Santa Barbara Zoo

#6 in Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Zoo picture
playfulphoto/Getty Images

Key Info

500 Ninos Drive

Details

Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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 say 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 rare snow leopards. Despite the zoo's small size, many visitors praise the diversity of the animals. But they come for more than just the creatures.

"This zoo might not be the largest in California, but it might be the most loved and maintained. We were constantly impressed with the immaculate habitats, well cared for animals and helpful staff," one TripAdvisor users noted.

The zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 or 5 p.m. every day, depending on the season. Admission costs $17 for adults and $10 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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State Street
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 8
#1 State Street

Santa Barbara's most famous avenue, State Street cuts through downtown and leads right onto Stearns Wharf. It's nearly impossible to miss with its shops, art galleries, theaters and museums like the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. You can grab a ride on the electric shuttle for 50 cents, but most travelers and locals recommend you walk to truly appreciate the ambiance.

After a few hours of shopping — with more than 300 shops and stores — visitors usually slide into a chair at one of the 160 local restaurants to refuel.

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