The 30 acre Santa Barbara Zoo is a great family outing, with beautiful landscape, low key, clean environment and cool breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
There are over 500 animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo and my family's favorites include the giraffes and the penguins. One of the most unique features is feeding the giraffes. For a fee of $6 ($5 if you are a member of the Zoo), you are situated face to face with these friendly Masai giraffes as you give them a snack. Open weekdays from 11:30am to 1:30pm and weekends 11:30am to 2:30pm.
The penguin exhibit is mesmerizing as you are treated to happy go lucky penguins frolicking in the water.
There are plenty of other animals, exhibits and places in the park to just hang out and have a picnic lunch. And the train ride is always fun.
So drive the 45 miles up the coast, take the kids to the zoo, grab a bite, feel the sand, do some shopping and you've got yourself a nice day out. Better yet, buy a tax-deductible zoo membership and visit the zoo several times per year with the kids.
Speaking of membership, if you have a membership at the Los Angeles Zoo, your card will get you 50% off admission at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Conversely, a membership at the Santa Barbara Zoo will get you 50% off at the Los Angeles Zoo. Nice!
Open every day 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., except 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.
Ticket Prices (as of December 2014) are Adults 13-64: $17, Children 2-12 $10, Seniors 65+: $123and Children under 2: Free. Parking: $7 (free with SB Zoo Membership)