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Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

#26 of 177 things to do in Santa Barbara Features Animals
211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3584
+1 805-962-2526
Review Highlights
Nice Educational Afternoon Diversion

The marine Natural History Museum on the Wharf exceeded our expectations for a small museum. We... read more

Reviewed 4 days ago
Learn something new with every visit--just ask the guides!

This is well worth spending an hour or two at. Although the museum is small, the exhibits are... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Anchorage, Alaska
Read all 129 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 good39%
  • Average17%
  • Poor6%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“sea creatures” (10 reviews)
“touch tank” (7 reviews)
Closes in 15 min
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:00
211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3584
+1 805-962-2526
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Reviews (129)
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1 - 10 of 123 reviews

Reviewed 4 days ago

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 1 week ago

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 1 week ago

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
Reviewed 3 May 2017

We did it on a rainy day so we spend a lot of time in it, great for kids hands onm touching and lots of learning. Just do not go on week days mornings as schools might be visisting and as the place is not...More

Thank Flor S
Reviewed 25 April 2017

We walked out on the Stearns Wharf to check out the view and found this little museum. A tour of the all the exhibits will take you about an hour, maybe two if you read all of the literature. The first floor was dominated by...More

Thank Eric_W916
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