The many hiking trails and campsites around Santa Barbara attract nature-lovers from across the country, and east of downtown you can find two places that cater to our local and visiting nature-lovers in a different way: The Santa Barbara Zoo and the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. If you’re looking for a zoo in Santa Barbara to visit, these are the two places you have to see!
The Andree Clark Bird Refuge
The Andree Clark Bird Refuge is a lovely 42-acre park run by the City of Santa Barbara. It offers beautiful scenery — and especially, rare wildlife — to improve any day of hiking or biking. Because the park’s lake creates a wetland environment, there are many species that can thrive here which would be rare elsewhere in California.
The Refuge is home to over 200 species of birds, some of which are rare species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Other protected animals, such as the tidewater goby and the southwest pond turtle, make this a special place for animals. If you’re an animal lover who prefers a more open excursion to view wildlife, or a hiker with a fondness for birdwatching, then make sure to check out the Andree Clark Bird Refuge during your stay in Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara Zoo
Zoos are perhaps the archetypal family-friendly day out, as both children and adults love to watch their favorite animals and learn more about the fantastic creatures we share our world with. From watching lions lounge in the sun to marveling at the majestic California condor, from seeing the excitement of penguins at meal time to witnessing the ponderous movements of an African elephant, zoo trips are full of fun moments that make great stories. Plus, the zoo’s many contributions to wildlife conservation assure that the money spent on admission is going to a great cause. Santa Barbara’s ten months of warm, sunny weather each year make it a great place for a trip to the zoo. Located so close to downtown, The Santa Barbara Zoo is a perfect stop on a day out.
Not all zoos are the same! Santa Barbara’s zoo boasts several attractions worth special mention. How often do you see a penguin along the California coast? Every day you go to The Santa Barbara Zoo! The Humboldt penguin is native to Chile, whose climate is similar to Santa Barbara’s. This means a visit to thezoo in Santa Barbara is the perfect way to see these in as close to their natural environment as you can get in this hemisphere.
The zoo is also home to a rare California condor, which few other zoos have. These are the largest land birds in North America, with wingspans wider than nine feet — that’s something you need to see in person! A few other special members, such as the American alligator Mary Lou, who has been with the zoo for over 50 years, and the Masai giraffes which you can hand-feed, make The Santa Barbara Zoo is special even among other zoos. No matter what else you have planned, it’s worth a visit during your next stay in Santa Barbara!
Looking for more Santa Barbara fun? Look below for more activities: