Santa Barbara Sea Center

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Santa Barbara, California

May 30. 2021

Santa Barbara Sea Center at Stearns Wharf

We visited Santa Barbara for a day sticking to the area near Stearns Wharf.  We didn’t have anything particular in mind to see or do so we just looked around.  A post of our trip is forthcoming, but this is about our visit to the Santa Barbara Sea Center located at Stearns Wharf. 

The Sea Center is part of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and is contained in a small two-story building with interactive displays of various sea life on Stearns Wharf.  There are sea cucumbers, urchins, and starfish you can actually touch.   The prices are extremely reasonable with prices starting at $7 for children aged 3 to 12 to $10 for adults aged 18 and over.  They even had special pricing for teens aged 13 to 17 at $8.00.  It’s incredibly unusual for persons over 12 years old to not be charged adult prices.  This is truly a family friendly place to visit. 

The lower level held all of the tanks where you could touch some of the sea animals, and towards the back there is a place where a container would be lowered down into the ocean and brought up to see what sea life they “captured.”  This area also has several specimen dishes under microscopes which are connected to large monitors to allow many people to see the activity inside those dishes easily. 

The upper level has enclosed aquariums housing jellyfish, seahorses, fish, and other sea life.  There are also great views of the coastline from the upper level.  After descending the stairs from the upper level back to the lower level you enter a small gift shop. 

I feel the Sea Center is geared towards younger children, but we had a blast seeing all of the small sharks, fish, starfish, seahorses, etc.  We spent approximately one and a half hours at the Sea Center making it a worthwhile visit.  At the time of this writing the Sea Center is closed for refurbishment until Spring 2022.  I highly recommend visiting the Santa Barbara Sea Center if you are visiting Stearns Wharf.