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“Zoo with an ocean view”
Review of Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo
Certificate of Excellence
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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
Reviewed May 5, 2014

We visit zoos whenever we can and the Santa Barbara Zoo was on our list during a recent three day weekend. We walked from our hotel and arrived as the zoo opened. The various paths meander around the zoo and are easily managed. The habitats are well-maintained. The animals were active and seemed well-cared for. Only one exhibit was closed during our Saturday visit, which lasted about 5 hours. There are animal talks throughout the day. My only complaint is that the two eating areas are at opposite ends of the zoo, so if you want a snack it is a bit of a walk from the interior. However, the food was excellent and portions generous.

One of the unique features of this zoo is the lovely view of the ocean behind the giraffe enclosure. A local shuttle is available outside the zoo that takes you along the waterfront for 50 cents. You can get a free transfer for the shuttle going up and down State Street, the major shopping and dining area.

1  Thank Ola C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"train ride"
in 92 reviews
"giraffe feeding"
in 39 reviews
"animals seem"
in 23 reviews
"perfect size"
in 33 reviews
"california condors"
in 17 reviews
"snow leopard"
in 12 reviews
"animal enclosures"
in 12 reviews
"few hours"
in 56 reviews
"ocean view"
in 22 reviews
"all ages"
in 36 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 31 reviews
"bird refuge"
in 12 reviews
"great for kids"
in 15 reviews
"beautiful grounds"
in 24 reviews
"los angeles"
in 15 reviews
"state street"
in 14 reviews
in 124 reviews

745 - 749 of 1,204 reviews

Reviewed May 4, 2014

We came on a Friday afternoon and it was uncrowded. There were far more animals than people, which was nice. Even though it was on the hot side that day, the animals were quite active. We got amazing, close views of the gorillas, giraffes, lions, and river otters ... most of the time all by ourselves. There were great views of the coastline from within the zoo up on the hill. The botanical aspects of the zoo are also worth noting.

Thank CacheOn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2014

It's easy to overlook this small zoo near the beach, but if you're visiting Santa Barbara, it should be at the top of your lists, especially if you have small children.Because of its beautiful surroundings, the animals look healthy and lively. It's one eighth in scale compared to San Diego Zoo, but it's much less crowded, which makes watching and observing the animals a lot more fun.

Thank SVO2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2014

This zoo is nestled in a small park near the beach and has a lot of mature trees in and around it - giving it a very nice shady natural feel. The layout and map are both a bit confusing and I still managed to miss the bugs and a walk-through aviary. Overall the zoo is average. The California Trails exhibit is INCREDIBLE. You can get so close to endangered California Condors - although there wasn't good signage explaining their amazing comeback from the brink of extinction and I think many people failed to understand how rare these birds are. The giraffes, Lions and leopards had good exhibits. The gorilla exhibit is a weird layout with awkward viewing areas. The elephants space is small and pretty sad for me. Their indoor space looks like it is nothing more than a shed.

Thank Jeremy044
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 27, 2014

They post feeding times so make sure you catch the talks by the zoo keepers at the feedings. You only need a couple of hours and the zoo is located very close to the ocean so the views and atmosphere are very pleasing.

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

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