Wheel Fun Rentals - Bike Rentals - Ventura

With a number of locations in Ventura and Santa Barbara, Wheel Fun Rentals provides an assortment of bicycles, quads, coupes, surreys, tag-alongs and other 2 to 4 wheel human powered vehicles for rides along the beach. They also offer a wide assortment of water vehicles...boats, surfboards, boogie boards, etc.

Nearby locations as of September 2019 are:

Oxnard- Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort, 2101 Mandalay Beach Road (805.984.1994)

Oxnard - Channel Islands Marine Emporium Landing, 3600 S. Harbor Blvd (805.910.7257)

Oxnard - Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge, 2101 W. Vineyard Avenue (805.278.2200)

Port Hueneme - Holiday Inn Express, 350 E. Port Hueneme Road (805.986.5353)

Ventura - Crowne Plaza, 450 E. Harbor Blvd (805.648.2100)

Ventura - Four Points by Sheraton, 1050 Schooner Drive (805.658.1212)

Ventura Pier 850 Harbor Blvd., Ventura (805.765.5795)

Ventura State Beach Picnic Area, 901 San Pedro, Ventura (805.650.7770)

Ventura Beach Marriott 2055 Harbor Blvd., Ventura (805.643.6000)

Santa Barbara - Hilton Beachfront Resort 633 East Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara (805.966.2282)

Santa Barbara - Near Stearns Wharf 24 E. Mason Street (805.966.2282)

For more information visit www.wheelfunrentals.com or call 805.650.7770.

Arroyo Burro Beach Park in Santa Barbara

ArroyoBurro_sign.JPG

Arroyo Burro Beach is a beach park managed by the County of Santa Barbara. It is also referred to as Hendry's Beach, as the Boathouse at Hendry's Beach is located here at 2981 Cliff Drive. Decent sized parking lot with restaurant serving up moderately priced meals and drinks indoors/outdoors, seven days a week from 7:30am to 9:30pm. Arroyo Burro Beach is a sandy beach, good for surfing, boogie boarding and fishing, with an adjoining park with grassy areas with picnic tables. Restrooms available. From the 101 take Las Positas Road south to Cliff Drive. Turn right and travel 1/2 mile to the park entrance. More information at www.countyofsb.org/parks/day-use/arroyo-burro-beach.sbc.

ArroyoBurro1.JPG
ArroyoBurro_Hendrys.JPG

Arroyo Burro also has a great doggie park! Dogs are required to be on leash through the parking lot but there's an area where dogs can run around in the ocean. Self service dog wash stations provided by County Park. Details at www.countyofsb.org/parks/dog.sbc.

ArroyoBurro2.JPG

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

sbnhm.jpg

Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History makes for a great excursion to Santa Barbara with the kids.  There are eight exhibit halls with permanent exhibits featuring birds, mammals, insects, ocean life, a planetarium and more. Many of the exhibits are "hands on" with buttons and interactive features that kids particularly enjoy. There are an additional two halls for changing exhibits.

You and your kids can roam the nature paths and visit the well stocked gift shop, full of educational items. I can vouch for the fascination kids (and adults) have at this Museum. It is a very comfortable museum that in my experience is rarely is crowded. The "Museum Backyard" area and gardens has a picnic area, stream and other enjoyable features. The pond and stream often have tadpoles that captivate the kids.

The museum is open 7 days a week and is closed certain holidays. As of July 2019, admission is $15 for adults, $12 for 65+ seniors and teens (13-17) and $9 for children 2 to 12 years of age. Become a Museum member and you don't have to pay for admission. The Museum also offers birthday parties for members. Tax-deductible family memberships are currently $99/year.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road, Santa Barbara. More information at www.sbnature.org or 805.682.4711.

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

SBMMwaterfront-small.jpg

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is located at the Santa Barbara Waterfront Center and is a beautiful, high tech facility. The mission of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is to preserve and celebrate the maritime heritage of the California Coast and present it to the public in an interesting and exciting way.

Exhibits include boat models, surfing artifacts, historic Goleta cannons, interactive environmental displays, rescue and emergency equipment, fishing and diving technology, shipwreck displays, a children's gallery and more. 

My young boys particularly enjoyed 3 things at the museum - the interactive fishing game (combines a video game with an actual fishing pole as you attempt to catch a variety of virtual fish), the kids computer area and the U.S. Navy periscope exhibit. The periscope is interesting for all ages because it is an actual, working example from a submarine that they've set up so that you can check out 360 degree scenes around Santa Barbara.

The museum is bright, packed with numerous items and has a large video viewing room upstairs. Go check it out!

The museum is located at 113 Harbor Way Suite 190, Santa Barbara. Open 10 am to 5 pm daily, except Saturdays (9 am to 3 pm); closed Wednesdays.

Admission (as of May 2019) is $8 for adults (18 to 64), $5 for seniors 65+, kids 6 to 17 and students (with ID). Under age 6 is free of charge. Active military is free. 

More information at www.sbmm.org or call 805.962.8404.

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park consists of 5 of the 8 Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast. Although the islands are close to the shore, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped.

The northern Channel Islands are Anacapa (1.1 sq mi), San Miguel (14.6 sq mi), Santa Cruz (96.5 sq mi) and Santa Rosa (83 sq mi) and the southern islands are San Clemente (57 sq mi), San Nicolas (23 sq mi), Santa Barbara (1 sq mi) and Santa Catalina (75 sq mi).

Channel Islands National Park includes the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara. Anacapa is located in Ventura County while the other four are in Santa Barbara County. San Clemente Island, the southernmost Channel Island, is owned and operated by the U.S. Navy. Catalina Island as we know with its population of 3,700 is a popular tourist destination. San Nicolas Island in Ventura County is also controlled by the U.S. Navy. On a clear day you can see two of the five islands, Anacapa and Santa Cruz.

ChannelIslandsMap.jpg

Visitors to the islands may swim, snorkel, hike, camp, watch wildlife, sail and explore tidepools, beaches and canyons. There is no food service on the islands, so bring what you need. Take a commercial service to the islands like Island Packers, which has been servicing the islands since 1968. Landings at Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands are year-round while the more remote outer islands, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa and San Miguel are scheduled late spring through early fall.

Visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/chis to learn more about visiting Channel Islands National Park. The park is open year-round.

The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park is located in the Ventura Harbor at 1901 Spinnaker Drive (805.658.5730) and the Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center is located at the Santa Barbara Harbor at 113 Harbor Way, 4th Floor.

On a clear day you can see two of the Channel Islands from Newbury Park and other Ventura County spots. Here's a view from the   Rancho Potrero Open Space   in Newbury Park.

On a clear day you can see two of the Channel Islands from Newbury Park and other Ventura County spots. Here's a view from the Rancho Potrero Open Space in Newbury Park.

Anacapa Island seen from a whale watching boat.

Anacapa Island seen from a whale watching boat.

Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

Dolphins greet you at the entrance to Stearns Wharf.

Dolphins greet you at the entrance to Stearns Wharf.

StearnsWharf.gif

Stearns Wharf is located at the juncture of W. Cabrillo Road and State Street in Santa Barbara. Originally constructed in 1872 by lumberman John P. Stearns as the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is now one of the most visible and visited tourist destinations in Santa Barbara. In 1980-81, the City of Santa Barbara restored the wharf, constructed new buildings on it and assumed operation of the facility.

Our family particularly enjoys visiting the Museum of Santa Barbara Sea Center located on the wharf, followed by a stop at the candy store or the ice cream shop. Of course, The Harbor Restaurant and Longboards Grill are crowd favorites. There's also wine tasting, Moby Dick Restaurant, fish and chips, souvenir shops and other places that are fun to stop by.

View from the end of Stearns Wharf back toward the mainland.

View from the end of Stearns Wharf back toward the mainland.

View from Stearns Wharf

View from Stearns Wharf

You can get onto the wharf in a number of ways. There is limited parking on the wharf. Cost (as of August 2018) is $2.50/hour, but the first 90 minutes are FREE. Or you can park along Cabrillo Road or in a local beach parking lot and walk onto the wharf. Or do what we enjoy...park at the Santa Barbara Harbor and ride bikes onto the wharf. The wood planks are a bit bumpy but you'll survive!

Learn more about Stearns Wharf at www.stearnswharf.org.

Beautiful views of the harbor area as you'll see below from the pier. If you walk onto the wharf, you may encounter some locals that "live off the land" with sand sculptures and other monuments on the sand for your viewing pleasure (and perhaps some spare change). They are part of the carnival atmosphere. And of course on Sundays you'll be treated to the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show that has been running since 1965.

Santa Barbara Bowl

SantaBarbaraBowl.jpg

The Santa Barbara Bowl, located at 1122 N. Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, was originally built in 1936 and today with its capacity of nearly 4,600 people (4,974 for general admission standing) is the largest outdoor amphitheater in Santa Barbara County.

The Bowl is a beautiful outdoor setting with views of the ocean and the city. 

It offers top notch acts on a year-round basis. Taking a look at the schedule in July 2016, I see Bonnie Raitt, Steve Martin & Martin Short, Journey, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne, Amy Schumer, Blink 182, The Who (yes, the real band), Ryan Adams, Van Morrison and more. In July 2018, I see the Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton, Jack White, David Byrne, Jason Mraz, Alanis Morissette, Sting and more.

The parking lot utilized by the Bowl for patrons is located at Santa Barbara High School, less than 200 yards away from the venue. A short climb beside stone masonry walls through a beautiful glen with old oak trees leads to the amphitheater. Due to the historic design of the Santa Barbara Bowl, it is recommended that all patrons arrive early- 90 minutes before scheduled start of concert- to ensure ease and comfort of parking and entry to venue.

For more information and to buy tickets visit www.sbbowl.com or call 805.962.7411.

Nice views from the Santa Barbara Bowl too!

Nice views from the Santa Barbara Bowl too!

Rincon Beach Park at the Ventura/Santa Barbara County Line

RinconPark.JPG

Rincon Beach Park is near the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line just a few miles east of Carpinteria. Just take the Bates Avenue offramp off the 101 Freeway. Take Bates to the ocean and on the right you'll find plenty of free parking and easy beach access, with picnic tables and restrooms.

If you make a left turn off of Bates, there's a separate parking lot for Rincon Point, part of Carpinteria State Beach, one of the most popular surf destinations in the world. There are a couple of restrooms on this side also, albeit not particularly pleasant ones to use.

Campfires are not allowed on the beach.

To learn more about Rincon Beach Park or to reserve the picnic table, visit www.countyofsb.org/parks/parks02.aspx?id=8078 or call 805.568.2465.

Views from the picnic area at Rincon Beach Park

Views from the picnic area at Rincon Beach Park

This sign always makes for great conversation starters at Rincon Beach Park

This sign always makes for great conversation starters at Rincon Beach Park

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

SantaBarbaraBG.gif

Founded in 1926, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in California dedicated to the study, conservation and display of native flora.  The Garden is a place of beauty and serenity, of education, research and conservation, of history and stewardship.

The Garden's living collections, including more than 1,000 types of plants, are featured throughout 78 acres accessible by over 5.5 miles of public trails; many trails are accessible by stroller or wheelchair. Accredited by the American Association of Museums as a living museum, the collections are devoted to illustrating the remarkable diversity of California's native flora. Arranged in stunning displays and interpreted through signage and docent-led tours, the living collections capture California's natural beauty and provide endless opportunities for learning, appreciation, and enjoyment.

Garden sections and displays include the Arroyo Section, Campbell Trail, Canyon Section, Desert Section, Home Demonstration Section, Manzanita Section, Meadow Section, Porter Trail, Redwood Section, Tea House Garden and Woodland Trail.

SBBotanicGarden.JPG

The Garden's library includes over 15,000 books and journals, representing an important resource for education and research. Special collections include rare books, photos, manuscripts, and horticultural catalogs. The strength of the collection lies in its diversity, representing important botanical and horticultural works on California flora, Mediterranean floras of the world, landscape history, and the disciplines of botany and horticulture.

Composed of over 140,000 specimens of plants, the herbarium represents the region's largest scientific collection of preserved central coast plants. Collectively, the specimens document the ecology and geography of the region's plant diversity.

Open 7 days a week, the Garden is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day and during some special events. Current admission costs as of April 2018 are $12 for adults, $10 for 60+ seniors, $8 for ages 13-17, college students and active military, and $6 for ages 2 to 12. Current garden hours are 9 am to 6 pm March through October and 9 am to 5 pm November through February.

The Garden Shop has an extensive selection of crafts, nature-related books and gifts for all ages and is open daily. There's also a Garden Growers Nursery open year-round.

Located at 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara. Visit www.sbbg.org or call 805.682.4726 for more information.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

SBMuseumArt_logo.gif

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art was established in June 1941 at 1130 State Street, in a building that housed the Santa Barbara Post Office from 1914 to 1932. The Museum has been expanded to 60,000 sq ft over the years, including exhibition galleries, Museum store, cafe, a 154-seat auditorium, a library containing 50,000 books and 55,000 slides, a children’s gallery dedicated to participatory interactive programming and an 11,500 sq ft off-site facility, the Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House.

As one of the leading art museums on the West Coast, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art serves a diverse audience of approximately 150,000 people annually. The Museum offers a wide variety of educational and interpretive programs.

The Museum strengths lie in the following areas: Ancient Art, Asian Art (Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Tibetan), French and English 19th and early 20th Century Art, 19th and early 20th Century American Art, International Modernism, Works on Paper, Photography and Contemporary Art.

The Museum provides 40 art education programs to over 40,000 people annually. These include academic, outreach and after school programs for K-12th grade students, activities and events for families, classes for college students and lifelong learning opportunities for adults and seniors. In addition, the Museum regularly organizes and hosts lectures, symposia, film series and focused gallery tours for the Museum’s major exhibitions.

Hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm; FREE Thursday evening admission from 5-8PM! Admission (as of March 2018) is $10 for adults and $6 for seniors, students with ID and children under 6. Free to Museum members.

MUSEUM ADMISSIONS ARE HALF PRICE IN 2018 AS IT GOES THROUGH RENOVATIONS.

Visit www.sbma.net or call 805.963.4364 for more information.

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 www.sbnature.org/seacenter or call 805.962.2526.

Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Galleries in Santa Barbara

ReaganRanchCenterGalleries.jpg

President Reagan’s home for 25 years and the Western White House during the height of the Cold War, the Reagan Ranch embodies the life and ideas of Ronald Reagan. In the spring of 1998, Young America’s Foundation stepped forward to save the Reagan Ranch; eight years later, in June 2006, the Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara opened its doors. 

The Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara is open to the general public for tours and visitation Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm year round.

These galleries feature original Reagan Ranch artifacts matched with state-of-the-art, interactive, multimedia exhibits that highlight the history of Ronald Reagan’s quarter-century at Rancho del Cielo and the accomplishments of his presidency.

ReaganRanchCenter1.jpg

Over six hours of dynamic multimedia exhibits provide access to exclusive speeches, interviews, radio addresses, and original video presentations. The centerpiece of the gallery is a 28-foot-long interactive “timeline” that gives users the ability to explore the “Western White House” during the 1980s.

The galleries also feature several unique collections on display, including the Lorraine Wagner Letter Collection, a nearly 300-piece collection of letters written by Ronald Reagan over a 50-year period and the Russell D. Sibert Collection, featuring rare Reagan-related memorabilia such as campaign buttons, posters and commemorative items.

A massive 5,000 pound section of the Berlin Wall greets visitors as they arrive at the Reagan Ranch Center, reminding the world of Ronald Reagan’s role in eliminating this assault on human dignity and freedom. The president’s famous blue Jeep Scrambler, complete with “Gipper” license plate, sits in the center of the gallery, flanked by a selection of his favorite books, an original saddle and chainsaw owned and used by President Reagan.

ReaganRanchGallery2.jpg

The Reagan Ranch Center is designed to engage visitors of all ages; younger children can even earn their “Junior Secret Service Clearance” by completing a fun and educational scavenger hunt.

The Reagan Ranch Center is located at 217 State Street next to the train station.

Admission is FREE. For more information call 1-888-USA-1776 or visit www.yaf.org/ExhibitGalleries.aspx.

Santa Barbara Trolley Company

Santa Barbara Trolley Company is Santa Barbara's longest running trolley tour, with a fleet of 15 renovated trolleys available seven days a week.

90 minute daily tours of Santa Barbara run hourly between 10am and 4pm. You can board the trolley and catch another one anytime during these hours. Pricing as of June 2017 is $22 for adults, with one free child (12 and under); additional kids are $8. 2nd consecutive day is included.

Highlights of the trolley tour of Santa Barbara include Stearns Wharf and the Dolphin Fountain, East Beach, Andrea Clark Bird Refuge and Santa Barbara Zoo, The Harbor, Museum of Natural History and Old Santa Barbara Mission.

The trolleys are also available for weddings, private parties, wine tours and more.

Visit www.sbtrolley.com or call 805.965.0353 for more information.