Whenever we visit Santa Barbara, we never miss an opportunity to visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center.   Located on Stearns Wharf, what this sea center may lack in size it makes up for in quality.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

Upon entering the exhibits kids can look at and crawl through a 1,500-gallon tidepool tank.  It’s up close and beautiful, filled with local creatures.

Our twins loved the Shark Cove exhibit where they were invited to gently touch coastal sharks and rays.  They were fascinated by the baby sharks, which can be seen inside their translucent eggs.

At the Intertidal Wonders exhibit, you can touch and feel sea anemones, starfish and hermit crabs.  Trained naturalists stand by to engage and answer questions.  Our boys really enjoyed this hands-on experience.

Our teen was quick to head upstairs to the dimly lit and beautiful “Jellies & Friends” exhibit.  Black lights glow through tanks full of these gorgeous creatures as they move slowly through the water.  They are like floating artwork.  

Upstairs they also have a small reading area for young kids and an adorable puppet theater.  

Marina Puppet Theater
Marina Puppet Theater

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is open daily from 10 to 5 but is closed on most major holidays.  

Adults: $8.50
Seniors (65 and over): $7.50
Teens (13-17 years): $7.50
Children (2-12 years): $6.00
Children under 2 years FREE
Museum Members FREE

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

They also sell the SB Nature Pass that includes unlimited admission to both the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the Sea Center for two days.  They’re both well worth a visit for kids of any age.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

If you are interested in visiting Santa Barbara, check out our other post on Family Fun in Santa Barbara.

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Sea Center Fun in Santa Barbara

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Family Fun in Santa Barbara - Our Family Travel Adventures

  2. I think the hands on aspect of this is what makes it particularly fun…for kids and adults alike! So cool that its sharks and rays that you are touching 🙂 Floating artwork is a beautiful way to describe the jellyfish and ‘friends’ alike too. Nice post!

  3. If a family is looking for a great day of fun, the museum should surely be on their list. I think I’d even enjoy it as an adult. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing sea creatures up close and personal?! Especially being able to touch creatures you would never be able to in the wild. Enjoyed reading about your experience.

  4. This looks like a great activity for the entire family! Plus, it’s educational for everyone. It makes the shared experience that much more exciting! Great share guys!

  5. I love visiting Aquariums! Watching those jelly fish looks hypnotising. The hands on area is always a great place for kids to get an understanding of the sea life, and they always love it. Santa Barbara seems to tick all the boxes for a fun aquarium experience.

  6. Wow! Looks like a great time. We grew up going to the ocean and any experience like that is super beneficial for everyone in the family. Great article!

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