Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo: Hours, Address, Santa Barbara Zoo Reviews: 4.5/5

Santa Barbara Zoo
4.5
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
This zoo with a view was once a posh estate owned by a coffee and tea merchant; now it's the lush domain of animals representing 160 species. The pink stucco mansion that once presided over manicured lawns and gardens is gone—replaced by open-air habitats built for the less refined but still exacting tastes of giraffes, gibbons, snow leopards, and gorillas. What hasn't changed is the surrounding scenery; the Pacific and Santa Ynez Mountains are just as spectacular as they were back when this was the setting for civilized galas instead of the wild antics of monkeys and meerkats.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
1,373 reviews
Excellent
775
Very good
457
Average
112
Poor
23
Terrible
6

Lauren C
1 contribution
Nov 2021
I am a longtime attendee and supporter of the zoo, since my childhood and over the past 50 years. The zoo is a lovely place to spend a day! These days, I like to visit the zoo with my 6 year old granddaughter. I purchased a zoo membership for us last Christmas, which we activated in June of this year. Due to living an hour away and COVID restrictions, we have only been able to visit twice so far during the first half of our membership. Now my husband and I are transferring to Alaska with his government job. I requested the zoo transfer the membership to my adult daughter (mother of my granddaughter) for the remaining 6 months, so she can visit another time or two. I understand the no-transfer policy, but thought they might see fit to make an exception under our unique circumstances. They refuse AND my granddaughter cannot even use "our" subscription for her own entrance. I am very disappointed, particularly due to my decades of support and attendance. Sometimes simple common sense and compassion do not prevail! Member beware of rigid fine print!
Written November 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sightseer57798
4 contributions
Oct 2021
Great zoo. Especially liked the Gibbon habitat and giraffes have an ocean view! Only issue is you can't purchase food unless you order and pay online. They took credit card for entry and git shop but not food.
Written October 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

T6378ECjessicad
Berkeley, United States6 contributions
Oct 2021
The gardens are beautiful and it is way bigger than it looks. I would highly recommend. My husband and I went without kids and still had a wonderful time.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks so much for the kind words! We're glad you enjoyed your time at the Zoo and hope to see you again soon.
Written October 15, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tamika K
3 contributions
Sep 2021 • Family
This zoo is so beautiful! They have a great variety of animals and we loved the open play areas for kids and the open areas around the zoo where you can sit and relax. Highly recommended for young kids, we took our 4 year old son and we also took him on the train ride they have around the zoo. We also rented the stroller and it has a little steering wheel on it that our son loved lol
Written September 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hi Tamika! Thanks for your kind remarks! We’re so happy that your family enjoyed your experience at the Zoo, and we hope to see you again soon.
Written September 24, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LoveBirds25
Paso Robles Wine Region, CA132 contributions
Jun 2021 • Friends
Enjoyed our afternoon at the zoo. Just the right size, not too small or too big. Appreciated the safety measures put in place by the zoo. We didn’t get a chance to feed the giraffes but though that was a cool feature.
Written June 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SteveLicata
Monrovia, CA252 contributions
Jun 2021
This is a very well-run small zoo that is handling the recovery from COVID-19 with all the right moves.

First things first: everyone (except the animals) must wear a mask, even if you are fully vaccinated. Period.

They require online, time-entry reservations (about $20 per adult) and this prevents the usual chaos and crowds that overwhelm visitors at every larger zoos.

It is simply amazing how much they have "shoehorned" into a very small space wedged along the 101 freeway at the east end of Santa Barbara. If you have young kids, the exhibits are all engaging and there are many food options (order food for now online) and they have several big green lawn areas for the kids to let off steam.

They have a cute train that circles the zoo that is actually worth it as you get to see some key animals, such as the lions, up close at the "back fence " of their enclosure from the train, and it also crosses by the big brackish lagoon.

This is not a "world class zoo" so set your expectations accordingly, and some indoor exhibits and ranger talks are not yet back in operation.

However, you will still gets some exercise as it is built into a hill and, at least for now, you will have a very leisurely and unhurried 1-2 hour visit, so just enjoy the day.

Note that parking is rather steep at $11 (and this must also be ordered and paid for ahead of time online). However, we saw a sign that suggest that ADA folks (wheelchair car tag) get to park for free.
Written June 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Selvyn C
Hawthorne, CA146 contributions
May 2021 • Family
There still remodeling the zoo to make it better. But we had a great afternoon looking at the animals and enjoying great food. I was really surprised how good the food was here. Its expensive but worth it. Alot exhibit were close so we do want to come back when everything opens. But we had fun going on the train. Plus we love the landscaping where kids can run around and have a picnic. Plus the ocean is so close that after the zoo you can go day. We had fun but coming from LA the traffic was terrible.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vacationtraveller88
Sacramento, CA10 contributions
May 2021 • Solo
Very pretty zoo. However, and perhaps zoo management can explain, aren’t the enclosures too small for some animals? Especially, the snow leopard and otters. The Snow Leopard human space seemed larger than the animal space and the otter water space seemed tiny.
Written May 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Michelle S
Torrance, CA162 contributions
Apr 2021
We booked timed admission online as well as the train ride prior to our visit. Parking, entry and even train ride was easy. The Zoo was still full of families and 2 large children day camps. There was also a big construction project going on which took a big chunk out of the park. All of the play areas were blocked off - though some parents still allowed their children to play in them. There were multiple signs for social distancing and some exhibits even had lines to ensure that big groups didn't congregate. However, no one was enforcing the social distancing. Additionally, many exhibits, due to Covid or otherwise, were closed.
Given all these events, I think that the entrance fee should have been reduced, especially since they charged extra for many things.
Written April 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mark H
Berwyn, PA82 contributions
Feb 2020
This was a pretty nice smaller zoo. It's easy to find and parking was plentiful when we came in February. It was a bit chilly so maybe it wasn't as crowded as it would be during warmer times.

There are plenty of animals, but it's not so large where you feel you're rushing to see everything in a day. We also really liked that we could bring our own lunch and enjoy a picnic near all the animal attractions.

We had a great afternoon here and I'm sure we'll visit again next time we're in Santa Barbara.
Written January 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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