Santa Barbara Zoo#4 in Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara
Neighboring the Andree Clark Bird Refuge in the east part of downtown, the Santa Barbara Zoo gives visitors a taste of the exotic just a block from the sandy shore. Recent visitors said the small zoo packs a lot of entertaining creatures into a clean, well-designed property. The zoo also features attractions like a 26-foot rock climbing wall and the animal kitchen where visitors can observe animal food preparation.
Permanent residents of the zoo include anteaters, leopards, gorillas and penguins. But the biggest celebrities here are the native California condors and endangered Amur leopards. Despite the zoo's small size, many visitors praise the diversity of the animals. Many also reported visiting for more than just the creatures and praised the live stage shows, the play area and the barnyard. Others were pleased with the facility's manageable size, saying it was perfect for small children.
The zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 or 5 p.m. every day, depending on the season. Admission costs $18 for adults and $11 for children ages 2 to 12. There are additional costs for parking, the zoo train, the carousel and feeding animals like giraffes and sheep. For more details, check out the zoo's website.
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#1 East Beach
There are three major beaches in Santa Barbara: Leadbetter, West and East. While Leadbetter has the harbor and West Beach is home to the fireworks on the Fourth of July, East Beach is the best stretch to catch some rays without being mobbed by crowds.
The shoreline may still fill up more on the weekends, but East Beach is a bit more removed from State Street and the downtown area than the other beaches, offering more space to stretch out or take a walk along the sandy shores. You may have to protect yourself from the occasional rogue volleyball though, as there are more than a dozen sandy courts here.
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