MOXI: The Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, with its wine bars, restaurants and intermittent boutiques, has quickly turned into a playground for grown-ups. Which brings up the age-old question: But what about the children?

Fortunately,just a few paces across State Street lies MOXI: The Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation, an exciting interactive space perfect for families with kids that opened in early 2017, designed by Gyroscope, Inc. and created by Creative Machines, Roto and the Science Museum of Minnesota. MOXI contains three-stories of exhibits devoted to amusement and exploration. It doesn’t go heavy on explanation or teaching, but instead furnishes kids (don’t worry, adults can play too) with numerous exhibitions that have a slight science edge to them or are just plain fun.

There’s a station where kids can snap together their own cars and race them against each other on a large hill that times each car’s time. And a hallway full of gravel that measures every sound you make, daring you to traverse it in silence. An oversize Lite Bright dominates one corner beside a station where families sit for photos that deconstruct into a pixelated canvas of animal or mineral photos.

Other exhibits include sound effects booths, interactive hyperloops, rooftop water tables and heat-reading telescopes, a colossal guitar kids can get inside of, and a strange digital table where you can make mysterious music by moving various objects along its surface.

One of our favorite attractions is a room centered on a vintage telephone booth with a phonebook arranged by subjects such as Love and Nature. Calling the numbers here finds you answered with a poem written on the subject. This very cool Telepoem Booth exhibit is a limited-time installation and will close on January 26.

The three-year-old we brought with us absolutely loved it and spent the next week talking about all the art, science and technology they explored there. Clear evidence that MOXI can not only occupy the kids for a
couple of hours, but is successful in gripping their minds and imaginations. In addition to a surfeit of interactive exhibits, MOXI also offers special programs and workshops throughout each day, such as “wood-burning trinkets” and digital painting, something we’re looking forward to going back to try. Some exhibits rotate through every 3-4 months which is great – as it gives people something new to look forward to on repeat visits. MOXI is a great addition to Santa Barbara; a destination for visitors and locals alike that will get curious kids thinking, exploring and most importantly, having a blast.

Best to book a reservation: (805) 770-5000; MOXI is open daily, 10 am-5 pm; Learn more about Hours and Admission at

Please note: Children 13 and over may visit MOXI unaccompanied, however, children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a legal adult (18+). You may apply the cost of your general admission tickets toward an annual membership at MOXI’s entry desk on the same day as your visit only. No food or beverage allowed.

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