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“Fun day at the zoo” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This zoo with a view was once a posh estate owned by a coffee and tea merchant; now it's the lush domain of more than 500 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, elephants, 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.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Eureka, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Fun day at the zoo”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2013

This is a small zoo, but this is an advantage for families with young children who tire easily. Enough exhibits to interest anyone. Playgrounds for kids to give parents a break. Loved it!

Visited August 2013
Thank ccroth53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,059 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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  • Any
English first
San Diego, CA
Level Contributor
42 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
“Lovely grounds”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2013

What a pretty zoo. The grounds are gorgeous. I can imagine lots of weddings and family events being held here. I live in San Diego which is home to a wonderful zoo but my husband and I really enjoyed the intimacy of the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Visited June 2013
Thank DTierman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simi Valley
Level Contributor
61 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Zoo Snooze a Must do for Groups”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2013

A group of 15 people in our cubscout pack came here on a zoo snooze. It was $60.00 a person and that included according to their website:

-Camping on the lawn next to the lion exhibit or in a class room. (we chose the outdoors option)
-Then our instructors lead your group through a series of exciting, hands-on educational activities including up-close animal encounters and behind-the-scenes explorations.
- An evening snack is also provided.
-In the morning, your group will enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast
-another up-close animal encounter with one of our zookeepers
-a train ride
-creating a special breakfast treat for one of our Zoo animals
-At the conclusion of our program, you are welcome to explore the Zoo with your group on your own to see all of your favorite animals in the light of day!

So we didn't exactly create a breakfast treat for a zoo animal as expected, however the boys did create a toy for the porcupine then got to see him rip it apart which was a lot of fun. The snack was ok, popcorn and animal crackers on a cafeteria tray so you have to share with everyone else, and Pink Lemonade. I'd think for $60.00 they could have done a little bit better than that like maybe cheese and crackers, granola bars, anything snackwise that is individually wrapped, although I did think the animal crackers was a cute idea. The boys loved petting a giant reptile I forgot what it was along with a ball python. They got to do the giraffe encounter while there as well. We got to explore exhibits with nobody around which was very nice. Since some animals are nocturnal and you don't always see them in the day when you visit it was great to see them at sunset. Having geese and Sea lions as your alarm clock in the morning was fun for me. The breakfast was better than I thought, all you can eat pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit, a variety of juices, milk, and coffee. The bathrooms are a hike away if you need to go at night. They should invest in putting some closer to the sleeping area. We ended our stay with a personal train ride which is always a good time especially since it was just the 15 of us. I love coming to this zoo and think it's a fun way to spend the day.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Mon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, Canada
Level Contributor
78 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great way to spend half a day”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2013

This is a very nice zoo. It is much smaller and more intimate than the San Diego Zoo but still has a good collection of exotic animals. I have never been so close to an African elephant! The giraffe feeding is a must do. I would recommend skipping paying the extra fee for the train ride - you see very few animals and are mostly treated to views of the rear of the administrative buildings. If you can, go early. The animals are often fed and are most active first thing in the morning before the heat of the day sets in. There are few dining options but some wonderful picnic areas so think about a BYO lunch. A tip for those with kids under ten: there is an AstroTurf hill in the family play area where kids toboggan down on pieces of cardboard but you have to bring your own so stop by a grocery store to pick up a cardboard box before you visit.

Visited August 2013
Thank Travellingmom362
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
444 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
“Hands Down My Favorite Zoo”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

Hands down this is my favorite zoo. I love that it is small and intimate. You feel like you are closer to the animals and able to really see and study them. Being smaller, you also don't feel overwhelmed trying to get to all the exhibits. My favorite exhibits are the gorillas, giraffes and otters. The grounds are very pleasing to the eye as well and in spots you can see all the way to the ocean on one side and the bird refuge on the other. We rode the kiddie train and it was more expensive than I remember. I think the price would be more fair at $2.00 than $4.50. We arrived late at 3:30 p.m. and were still able to get in most everything we wanted to see by closing at 5 p.m. though I would really recommend a minimum of two hours. I would definitely consider becoming a member to support this wonderful zoo.

Visited August 2013
Thank CacheOn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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