No visit to Santa Barbara would be complete without a stop at three of its greatest attractions, the Museum of Natural History, the Sea Center and MOXI. Forget the Funk Zone, you’ll have much more fun here and see more strange and wild creatures than on State Street and the Funk Zone combined. And you and your family will be wholesomely entertained while learning.
Ignite your mind at MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, Santa Barbara’s one-of-a-kind destination for hands-on scientific and creative experiences. Located in the flourishing Funk Zone neighborhood, MOXI invites kids, families and curious minds of all ages to explore more than 17,000 square feet of immersive activities. From the Giant Guitar where you can study your favorite riffs to the Wind Column Workshop where you can conduct test flights, MOXI’s interactive approach to science, technology and the arts inspires experimentation and discovery. Unlike museums with a look-but-don’t-touch philosophy, every exhibit at MOXI encourages you to play, engage and participate. Step into the Foley Studios to record sound effects to a movie clip, launch an air rocket in the courtyard or build a racecar and send it down the test track. Flex your creative muscles in the Innovation Workshop, a makerspace where you’ll find supplies ranging from low-tech popsicle sticks and glue to a high-tech 3D printer to design an invention of your own. Your trip to MOXI isn’t complete without a visit to the rooftop Sky Garden, where you can compose a wind- and sun-powered symphony, walk across the glass Sky Deck and enjoy a panoramic view of Santa Barbara from the mountains to the ocean.
MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation
125 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The Natural History Museum reconnects more than 150,000 people each year (including their 5,700 members) to nature indoors and outdoors. Uniquely nestled in nature, the museum is located along Mission Creek in the Mission Canyon area. The museum has ten indoor exhibit halls focusing on regional natural history including astronomy, birds, insects, geology, mammals, marine life, paleontology, plant life, and the Chumash Indians. Also, the museum is home to the only full-dome planetarium on the Central Coast, a research library, and the John & Peggy Maximus Art Gallery. Currently there is a fabulous outdoor animatronic dinosaur exhibit “Prehistoric Forest” on display, taking visitors back in time millions of years ago. The big dinosaurs allow guests to encounter the big beasts up close “in the wild”. Prehistoric Forest is now a permanent exhibit.
SANTA BARBARA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
You will discover the wonders of ocean life at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. Located on historic Stearns Wharf, this highly interactive regional aquarium offers you close encounters with marine animals from the Santa Barbara Channel. In addition to permanent exhibits, the Sea Center hosts unique events and special educational programming. The Sea Center is proud to participate in the White Abalone Captive Breeding Program, which is working to bring this endangered marine snail back from the brink of extinction.
211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
There is an admission fee to each of these attractions. And it is necessary to call and make reservations. Opening times and days vary.