Explore Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Type: History Museums, Museums, Outdoor Activities - Summer, Planetarium / Observatory
A giant skeleton of a blue whale greets you at the entrance to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, letting you know that you have arrived at a magical place dedicated to the wonders of... Read More
A giant skeleton of a blue whale greets you at the entrance to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, letting you know that you have arrived at a magical place dedicated to the wonders of nature. Occupying 15 acres in historic Mission Canyon, the Museum of Natural History boasts a beautiful campus, complete with Spanish-style grounds and buildings. Exhibits include a mineral and gem gallery, Chumash Life hall and the much admired dioramas in the Mammal Hall (among many others). It is also home to the area's only planetarium. The SBMNH is located within walking distance of the Santa Barbara Mission. For a natural history experience with a seaside twist, visit their associate site on the wharf, the Sea Center.
Hours:Due to COVID-19, please check with the attraction for the most recent updates to their opening hours.
- Museum Adult $17; Senior (65+) $15; Child (3-12) $11; Child (0-2) Free
Sea Center Adult $12; Senior (65+) $10; Child (3-12) $5; Child (0-2) $9
- Best Attractions & Activities: "If you're visiting with kiddos, head straight out back to see animatronic dinosaurs in the "Prehistoric Forest.""
- Things to Do with Kids: "In the summer, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is home to the much-beloved Butterflies Alive! exhibit. Check the website for exact dates; the exhibit usually wraps up in early September."
- Museums: "The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is home to the much beloved Butterflies Alive! exhibit, allowing you to walk through a garden with 1,000 free-flying butterflies."
- Recommended as Best Attractions & Activities Because: This museum is fun and educational for all ages. It has a whale skeleton named "Chad" right out front, incredible exhibition halls and a planetarium!
- Best for Things to Do with Kids Because: Taxidermy, glowing minerals, life-sized dioramas, indoor and outdoor play spaces, a planetarium ... what's not to love?
- Best for Museums Because: This is the place for curious hearts of every age. Check out a giant whale skeleton and catch a show at the planetarium.