Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

6 Things To Do With Kids in Santa Barbara

Discover the best time to visit the Santa Barbara Zoo, the most family-friendly beaches, things to do at Stearns Wharf and more.

Nov 21, 2011
Girl at Santa Barbara Zoo
From the zoo to the beach and in between, Santa Barbara is a veritable playground for children.
Photography courtesy Katie Dillon

A getaway to Santa Barbara, California, may appeal to adults for its restaurant scene, shopping, beaches and of course, the mild climate. But Santa Barbara can be a delightful destination for children, too. Whether you come for the whale-watching that commences in February or the Summer Solstice Celebration Parade in June, there are a number of activities for kids to enjoy year-round.

1.    The Santa Barbara Zoo is never too crowded.
2.    The Ty Warner Sea Center at Stearns Wharf is perfect for little marine biologists.
3.    The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History features a full-size cast of the most complete pygmy mammoth skeleton ever discovered.
4.    There are four beaches ideal for families: Butterfly Beach, East Beach, West Beach and Leadbetter Beach.
5.    Chase Palm Park is great for free play and a picnic lunch.
6.    Old Mission Santa Barbara offers a bit of California history for young and old alike.


6 Comments about 6 Things To Do With Kids in Santa Barbara

  1. Pingback: The Santa Barbara Zoo with JDRF | Chasing Lows

  2. Christine says:

    Oh I love this picture of your daughter, it looks like she is having a great time at the Santa Barbara Zoo! My kids love it there too, the train and the gorillas are there places to be all day long. These are great things to do with kids, sometimes it can be hard to entertain kids in places like SB! It’s more adult centered but it is still a great time! My ideal place to stay when I am there with my kids though is the Sandman Inn ( Cheap and in a great location. Their award winning pools make for an exceptionally good time too!

  3. Tammy says:

    These are some good insider tips for places to take your kids in Santa Barbara! Also check out the surreys you can rent down by the harbor. Those are always so much to ride on a sunny day. Hiking is great for kids and so is the zoo!! The train is the best, even the adults enjoy riding around the park-less walking we have to do! I must get back to Santa Barbara and check to see if they have anything new to try and see! They always are putting in new stores and such. Probably stay at the Sandman Inn ( Inexpensive and close to a bunch of fun things to bring your children.

  4. Craig says:

    Also the college town of Isla Vista normally has some fun weekend events that are kid-friendly, like Earth Day or this weekend was Peace in the Park festival and a circus on campus! There’s normally live music and food and games. Our son goes there so we bring along his younger siblings and they always enjoy hanging out during the day around the “big kids.” Also since it’s such a small town its nice to just walk around by the peace. Just don’t go there at night, it definitely gets a bit too crazy and not somewhere you want to bring the young ones. Also if you are looking for a great hotel for kids the Sandman Inn ( on State Street has two swimming pools and is really close to McConnell’s, a fantastic ice cream parlor. It’s off of the main part of State Street so it’s quieter which is nice for the family.

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