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Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

Certificate of Excellence
Features Animals
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Address: 211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3584
Phone Number:
+1 805-962-2526
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is located on...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 122 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 44
  • 44
    Very good
  • 20
  • 7
  • 1
Great Small Museum for Kids/Families

We happened to visit this museum on a free day, so I can't speak to the entrance fees to this museum. The exhibits are nice and we'll executed. My kids particularly enjoyed the... read more

Reviewed 17 November 2016
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
via mobile
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122 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 116: English reviews
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2016 via mobile

We happened to visit this museum on a free day, so I can't speak to the entrance fees to this museum. The exhibits are nice and we'll executed. My kids particularly enjoyed the kids exploration area. We should have stayed there longer. I enjoyed the cultural section of the museum. It's a great museum to visit with children, due to... More 

Thank ALaLa722
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2016

Small but well curated touch pools with sharks,shell animals and jellyfish. Great for family fun , nice hands on experience with microscopes and sediment from bay.

Thank Katherine H
Level Contributor
61 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 November 2016

I loved all of the hands on activities for visitors of all ages. My favorite exhibit was of a dolphin that had undergo a necropsy. Very interesting. The volunteers were excellent....a real plus for the Museum.

Thank dinkydog99
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
71 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 September 2016

This lovely setting with a number of community events on weekends offers much for locals and visitors alike. This unique museum focuses on Santa Barbara and provides an important opportunity to learn about the local nature and culture. Check out the Bird Hall with Ray Strong's famous pantings of local bird habitats.

Thank Anabel-2013
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
736 reviews
456 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 463 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 August 2016

This is one of the reciprocal museums to our hometown museum, so with free entry, it was a no brainer. My kid loved touching everything, and we could do it in less than an hour, so valet parking was free out on the pier.

Thank alibarbaraMilwaukee
Port Hueneme, California, United States
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2016

Having seen toddlers overwhelmed at the huge aquariums in Monterey and Long Beach, we decided to take our three-and-a-half year old grandson to the less visited Stearn's Wharf Aquarium on August 25, 2016. He was delighted to be provided with several opportunities to actually touch a baby shark, a starfish and a sea anemone. He also spent a great deal... More 

Thank Beverly K
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
31 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2016

My toddler and preschooler enjoyed the hands-on activities and the walk-through tank that was made just for their size. We enjoyed walking through the jelly-fish exhibit and most of the staff were very eager to share knowledge and information. The Sea Center is in a great location right on the pier. We enjoyed our visit. My only complaint is that... More 

Thank Reese923
Fall River, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
52 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2016

I was traveling down the coast from San Fran heading to the LA with my 5 yr old granddaughter. We decided to stop in Santa barbara and since I have a Boston Science Museum pass I knew I could get into this museum for free. I am glad I had it because I wouldnt have been happy paying to go... More 

Thank pastelebony
Santa Clarita, California
Level Contributor
45 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 August 2016 via mobile

We spent about 45 minutes here. Touch tanks and the preserved dolphin were cool. We parked in the city lot nearby and also did the carousel at Chase Palm. Good afternoon

Thank SCVerMF
Panama City, Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviewed 17 July 2016

I took my 1 year old and my 4 year old here during my last visit. I think it is definitely a 4 and up place, not so great for babies. THE GOOD You can touch sea stars and sea cucumbers. You get to look at some fish. Then you head upstairs which is where their special exhibit is. Last... More 

Thank nkbduckie

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