Consistently ranked as one of America's best small zoos. The Santa Barbara Zoo is one of the more than 220 accredited zoos and aquariums that participate in Species Survival Plans, a cooperative conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Over 200 different species are managed, aimed at maintaining genetic diversity within captive populations, sustaining these captive populations, and guarding against extinction.

Kallman Family Play Area

A place to let your little 'animals' run wild! The Kallman Family Play Area, located across from the Zoo Train station, is full of fun stuff for the little ones. Pretend you're a dinosaur and hide in one of the 'dinosaur eggs'; be a spider as you crawl across the giant rope web; or, slide or roll down the ant hill, a perennial favorite.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour

A Behind-the-Scenes Tour is a special way to visit the Zoo and the perfect opportunity to celebrate a birthday or anniversary! An experienced guide will lead your private tour group through the Zoo as you see animal exhibits in a way the general public never sees. You'll learn how zookeepers care for the animals that reside here, hear about conservation issues, and get a close-up view of some of the animals along the way.

Keeper for a Day

A fun and informative program for those who are interested in animals and conservation! Experience a full day working with your favorite animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo as an honorary zookeeper! You will have the unique opportunity to participate in behind-the-scenes activities and assist zookeepers in their daily tasks of caring for the animals which include preparing food and enrichment, training animals, and cleaning.


The barnyard is home to domestic sheep, which you can feed with specially formulated pellets available for purchase at the Explore Store adjacent to the barnyard. Open daily 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. or until food runs out.

Snow Day

Each year in early December a rare blizzard hits the Zoo with 80 tons of snow for sledding and snow play for this frosty fun family festival. Snow leopards bask in their element while Santa poses for holiday photos.

No More Elephants

The Santa Barbara Zoo's beloved elephants named Little Mac and Sujatha have passed away. Little Mac and Sujatha were brought to the Santa Barbara Zoo in 1972, when each elephant was 1 and a half years old, the zoo said. The two little elephants then stood less than 4 feet high. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has adapted standards for elephant management in the years since Sujatha and Little Mac were brought to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and AZA elephant programs now focus on having larger exhibits, bigger herds and breeding bulls, the zoo said. The Santa Barbara Zoo does not have the space to expand the elephant exhibit or hold a bull elephant to meet the requirements, which means the elephant program ended with Little Mac’s death.