Because of its beautiful location overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara Zoo is one of the most beautiful in the area. When you visit it, you get a feeling of being in a botanical garden, since there are plenty of wonderful trees, plants and cacti. The Zoo has all kinds of animals and it is a great place to spend some amazingly fun time with your family.
1. Animals in the Zoo
Nearly 150 different species find a home in The Santa Barbara Zoo. There are various kinds of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. A huge number of animals can be seen in open spaces resembling their natural habitats. The Zoo is not very big, so it’s quite easy to walk along and everything is very well maintained and pretty clean. You’ll see elephants, lions, giraffes, sea lions, gibbons, exotic birds, farm animals and much more. The Zoo is home to some of the highly endangered species such as the California condor, the biggest land bird in North America.
2. Feeding the Animals
If you want to experience how it feels to feed animals, you should visit The Barnyard at the Zoo. This is where domestic sheep are kept, and you can feed them with specially prepared food. The food is available at the store next to the barnyard, and a cup costs three dollars. All those giraffe lovers can go to the Giraffe Feeding Station and enjoy an amazing experience of getting very close to the animals and hand feed them. Be sure to check the feeding schedule at the admissions, since it depends on the behavior of the animals. This experience will cost you 7 dollars per person.
3. Princess Day
Princess Day is actually a fun way to send a message about a serious issue about the world’s amphibians which are endangered. In this way children are encouraged to support the amphibians. The event features real live princesses like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, fairies, and, of course, frogs and toads. There is a “Kiss a Frog” booth and children come in costumes dressed as princesses, princes, and knights. There is lots of music, dancing, games and a lot more. And, yes, face painting is a must.
4. Family Safaris
Three times during the summer, Santa Barbara Zoo offers Family Safari programs. This is a must if you wish to have an unforgettable experience for the whole family. The program allows you to stay until late evening or even camp overnight, and wake up in the middle of the Zoo. The programs include animal encounters, giraffe feeding, after-hours tours, and if you stay overnight, you will have a nice breakfast, talk to the keepers and enjoy early morning activities at the Zoo. The Safari costs 40 dollars per person.
5. Play Area
Santa Barbara Zoo is perfect for your kids. There is plenty of open space for them to run wild as well as the Kallman Play Area, just opposite the train station. There is lots of different exciting stuff for the children. They can slide down an ant hill, pretend to be dinosaurs hiding in dinosaur eggs, crawl across a giant web pretending to be spiders, and much more. They will certainly not get bored, but if they do, you can take them on a carousel with hand-carved exotic animals or for a train ride.
6. Behind-the-Scenes Tours
Santa Barbara Zoo offers a very special Behind-the-Scenes Tour a unique way to see the Zoo and has a private celebration at the same time. This may be a perfect opportunity to celebrate your anniversary or birthday. You will experience the Zoo with an experienced and knowledgeable guides who tell you about how they care for the animals there, about conservation and lots of other stuff done by the zookeepers. Along the way, you will enjoy a close view of the wonderful animals.
7. Gifts & Souvenirs
If you want to take a small bit of this beautiful Zoo with you, there are places at the Zoo for that. Near the entrance, there is a gift shop full of unique and unusual souvenirs. Next to the Barnyard, there is the Explore Store where you can also buy some interesting gifts to take home to your friends. At the train station, the Zoo offers themed retail stores, where you can create your own wild animals and take them with you.
- Name: Santa Barbara Zoo
- Address: 500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
- Opening hour: 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
- Price: Adults (13-64): $17
Children (2-12): $10
Seniors (65+): $13
Children under 2: Free
- Website: santabarbarazoo.org
If you come to Santa Barbara, don’t miss this amazing place. Take your family on a whole day picnic and enjoy the view of the beautiful animals as well as the plants in its wonderful gardens, in a fun and entertaining way.
Have a good trip and travel!