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Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Tours

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Founded in 1916 and nestled into the rock and oak of the surrounding area, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is set in a cluster of Spanish-revival buildings surrounding a beautiful courtyard. The museum is home to expertly preserved displays of birds, insects, mammals, and sea life, along with a planetarium.

The Basics
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.
Address: 2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA
Admission: Varies
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