Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
Discover the diverse Pacific ecosystem and engage with marine animals at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. Located on the historic Stearns Wharf, the family-friendly educational space features interactive exhibits, a theater, and life-size replicas of gray whales.
A science hub on the Santa Barbara waterfront, the Museum of Natural History Sea Center is popular with locals and tourists alike. To avoid the hassle of ticket lines, purchase admission online in advance. Some travelers take the opportunity to see the Pacific up close by combining a Sea Center visit with a kayak tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is a must-do for budding scientists and nature enthusiasts.
Interact with marine life at the Sea Center’s touch pools.
Check the calendar before you arrive—the Sea Center frequently offers special events and educational programs.
The Sea Center is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
There’s an on-site souvenir shop.
How to Get There
The Sea Center is located at 211 Stearns Wharf, in Santa Barbara. The easiest way to get there is by car. Parking is available—the first 90 minutes are free—in the wheelchair-accessible city parking facilities near the Sea Center. There’s also ample parking along the waterfront, on Cabrillo Boulevard.
When to Get There
The Sea Center is open daily from 10am to 5pm, except for major holidays and the last Saturday in June. For fewer crowds, visit early in the week or on the weekend before lunchtime.
Exploring Stearns Wharf
After a few hours at the Sea Center, don’t miss the chance to wander around Stearns Wharf. Take a ride on a water taxi, stop by the bait-and-tackle shop for local fishing tips, or grab an ice-cream cone. When you’re ready for a meal, sample some fresh seafood at one of the wharf’s numerous eateries.
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- Stearns Wharf
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- Santa Barbara Cruise Port
- Santa Barbara Waterfront
- Leadbetter Beach
- Shoreline Park
- Santa Barbara Zoo
- Santa Barbara County Courthouse
- Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA)
- Old Mission Santa Barbara
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
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