Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, Santa Barbara
(3.9/5 based on 100+ reviews on the web)
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, formerly known as the Ty Warner Sea Center, is a museum located on Santa Barbara’s historic Stearns Wharf, owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The museum focuses on the marine life and the related conservation of the Santa Barbara Channel.HistoryThe museum reopened in 2005 after the building of a $6.5 million facility. The new building's major donor was businessman Ty Warner, also a local resident.ExhibitsLiving Beach: An interactive tide pool.BioLab: Depicts the biological life cycle of marine creatures, including sharks.Wet Deck: Focuses on oceanography and includes the "moon pool," which is an open well that allows access to the external seawater. A theater features videos about the Santa Barbara Channel and the area also features an interactive science lab.Mammal Mezzanine: Examines 36 species of marine mammals found in the area, including an exhibition about marine mammal language.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Small but well curated touch pools with sharks,shell animals and jellyfish. Great for family fun , nice hands on experience with microscopes and sediment from bay. 
  • I loved all of the hands on activities for visitors of all ages. My favorite exhibit was of a dolphin that had undergo a necropsy. Very interesting. The volunteers were excellent....a real plus for th...  more »
  • This lovely setting with a number of community events on weekends offers much for locals and visitors alike. This unique museum focuses on Santa Barbara and provides an important opportunity to learn ...  more »
Google
  • Small size is excellent for families and visitors wanting a fair price and nice outing that won't take all day. Look up when you enter. First floor offers touch tanks and friendly staff to answer questions and help visitors touch sharks, sea anemones, sea stars, and other crustaceans. Large tank exhibits the state fish, Garibaldi, and other beauties. Last room on main floor lets visitors pretend they are studying sea life both microscopic and large from the deck of a ship. Up the stairs across from the Garibaldi is a dim room with backlit jellyfish tanks. Or take elevator next to gift shop. Past the jellyfish are several more exhibits, a showstopper view of the ocean, and life size whale models. My 6 and 9 year old daughters have loved this place since babyhood. We go every chance we get.
  • Being a member of a science museum is a great option when you get into other museums for free. We got in here free and we all enjoyed it, all my kids (8,5,2) loved it. But beware it could be pricey if you're not staying for most the day.
  • A few delicious places to eat, museum, incredible views. Drive your car right onto the warf. Great place!
  • Pretty expensive for the small size. Take your time and enjoy the touch tanks. Nice to do once but wouldn't go back
  • Neat little museum here on Stearns Wharf. Nice exhibits and friendly staff to explain things. Only problem is the place is small. Otherwise fun for kids. You can easily do the whole place in 30 minutes.