The Santa Barbara Zoo: One of the Best Days We Ever Had!

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February 10, 2010

When people hear the name, “Santa Barbara, California” they tend to think of movie stars, expensive convertibles and art on the beach. But did you know that Santa Barbara has a zoo? This zoo has awesome habitat enclosures and the animals seem very content and happy.

This zoo is a great excursion for the whole family. The average time required to walk leisurely through the whole zoo is 2 ½ hours. (But, we took most of the day.)

The Santa Barbra Zoo is fully accessible to the disabled. Which was nice for us, we took my mother on this trip and she was in a wheelchair.

The Santa Barbara zoo has such a variety of animals! There are about 500 animals living at the zoo. From the Elephants, lions, and giraffes to the penguins and eagles to the creepy crawly insects to the snakes the kids (and myself too) could not get enough. We went to visit some of the animals twice. My favorite was the Meerkat. Of course, the kid’s favorite was the King of Beasts.

After we entered the zoo we went straight away to the animals. The whole family was having a great time. Santa Barbara has beautiful weather almost every day of the year so we made a day of this. We took a picnic lunch to eat on the lawn inside the zoo. I felt like we were in the park. The landscaping is so beautiful and it fits in perfectly with views of the Pacific Ocean. The kids had a blast running around the trees and shrubs.

Then it was to the train ride. The zoo has the cutest little train that takes you on a tour of the zoo including some of the areas you aren’t allowed access on foot. My grandson was so excited to ride the train! He didn’t even mind waiting in line after we bought the tickets.

Then it was back to the animals. Including the ones, we wanted to visit a second or third time. Along the way, we found a playground and a small carousel. The time flew by and before we knew it the zoo was closing. As we made our way back to the car with smiles on our faces, we began to feel a bit tired.

Sometimes the best trips are not always the most expensive. A great example of this might just be your city zoo. All the metropolises seem to have zoos and the really big zoos have to charge more per visit to offset the cost of running the place and feeding all the animals. But sometimes the city zoo can be reasonable for your pocketbook. If you really like zoos you may want to consider buying a membership in a zoo that is reciprocal with others, that is a great way to help support your local zoo and gain free or reduced rate entry to others.

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  1. RA Manseau

    Coming from a zoo expert like you, Allen, that is quite a compliment to the Santa Barbara Zoo!
    My girls and I love going to zoos when we travel. We have not been to near as many as you have but of all the zoos we have been to, the Santa Barbara Zoo is definitely one of our favorites.

  2. I agree that the Santa Barbara Zoo is a great, natural family outing! Their new California Trails exhibit is fantastic, with its highly endangered California condors and other rare animals.

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America’s Best Zoos

  3. RA Manseau

    Genevieve, That is true they do have times when you can feed the giraffes right out of your hand. I think everything about this zoo is set up to make sure you have a day that will stick in your memory with a smile!

  4. Genevieve

    I’ve been there. If you bring a few extra bucks, you can feed the giraffes at set times. I also liked that they have a playground which the kids enjoy after eating a sack lunch. It is a really nice break from the beach scene and shopping of Santa Barbara.

  5. RA Manseau

    Thank You La Veva! I loved the trip! The animals are so close and they seem to pose for pictures! I am sure you will have as much fun as we did!

  6. La Veva

    wow this is a great blog. i can not wait to go there and see the animals. i really like the pictures that were provided. i cannot wait for my trip to the Santa Barbra Zoo!!