is so much to see and do in this town. Here is a brief
description of our favorites for families.
This quintessential icon of Santa Barbara is a great place to start
any tour. Not only is it a beautiful building, but you can see
all of Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands, and the Santa Ynez
Mountains in a sweeping 360° view. It's lovely and not so high up
that it's scary - perfect for kids!
This is a very interesting compound that is a working archeological
dig. Although it would be better for older children, the
'slice of life' is fascinating and the docents share their passion
Goleta Rail Museum
This is an interesting museum that sheds light onto our early
frontier history. It features a miniature train that you can
actually ride and a real antique caboose. The irony is the railway museum
depot is more elaborate than the existing railway station by the
airport! This is a good place to take younger children.
Right behind the Courthouse, the Mission is the next must see.
The tour is fascinating and the church itself is beautiful.
There is a cemetery in the back that has some wonderful crypts, as
Barbara Botanic Garden
This is a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon. The views
are fabulous, the walk is rather easy and there is an education
center. On weekends the docents put together special events.
Barbara Historical Museum
This museum has a nice mixture of indoor and outdoor, education and
entertainment. It's an easy walk from El Presidio and
centrally located to downtown.
Barbara Maritime Museum
This small museum is packed with "real stuff" that kids
love. It is located in the harbor, so you have the added
benefit of "real boats" and a great view of the water and
the mountains. It's one of those hidden Santa Barbara
treasures that is easy to overlook but it would be a real shame to
Barbara Museum of Art
On weekends there are usually special talks and tours for
families. The museum is small enough not to overwhelm
youngsters and large enough to keep adults engaged.
Barbara Museum of Natural History
One of the best museums in town for families not just because it's
interesting - because it is that - but because they have lots of
events such as live animal exhibits, storytellers, and the
astronomical unit. They do a good job of integrating Chumash
history into their events, as well.
The Zoological Gardens – this
is a must see. This zoo is consistantly ranked as one of the
best small zoos in the country. It has a park setting with a
large central lawn for picnics and playing. The animals are
well kept and for the most part have plenty of room to roam.