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“Beautiful Setting But Some Tired Exhibits”

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
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$12.00*
and up
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Admission
Ranked #15 of 182 things to do in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: We're not your typical structured museum with stiff curators, cold halls, and strict rules. We like to go outside and get our hands dirty, pick things up and take a closer look, laugh, skip, or maybe even jump for joy. Because learning is messy and we all learn by doing, not sitting. That's why we offer a different approach to discovering the natural world: one where you're free to wander, ask "silly" questions, and explore on your own terms. And when you come here you'll see we're a museum unlike anything else. In a nutshell, we're naturally different.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

Those visiting the Santa Barbara Mission don't always realize that it backs up on beautiful, oak-lined Mission Creek, or that you can stroll along the creek and wander across a stone bridge into the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. In the Summertime, the Museum campus literally comes alive, with a live butterfly exhibit and one festival after another. At other times of the year, the setting is still so beautiful that it's worth strolling the grounds and visiting the gift shop. That said, unless you have an undying interest in viewing dusty, out-dated dioramas filled with stuffed versions of once-wild animals, avoid the Museum's standing exhibits. One display contains a preserved rattlesnake with a push button on the outside of the case. Guess what happens when you push the button? Yes, the tail rattles just like it did decades earlier when the exhibit was first installed. The connection just looks a littler more rickety than when first installed.

Thank Jiminsb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"butterfly exhibit"
in 16 reviews
"t rex"
in 9 reviews
"blue whale skeleton"
in 7 reviews
"indoor exhibits"
in 3 reviews
"great exhibits"
in 4 reviews
"all ages"
in 9 reviews
"great for kids"
in 5 reviews
"whole family"
in 6 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 3 reviews
"sea center"
in 6 reviews
"sea life"
in 5 reviews
"few hours"
in 5 reviews
"butterflies"
in 31 reviews
"minerals"
in 12 reviews
"dioramas"
in 11 reviews
"alive"
in 16 reviews
"owl"
in 5 reviews
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170 - 174 of 253 reviews

Reviewed November 25, 2013

Especially noteable is the Bird Hall and Butterflies Alive. This museum mounts a wide variety of interesting activities during the year: a winetasting in its extensive gardens, an Art Walk showing local artists, a monthly Science Pub lecture at a local watering spot and many other excellent lectures and activities. Best museum in Santa Barbara for member activities.

Thank llionlady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2013

We have visited the museum several times with our grandson. It never gets old for him or for us. I highly recommend it when you are in SB.

Thank rjbouch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

Sure, it's not a Smithsonian, or a natural history museum of any big city. It's small, it's quaint. A small exhibit of minerals (which was good), of marine life (eh, so-so). Mammals/birds pavillion was your grandfather's stuffed animals dioramas. The planetarium just sucked. Big time. I was with a 4 year old, who was really excited to see planets, starts etc. So, we came for a 1 pm show, that was advertised as a kid show. I have never seen more boring and low tech show in my life. The host of the show was an old guy, who honestly needs to retire. I almost fell asleep. 5 min into the show all of the kids started to get bored, scream, jump from their seats (and I don't blame them). But the guy just kept going and going about "and the constellation of Big Dipper could be found at 8 pm, on the south rim of the skyy" with a very monotonous tone of voice. All he did - jjust outlined constellations in the sky. We just got up and left. And so did two more families. What a shame. The butterfly garden was also closed. I wish they had more interactive exhibits, so that kids could touch, participate, try.

3  Thank krolikv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 24, 2013

Never gets old. As a child, as a parent and now as a grandparent. Something new to see and experience every visit. As much fun today making the rattler buzz as it was as a child. What a treasure.

Thank HEH352
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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