 12 are complimentary.

Group Tours

For more information contact our Education Coordinator
at 805.681.7216 x3 or info@goletahistory.org.

Historical Interest

Exploring local history in a historic home brings many community groups to Rancho La Patera. Tours of Stow House can be tailored to meet various interests. Light refreshments, wine & cheese or a boxed lunch may be arranged to complement your group experience.


We are available to visit classrooms and community organizations. Presentations include local history, the Stow Family, or topics relating to the current exhibition. Contact us to customize your introduction to Goleta history.

Youth Programs

To book a group/school tour or for more information
contact our Education Coordinator at 805.681.7216 x3 or info@goletahistory.org.

School Tours

Student tours relate to California State Standards for third graders and emphasize the theme of “Continuity and Change.” Through the story of the Stow Family, students appreciate the local significance of political, agricultural and social contributions to California history. Stow House, established in 1872, is on the National Register of Historic Places. This designation complements California citizenship and history standards.

Pioneer Days

Our major education program, Pioneer Days, was developed in collaboration with Goleta Union School District.  Now in its seventh year, Pioneer Days is an integral part of Goleta Union School District’s 3rd grade curriculum, and is also offered to all public and private elementary schools on the South Coast on a first-come, first-served basis as funding permits. Pioneer Days gives 3rd grade students, who study local history as part of the state-mandated curriculum, an opportunity to explore firsthand early California ranch life. The multi-disciplinary program spans several weeks and addresses the California CORE curriculum in history, while weaving in lessons in the sciences, math, language arts, and physical activities.

Through practical demonstrations and participatory or interactive activities, students experience what life was like for eight-year old children on an early 20th century lemon ranch in the rural Goleta Valley. As they re-live and experience pioneer life, they recognize the change and continuity of California’s diverse culture at the turn of the century and the contributions that each immigrant group made to our community. The program reaches children of differing learning styles by incorporating practical activities at the ranch that utilize all of the senses with traditional classroom learning. This is especially important for helping the many ESL (English as a Second Language) and other language-challenged students in our local schools to acquire the necessary education for academic success.

Youth Tours

Boy Scout, Girl Scout, 4H, Boys and Girls Club, and many youth organizations visit Rancho La Patera. Tours fulfill many rank advancement requirements. In addition to the tour of the Stow House extra activities, such as making lemonade, can be incorporated into a visit.

Boy Scout, Girl Scout, 4H, Boys and Girls Club, and many youth organizations visit Rancho La Patera. Tours fulfill many rank advancement requirements. In addition to the tour of the Stow House extra activities, such as making lemonade, can be incorporated into a visit.

History Education Center

A unique interactive experience. Welcome to the History Education Center in Honor of George and Dale Cavalletto, a new museum at our historic ranch.  A century-old working walnut packing shed has been carefully transformed into an education center that tells the story of the Goleta Valley, from Chumash and native peoples up to the present day with a focus on ranching and agricultural stories.  The center has been designed as an interactive experience, utilizing new technologies, innovations and materials to enhance the visitor experience for all ages.The center

The center complements educational programs such as the Society’s signature Pioneer Days for local schoolchildren.  In addition to the displays, children can sort lemons, handle wood crafted by ranch carpentry tools and look behind colored panels to learn why “some eggs are brown and some are white.”  They can “leave their mark” by signing their names on a glass wall, guess the modern equivalent of the devices contained within display cases, or watch a slideshow that displays old and new photographs of school buildings and students.

“Some kids might come in and actually recognize themselves or their peers or their teacher in these photographs and realize that this is their story too; that they’re part of history.”   – Anne Petersen, Ph.D, Past President