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Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

Features Animals
211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3584
+1 805-962-2526
Review Highlights
Under the radar!

This place is so neat, particularly for young kids. It is a small center but is inexpensive and... read more

Reviewed 5 weeks ago
Lana C
Denver, Colorado
via mobile
Enthusiastic staff

The museum itself is quite small but very interesting to look around, clearly geared towards... read more

Reviewed 1 September 2017
Sophie S
Bristol, United Kingdom
Read all 132 reviews
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The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is located on Stearns Wharf and fulfills the mission of the Museum to inspire a passion for the natural world. At the Sea Center visitors of all ages can enjoy interactive exhibits, opportunities to work like scientists, a theater showcasing the wonders of the Santa Barbara Channel, hands-on close encounters with sea creatures, and a live shark touch pool. Children can crawl through a 1,500-gallon tidepool tank to see ocean life from a different perspective. The Sea Center is an engaging, interactive marine education facility that allows visitors to discover the fun in science and the wonders of the natural world.
  • Excellent37%
  • Very good40%
  • Average16%
  • Poor6%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“sea creatures” (10 reviews)
“touch tank” (7 reviews)
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3584
+1 805-962-2526
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Reviews (132)
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1 - 10 of 125 reviews

Reviewed 5 weeks ago via mobile

This place is so neat, particularly for young kids. It is a small center but is inexpensive and nearly all the exhibits were interactive including touch pools and a "lab" where they pull creatures and organisms up from the ocean daily and examine them under...More

Thank Lana C
Reviewed 1 September 2017

The museum itself is quite small but very interesting to look around, clearly geared towards children. We were able to chat with a biologist who had been fishing up sea slugs and was very keen to show off his collection. The staff seemed more knowledgeable...More

Thank Sophie S
Reviewed 12 August 2017

The marine Natural History Museum on the Wharf exceeded our expectations for a small museum. We learned a lot, the exhibits were interesting and clear and the staff was informative and helpful. We wish we had brought our grandkids!

Thank Dragonstout
Reviewed 9 August 2017

This is well worth spending an hour or two at. Although the museum is small, the exhibits are engaging and the guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Both my 11 year old and my 14 year old were eager to return a couple of weeks after...More

Thank kristisurf
Reviewed 8 August 2017

My daughter was captivated by being able to touch the fish, especially the starfish and the sea urchins. We'd been to Monterey Bay aquarium earlier in the holiday and obviously it's a very different scale, but it's well worth a visit (better for children than...More

Thank Duncan H
Reviewed 9 July 2017

Love this museum! Been going to this museum for over 30 years. It has gotten much more hands-on over the years. Friendly knowledgeable staff. I love the rock room. And the planetarium is awesome. We all love the mammal room.

Thank Chrisc1352
Reviewed 9 June 2017 via mobile

On the advice of a local we visited. If the admission was more than $12 I would have been extremely disappointed. There are a lot of dioramas and it's very much geared towards the younger crowd. It's not too big, and is set up by...More

1  Thank rlepson
Reviewed 8 June 2017

The Sea Center is relatively small because it's on the wharf but they put a fair amount of activities in it. We got reciprocity on entry from our science center back home (Association of Science-Technology Centers). You can pet a shark, see how the tide...More

1  Thank Michael R
Reviewed 24 May 2017

We went to the Museum of Natural History Sea Center a few months ago and it was looking a bit sad. The touch pool was great, but there was a really pungent smell in the upper area near the kid's sort of puppet theatre area....More

Thank Adri H
Reviewed 23 May 2017

We popped in here with our young son. We all loved it. You could spend 30 minutes or two hours easily visiting the sea center.

Thank Sarah T
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