The Santa Barbara Zoo is a Santa Barbara classic. The estate was originally owned by a wealthy couple who allowed a homeless encampment on the property (near where the entrance is today). Lillian Child left her estate for the benefit of the community to the Santa Barbara Foundation which eventually began the small Santa Barbara Zoo in 1963. The camps over spring break and in summer are also classic Santa Barbara. In recent years, the zoo has offered classes during the school year for preschoolers and homeschool students.
Why it is a favorite: The playground at the top of the hill was a perfect spot with younger kids and now the girls like to see the animals as well as ride the train.
Location: 500 Ninos Dr in Santa Barbara (near East Beach).
Directions: Take 101S to the Milpas (southbound) exit. Take a right on to Milpas St and then left onto Ninos Dr after the railroad tracks.
Time Spent: .5 hour to 3 hours
Cost: $20/$12 with memberships for families beginning at $135.
Hours: The zoo is open every day (even holidays) 10 am – 5 pm with shorter hours on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.
Parking: $11 per vehicle (although it is not enforced on non-busy days). Free to members.
Nearby: East Beach and Dwight Murphy Park
More info: https://www.sbzoo.org/
Special Events: Craft every Saturday and Sunday from 11-2 and Safari Sleepovers for families and Scouts. Fairytale Weekend in March, El Día del Niño in April, Boo to the Zoo in October and Snow Leopard Festival in December.
Kid Quotes: "I like the Island and Fennec Foxes." 10 Year old "I like everything at the zoo especially the gibbon court. It would be good for me." 7 year old
|Western Lowland Gorilla
|Feeding Navajo-Churro Sheep