5 Family-Friendly Santa Barbara Activities

28 March 2016
Read Time: 1.5 mins

Santa Barbara is a playground for all ages. From bike riding to snorkelling, there really is no end to the fun and adventures you can have!

Check out these top 5 family-friendly activities and see why Santa Barbara makes for the ideal destination for your next California holiday.

1. Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo Hand-feed giraffes at Santa Barbara Zoo (Image: Jay Sinclair)

Explore the wonders of Santa Barbara Zoo with over 600 animals representing more than 180 species. Take a ride on the Zoo Train and admire exotic animals, all while soaking up the stunning scenery.

Play Zookeeper for a day by assisting in the daily tasks of animal care, food preparation and behind-the-scenes areas. Embark on the enjoyable elephant walk, feed the giraffes, and hang around to experience a Twilight Safari throughout the summer months.

2. Chase Palm Park

Chase Palm Park Santa Barbara The historic carousel at Chase Palm Park has been delighting children for generations (Image: Fernanda Melgoza)

Located directly across from the beach, this enormous playground is a family favourite! Kids can enjoy a restored antique carousel with 37 carved wooden steeds, splashing in a series of faux riverbeds at The Wilds, and a giant misting whale in the Shipwreck Playground.

During summer it's best to pack a picnic, so you can enjoy the kicking back to a meal with a prime ocean view.


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3. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Wander the vast Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (Image: Jay Sinclair)

Children love exploring the woods, learning in the Discovery Garden and running through the Coyote Maze in Santa Barbara’s Botanic Garden.

The paved trail around the meadow and its magnificent spring poppy display is perfect for strollers, with plenty of benches to stop and enjoy the view. Dirt paths take you up to fabulous ocean views or down to the cool dampness of Mission Creek.

4. Surrey Ride

Santa Barbara surrey Jump in a surrey and venture around the Santa Barbara beachfront (Image: Jay Sinclair)

Rent a surrey (modern carriages) for the whole family and ride along the Cabrillo Bike Path, a five-kilometre track that crosses three downtown beaches and explores the Santa Barbara harbour, home to over 1000 ships.

Alternatively, head to West Beach where you can enjoy winding bike paths and an arts and crafts show every Sunday.

5. Goleta Butterfly Groves

Chase Palm Park Santa Barbara Monarch butterflies (Image: Mark Weber)

Goleta is aflutter with monarch butterflies from November through to February, when these orange-and-black beauties return to spend the winter in the Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove.

The monarchs dangle from eucalyptus branches in the early morning and launch into silent flight as the sun warms their wings – a captivating sight!


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to California.


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