La Purísima Mission State Historic Park is the most extensively restored mission in the state (shout out to the Civilian Conservation Corps). It is also one of only two missions that are not governed by the Catholic Church. When it was founded in 1787 it covered 300,000 acres and housed over 2,000 inhabitants who cared for 24,000 cattle and sheep. Only about 1,000 acres of the original land remains, along with a small number of the super cute livestock.
La Purísima is the only mission that is a living museum, with docents in period costumes, at times, giving live demonstrations. It is also the only mission built in a linear architectural design instead of the traditional quadrangle (the leaders thought that these particular indigenous people did not need to be confined in such a fortress).
There are nine buildings to explore, and plenty of animals to love. This is the most spectacular mission (and mission visitor center) that we have visited as of yet.