Santa Barbara Sea Center, Stearns Wharf
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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Santa Barbara Sea Center is located in a gorgeous spot on Stearns Wharf. Here you can look through the big windows at the water and the incredible mountain views. The sea center is a small aquarium- your visit will be short but memorable! My favorite part is upstairs where it is dark and they have litup tanks full of jellies. There are also some small tanks with an octopus or a strange purple slug. And there are large glass beaker-type tanks with brine shrimp! Kids can walk inside a pretend giant jellyfish!
Upstairs there are also two whale sculptures, and a puppet station with sea creatures. The jellyfish puppets are especially loved by kids, as is the sea slug!
Downstairs there are two touch tanks, one with beautiful starfish, and one with sharks you can touch. There is also a magical tank with mermaids purses, where shark eggs grow. A tide pool has a tunnel that kids can climb through. And there are some hands-on displays, such as a screen that shows different sea animals as kids move a slider of a scuba diver along.
The staff at the Sea Center interact with you at the opening to the sea floor! Here you can peer down at the sea, and lower a net with a long rope. Maybe you will catch a crab or lobster when you bring it back up. You can also lower a heavy metal sand catch to the sea floor. When you bring it up, you sort through your catch with the docent and then observe it with an amazing microscope that displays your catch on a TV screen. You can see things like baby sand dollars. It's very fun!
There is a gift shop with nice sea creature stuffed animals and books.
After, walk around the pier checking out the gift shops, have an ice cream by the water, sit and behold the unbeatable view, or play a game of "Walk north! Walk south!" on the giant compass.
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Santa Barbara Sea Center is located at 211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara CA 93101. You can park on Stearns Wharf and the first 90 minutes are free.
Santa Barbara Sea Center is located on Stearns Wharf. Open daily 10-5. Closed on Jan 1, Thanksgiving (4th Thurs in Nov), Dec 24 at 3pm, and Dec 25. Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for teens/seniors, and $6 for children. Children under age 2 are free. Call (805) 962-2526.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.