Beautiful weather, gorgeous beaches, and a relaxed atmosphere are all hallmarks of the city of Santa Barbara. There is also a rich history here, dating back to the first Spanish missions that helped settle the area and transform it into the populous area it is today. When planning a family vacation here, there are seemingly endless activities to do! Here are our top five favorite family-friendly things to do in Santa Barbara.
Although a museum may not sound like kid-friendly fun, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a fun, engaging place to learn and be surrounded by the wonders of nature! As you enter the museum, a skeleton of a baby blue whale is the first of many sites that will wow the whole family. The 11 acres of campus offer seemingly endless exhibits, including a gem and mineral gallery, dioramas in Mammal Hall, and a planetarium! The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is an educational and fun place that is a must-visit when vacationing with kids!
If your kids are more into exploring ocean life, then the Ty Warner Sea Center is the place to be! Although technically part of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Sea Center focuses solely on sea creatures and the marine environment. It also offers several interactive exhibits! There is a touch pool for getting up close and personal with sea life, several kid-friendly areas to explore, and there is a fun deck that magnifies your view in the ocean below!
For the animal-loving family, what could be better than a trip to the zoo? Even though it is not as well-known as its counterpart in San Diego, the Santa Barbara Zoo is still a Santa Barbara kid-friendly attraction certainly worth visiting! Spend a day with elephants, lions, penguins, and 500 other species of animals that call Santa Barbara their home. There are also fun shows that are sure to keep the family entertained, including a giraffe feeding and a quirky show called "How to Train Your Dinosaur" featuring an animatronic T-Rex!
You can't plan a vacation anywhere in California without spending a day at the beach! Ledbetter State Beach was named one of the top 10 beaches in America by the Travel Channel, and once you visit, it is easy to see why! The grassy picnic areas are equipped with barbeque pits, and the popular beachfront is a local favorite for swimming. You can also rent a bike and go for a ride up the breathtaking coast!
For the family that is looking for a little adventure, spend a day just offshore of mainland California and explore the Channel Islands by kayak! A great activity to do with older children, you can reserve a kayak tour in advance of your trip. Meet up at Ventura Pier, and spend the entire day or just an afternoon exploring sea caves around the Channel Islands. Equipment is provided and it is perfect for beginners, as well!
Whether you want to simply spend a day at the beach, or want to get out in the water and explore, there are so many things to do in Santa Barbara that are fun for everyone in the family! Bring your kids along and discover everything the city has to offer!