Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is a children's museum in a large warehouse. There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages to explore here. What's nice is that the museum often opens up its walls so that it is practically open-air.
Kids like the walking piano, which you step on to make each note. The black keys work too. There are blue-man-style white tubes to whack with paddles to make music. There's a treehouse to climb up, and a whale with a slide in its mouth. There are two fish tanks with real fish, and a speed boat that toddlers love to pretend to drive. Airtubes with balls to shoot through are fun.
For science-minded kids there is an awesome display of wooden gears to try out. Descriptions of what these gears do and how they are used in industry makes it interesting. Inside a glass box are metal balls to pull up with magnets on machines. Kids can arrange and turn foam gears on a wall.
In the wild west area, kids can ride on a saddle, play barn instruments, or go in a gated area to ride a small rocking horse. Kids can climb on the back of a wagon or explore a tee pee hut. There are little seedlings to plant in soil. Kids can pretend to drive a bright green and yellow tractor. Nearby is a kitchen with pretend food.
Active kids can climb through pipes that are used for storm drains, and play on a four-person see-saw. Here kids can dig like archeologists. In the front of the museum is a truck-shaped play structure.
In the middle of the museum is a craft station with some nice supplies: egg cartons, lovely yarn, glitter, cut up foam plates. Sometimes a staff member leads a project. When we visited, we made paper! This was fun!
There is a fun banking section where kids can answer the phone and hand out loans from behind a glass plate. A real ATM machine with plastic dollars to deposit is a ton of fun for older kids. Kids can also play a money memory game, matching the pennies, dollars, and quarters.
A large rock-climbing wall is a good challenge for agile kids. There is also a white room with three different colored lights. As you move around, your shadow changes color.
A large-sized maze with a tennis ball is fun to tilt. There is also a fire station with a long fire hose, a wildfire mural, and dress up fireman costumes.
There's plenty for kids to do at this friendly museum.
For some outdoor playtime afterward, check out Robin Ventura (also called Rotary Centennial) Park.
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Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is located at 705 S. McClelland St, Santa Maria CA 93454, call (805) 928-8414. It's in a warehouse in an industrial area. There is free parking outside the museum.
Open Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4. Closed Mondays and some holidays.
Admission is $6 for all. Kids under 2 years old enter for free.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.