Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is full of interactive, educational exhibits for kids and adults alike, including a butterfly pavillion and a full-dome planetarium with nightly voyages through the stars. Kids especially enjoy clambering over boulders, building forts, and making mud pies in the Museum Backyard, and playing around the life-size replica of a blue whale skeleton. The property, which has a lovely nature trail, is a popular venue for weddings and special events.
Things to Know Before You Go
Exhibits at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are geared to guests of all ages, making this a good choice for families.
The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in nature or learning more about Southern California’s ecosystems.
The museum is wheelchair-accessible, and wheelchairs are available to borrow.
How to Get There
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is situated in the hills just above downtown Santa Barbara, east of Rocky Nook Park and a 10-minute walk from the Old Mission. It's about 15 minutes by car from the Santa Barbara Airport. Via public transportation, take bus 6 or 11 to State Street and Los Olivos; just note that it’s still a 15-minute walk to the museum from the bus stop.
When to Get There
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10am to 5pm. It closes early on Christmas Eve and is closed on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day. It's also closed the last Saturday in June for the museum’s annual fund-raiser.
The Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival
Every year, on the last Saturday in June, the museum plays host to the annual Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, a one-day benefit devoted to food and drinks from around California’s Central Coast region. Over 100 wines and food dishes are available here, and it's an ideal event for familiarizing yourself with the area's celebrated wines while supporting the museum.
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- Old Mission Santa Barbara
- Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG)
- Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA)
- Santa Barbara County Courthouse
- Leadbetter Beach
- Funk Zone
- Stearns Wharf
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
- State Street
- Santa Barbara Cruise Port
- Santa Barbara Waterfront
- Shoreline Park
- Santa Barbara Zoo