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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 123 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 44
  • 44
    Very good
  • 20
  • 8
  • 1
Great knowledge

Being 23, I had a lot of fun here with my fiancé, she loves this stuff and we got to pet sharks and try to catch fish on the wet deck. was a bit surprised they have a real dead... read more

Reviewed 30 September 2015
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123 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 117: English reviews
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 September 2015

Being 23, I had a lot of fun here with my fiancé, she loves this stuff and we got to pet sharks and try to catch fish on the wet deck. was a bit surprised they have a real dead dolphin upstairs you can touch. (Dissected and all) Would come back, however it is a small place. quick to get... More 

Thank Disneycastmembr
Olympia, Washington
Level Contributor
493 reviews
258 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2015

A simple museum that is geared toward kids. I did not have a kid with me but watched other families do "hands on" stuff with the grade school age kids.

Thank Robert L
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
115 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 September 2015

Great for kids and adults! You come away knowing a BUNCH about the Santa Barbara area (we especially like the stuffed birds and the snakes). If you are a local and haven't visited this museum, you are missing a lot!

1 Thank JohnandGlo
New England
Level Contributor
243 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2015

The numerous volunteers happily don't discriminate and allow visitors of all ages to touch the swell sharks, skates, and numerous other sea creatures in the tanks. Right now there is a jelly fish exhibit that is like a work of art-- beautiful to just stand and watch the jelly fish slowly slide in the ocean water.

Thank visitall50
Huntington, New York
Level Contributor
367 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2015

This is a very small marine/aquarium museum with a limited number of exhibits- not much to see....but it is at a great location!

Thank drjeff77
San Luis Obispo, CA
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2015

Great location and a lot of wonderful displays for kids and adults alike. It is a beautiful museum. You could spent a whole day here.

1 Thank SLOMomma
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2015 via mobile

This was a fun after breakfast stop. Spent 1 - 1.5 hour here with great hands on sea life exhibits and fun, knowledgable volunteers throughout the museum.

Thank Threeeee
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2015

We decided to stop in here on a whim after wandering the wharf on a Tuesday morning. It was $8pp and totally worth it. They have a lot of hands on exhibits. They have a large touch tank with knowledgeable employees. It wasn't crowded yet so we talked to them a while about the different sea creatures. The next day... More 

Thank Drea1755
Level Contributor
44 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2015

We were not sure whether we should spend 8 USD per adult to get in as the place seemd rather small. I think it was definitely worth it, there were several pools were the visitors could touch the animals and there were plenty of extremly friendly volunteers (on a sunday) who explained the various exhibits, animals and plants.

2 Thank marsman73
Ojai, California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2015

Many interesting displays of sea life. This museum is right on the ocean and adjacent to many other attractions and restaurants.

2 Thank Elaine N

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