So what if the Santa Barbara Zoo, at 30 acres, is only a fraction of the size of the L.A. Zoo (80 acres) and San Diego Zoo (100 acres)? The Santa Barbara Zoo is a great place to visit. The landscaping is beautiful. The park is very low key and clean. The Pacific Ocean is just steps away and the cool breezes make this a nice part of a day trip to Santa Barbara. My kids LOVE this zoo.
There are over 500 animals at this zoo and my family's favorites include the giraffes and the penguins. You've gotta go up and feed the giraffes, where you are situated face to face with these friendly looking characters. As of November 2010 it costs $4 to feed the giraffes. You practically feel like you're at Toys r Us at this exhibit. We sat mesmerized at the penguin exhibit, where you are treated to happy go lucky penguins frolicking and up to their shenanigans 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!