Dia de los Muertos Celebration at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History October 31 to November 2

From Thursday, October 31 to Saturday, November 2, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will host a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) community celebration to share the cultural importance of this Mexican festival. Guests will enjoy activities including a Monarch Migration Quest, face painting, crafts, altars, and more. Día de los Muertos attire is encouraged.

After more than a decade hiatus, the Museum’s Education Department, spearheaded by Community Education Manager Stefanie Coleman and Astronomy Programs Manager Javier Rivera, is reviving and expanding the celebration to invite more community participation.

“I grew up with Day of the Dead in Mexico,” Rivera recalls. “I remember it fondly. For several days, you hang out with family, you cook, you prepare, you enjoy, you remember those who passed away. And on that day, you celebrate. You’re not mourning, you’re celebrating the fact that they’re revisiting you for a while in your memory.”

Rivera particularly wishes that this year’s events will welcome many people from the Spanish-speaking community to the Museum, so the institution can better serve all of Santa Barbara. “This should be Santa Barbara’s Museum of Natural History. This is one good step in that direction.” He and Coleman hope this will lead to partnerships with community groups to plan involvement in next year’s celebration.

Coleman adds, “This year we are focusing on the connection between butterflies and Día de los Muertos. The migrating Eastern population of Monarch Butterflies is often abundant in Mexico during the Day of the Dead. We are sharing the cultural and ecological importance of the species in a fun quest that takes guests around the Museum. According to traditional belief, Monarchs are the souls of ancestors returning to Earth for their yearly visit. Marigold flowers guide the spirits to their altars using vibrant colors and pungent scent.”

“However,” she continues, “Monarch Butterfly populations in North America are in decline due to climate change, pesticides, and habitat loss. Join us at the Museum to go on a Monarch Migration Quest and learn more about the natural history behind Mexican traditions and how to help the butterfly population.”

In addition to the other activities, from Saturday, November 1 to Sunday, November 2, La Calenda will host a pop-up trunk show selling authentic hand-made textiles, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, and Día de los Muertos themed goods from artisans in Oaxaca and other Mexican states.

Schedule of Activities

Saturdays in October

  • Noon–2:00 PM: Festival preparation craft and decor workshops

Thursday, October 31

  • 11:00 AM: Ghost Wings storytime in the Museum Library

  • Noon: Marigolds and papel picado craft and decorating workshop in the pavilion

  • 3:00 PM: Día de los Muertos planetarium show

Friday, November 1

  • 11:00 AM: Calacas (skeletons) craft workshop in the pavilion

  • Noon: La Catrina (grande dame skeleton) craft and decorating workshop in the pavilion

  • 3:00 PM: Día de los Muertos planetarium show

  • 5:30–8:30 PM: Coco movie night and Alebrije (painted animal figurine) tour

Purchase tickets for movie and tour at sbnature.org/tickets.

Saturday, November 2

  • 11:00 AM: Nichos (altar frames) craft workshop in the pavilion

  • Noon: Ofrenda (altar) building demonstration in the pavilion

  • Noon–2:00 PM: Face painting in the pavilion

  • 3:00 PM: Día de los Muertos planetarium show

  • 10:00 AM–5:00 PM: La Calenda Trunk Show

Sunday, November 3

  • 10:00 AM–5:00 PM: La Calenda Trunk Show

El Latino, the only bilingual newspaper on the Central Coast, is the official media sponsor for these events.

About the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Powered by Science. Inspired by Nature. Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History inspires a thirst for discovery and a passion for the natural world. The Museum seeks to connect people to nature for the betterment of both, and prides itself on being naturally different. For more information, visit sbnature.org.

2019 Upcoming Events and Activities at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Selected upcoming events and activities at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2019:

Boo at the Zoo Friday, October 18, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, October 19, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, October 20, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Zoo transforms for three nights of safe, traffic-free trick-­or-treating for monster-ous thrills and chills including a Trick-or-Treat Trail, Boo-Choo-Choo train rides, Creepy Crawly encounters, Spooky Storytelling, Goblin Games, and more. Most popular family Halloween festival in the tri-counties area. Early closure for all three dates: Zoo closes at 3:30 p.m. Cost: Adults $20/$18 (SB Zoo Members); Children (2-12) $14/$12 (SB Zoo Members)

Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash on November 28, 2019 10am to 3:30pm

Animal lovers are encouraged to get the kids out of the house this Thanksgiving and come to the Zoo for a smashin’ good time! Watch as the elephants, gorillas, and other Zoo animals play and interact with pumpkins.

Cost: free with Zoo admission. 

The Zoo closes early today, at 3:30 p.m.

Snow Leopard Festival / Sledding at the Zoo on 12/8/19 10am-3pm

A rare blizzard hits the Central Coast on Sunday, December 8 when 80 tons of snow is delivered for the Santa Barbara Zoo’s annual “Snow Leopard Festival,” held on Sunday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (9 a.m. early admission for SB Zoo members only).

The snow will be shaped into sledding runs for kids (sleds provided), deposited in a snow play area, and provided as enrichment to many of the Zoo’s animal residents, including the highly endangered big cats honored at this festival.

Early 9 a.m. entry for SB Zoo Members only!

Cost: unlimited sledding and bounce houses $5/child.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the Zoo

The Zoo is open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so come spend some holiday time with your animal friends at the Santa Barbara Zoo!

General Admission until 2:30 p.m.; SB Zoo Member Admission until 3:00 p.m.  Zoo closes at 3:30 p.m.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission $18 for ages 13+, $13 for seniors 65+, $11 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 

2019 Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival on Saturday, October 12th

When it comes to fresh seafood, you can’t get it any fresher than right off the boat. On October 12, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival lures seafood lovers of all ages to Santa Barbara’s thriving harbor for one of the community’s most beloved and flavorful events. 

This signature event coincides with lobster season and features local commercial fishermen offering the Santa Barbara Channel’s freshest seafood. Fishermen and seafood vendors will provide thousands of festival-goers with an abundance of live lobster, crab, prawns, BBQ albacore, clam chowder, fish tacos, seafood gumbo and other prepared dishes. Arts and crafts vendors will offer jewelry, clothing, art, photography and other hand-crafted items.

Admission is FREE. Since 2002, the annual Harbor and Seafood Festival has become Santa Barbara’s signature autumn event. It brings people together for a day full of fun and good memories.

For more information, visit harborfestival.org. Location: Harbor Way.

12th Annual Santa Barbara Beer Festival on Saturday, October 12, 2019


The 2019 Santa Barbara Beer Festival takes place on Saturday, October 12th from 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. early entry) to 4:30 p.m. at Elings Park, 1298 Las Positas Road. Elings Park will be transformed into Santa Barbara's oldest beer festival featuring the best microbrews from the central and west coast.

Elings Park is a 230-acre private, non-profit park boasting incredible views of the city and ocean. In addition to beer, there will be food, music and fun! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.sbbeerfestival.com.

Free Friday Night Movies Under the Stars at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse - July/August 2019

UCSB Arts.jpg

UCSB presents a free Summer Movie Series on Friday nights outdoors at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse during July and August 2019. Movies start at approximately 8:30pm. Bring blankets, low-backed beach chairs, picnic and your friends. More info at artsandlectures.ucsb.edu/Free.aspx.

The Lineup:

  • 7/5: Roman Holiday

  • 7/12: North by Northwest

  • 7/19: Rebel Without a Cause

  • 7/26: Some Like It Hot

  • 8/9: On the Waterfront

  • 8/16: High Noon

  • 8/23: Sunset Boulevard

31st Annual Santa Barbara French Festival July 13-14, 2019

The Santa Barbara French Festival returns to Oak Park July 13-14, 2019 to celebrate Bastille Day and all the things that make the French cultural history so rich. Great food, wine, mimosas, crepes, delicious pastries, music, dance, -- and, of course, the infamous Pooch Parade!

For two days Santa Barbara truly is the American Riviera as the French influences take over Oak Park. Each day the fun starts at 11:00 am when the entertainment kicks off on three different stages and continues non-stop until 7:00. The stages will be filled with dance and music from more than 30 different acts including performances, audience participation and instruction. And every minute of entertainment is all free!

The entertainment is only part of what the Festival has to offer -- more than 50 booths will be offering everything from crepes and delicious French pastries to face painting and henna tattoos. You can grab a mimosa or a beer, as you peruse some beautiful paintings and photography. Enjoy a delicious crepe while shopping for your French Festival t-shirt and beret. Take a moment for a quick massage and before you settle in for the next performance and a sinfully delicious croissant. All in the beautiful setting of Santa Barbara's Oak Park.

The French Festival takes place in Oak Park, which is located at the corner of W. Junipero Street and Alamar Avenue in Santa Barbara. Admission is free. Festival is a non-smoking event. For more information visit FrenchFestival.com.

8th Annual She.Is.Beautiful, The Pinkest 5k, 10k and 10 Miler in Santa Barbara on Saturday, September 14, 2019


The 8th Annual She.Is.Beautiful The Pinkest 5k, 10k and 10 Miler (NEW) is coming back to Santa Barbara on Saturday, September 14, 2019.

This women's only race is known for it's sass, inspirational quotes, fun, and course flair. She.is.beautiful welcomes women of all ages and encourages everyone to strut their sassiest pinkest outfits! We have had everyone from moms with strollers to professionals racing for prize money. In addition to promoting self-esteem, camaraderie and health among women, our proceeds benefit Girls Incorporated in Santa Barbara.

Visit runsheisbeautiful.com/santa-barbara-ca/ to learn more and to register.

2nd Annual 5K Walk Strong in Santa Barbara on Saturday, August 10, 2019


Organic Soup Kitchen, a decade-old nonprofit, is hosting their 2nd Annual 5k Walk Strong at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara California on Saturday, August 10, 2019 at 8:30 am. The fun walk and run will feature a Finish Line Festival, where participants will enjoy organic foods, juices, and a beer garden. All proceeds will go towards supporting their soup delivery to cancer patients program.

The 5k Walk Strong is Organic Soup Kitchen's benefit walk to raise money for cancer patients and to raise cancer awareness. The event will be a “fun” walk and run, as participants are not required to have bibs.

Create a team with your coworkers, friends, or family and walk strong for the cause. Themed runs and costumes are not required, but are optional. There will be an official t-shirt for all registrants. Tier 2 tickets are on sale now.

Register now on Race Roster: raceroster.com/events/2019/21905/5k-walk-strong-festival-2019

Organic Soup Kitchen makes organic, non-GMO, plant-based, nutrient-dense soups for populations with compromised immune systems. The program is a weekly soup delivery service for cancer patients and for those with degenerative diseases.

Location: Leadbetter Beach, Shoreline Dr, Santa Barbara