Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is a fun, engaging, interactive marine education facility located on Stearns Wharf. The Sea Center fulfills the mission of the Museum to inspire a passion for the natural world.

This is a not a huge museum but is worth a stop by with the kids every now and then. There's a shark tank where you can interact with and pet the sharks and other sea life, a 1,500 gallon tidepool tank and various other displays such as an octopus, moray eel, jellyfish, etc. There's also an area of where they dredge up sand and sea life from below and let you sift through it, looking for interesting things under easy to use microscopes.

Make a day of it in Santa Barbara, have lunch, stop by the Chase Palm Park, ride bikes along the beach, shop and eat on State Street, etc.

The Sea Center is located at 211 Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara and is open daily between 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve (at Noon), Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. As of December 2017, admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors (65+) and teens (13-17) and $6 for children (2-12). Or purchase a family membership at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and get in FREE anytime you want to both museums! 

For more info visit or call 805.962.2526.

Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach


The Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth largest aquarium in the nation. The aquarium has over 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits that represent the diversity of the Pacific Ocean. Each year more than 1.6 million people visit the Aquarium. Founded in June 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

The Aquarium is a MUST SEE if you have kids. It is just jam packed with eye popping, interesting, mesmerizing sea life but in an easily accessible way. You can actually make it through the entire museum, indoors/outdoors, in just 2 hours, or you can easily spend the entire day there. Some of our favorites are the shark tank, sting rays (they let you pet the sting rays, which come up and visit you like they are dogs), sea otters, jellyfish and hammerhead sharks.

You will hear screams of joy and amazement throughout the Aquarium as everyone will find aquatic life that is just mind blowing to watch. In addition to the animals, there is a small outdoor play area, films and other exhibits. Visit or call 562.590.3100 for more information. It is located at 100 Aquarium Way.

Pricing as of February 2016 is $29.95 for ages 12 and up, $26.95 for seniors 62+, $17.95 for ages 3 and 11 and free for 2 and under. If you are a AAA member, save up to 25% off tickets at AAA location or buy online or show your card at the Aquarium for 10% off.

From Thousand Oaks, simply take the 101 east to the 405 south to the 710 south. There are plenty of signs that will lead you to the parking lot. Open every day of the year, except Christmas Day and during the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.