Santa Barbara Zoo- an excellent combo of exercise and sightseeing!

Address: 500 Ninos Dr   Santa Barbara, Ca.

For Admission, Hours, Directions:


  • Water- at least one big bottle.
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • Sturdy Tennis Shoes
  • A Camera

Kid Friendly: Yes

Handicap Access: A little hilly but YES

Dog Friendly: No

Cell Service: Yes

Food: Throughout the zoo or bring a picnic!

Shopping: Support this Zoo and buy T-shirts and fun stuff for the kiddies!

The Low Down:

Santa Barbara has one of the most beautiful zoos I have ever visited. I actually liked it better than the San Diego Zoo and it is -by far- heads (and tails) above the LA Zoo. I live 10 minutes away from the LA Zoo but I would rather drive an hour and a 1/2 to cool, breezy Santa Barbara. I think it’s the lack of  graffiti scratched plexiglass and droves of gang banging families that makes it more appealing. Anyway…

My Gorgeous Co-Host today was:


The Boy! My Grandson Caiden (the best co-host ever)!

The BOY and I escaped the over 100 degree weather in LA and cruised our way up to Santa Barbara. The Zoo is GORGEOUS, the grounds are spectacular and the animals are thriving. There are plenty of hills so you will definitely get your exercise in for the day. During the week, it’s not very crowded so Caiden was able to walk along side of me and not get trampled on by other guests!

There is a wonderful play area with a hill that the kids can slide down on collapsed boxes or run up and down using their own energy. They have a little tree house and a children’s garden too.


 At selected times during the day, they run a Dinosaur Show that features a Giant T-Rex Puppet! When the T-Rex came around the theater building into plain view, Caiden and I both thought it was the real deal!     The Boy and I said on a hill above the theater and had a picnic while the show went on. Walking up and down those hills can give a small boy a BIG appetite!

Caiden’s favorite part of the zoo is the Elephant enclosure. Above the enclosure is a picnic area with table and chairs. We were able to pull the chairs right up to the fence and watch the Elephants eat. Keeping a 2 year old occupied is a feat in itself and being able to get so close to the Elephants and watch them do “Elephant Stuff” kept him busy for a good 20 minutes…thank you for the excellent placement of chairs, SB Zoo!


At the top of the ZOO, you will find Lions, Gorillas, Condors and giraffes. You can feed the giraffes for $3 (or maybe $5)…

Me: “Caiden- what’s that?” 

Caiden: “A liiiiion.”

Me: “what’s he doin?”

Caiden: “Seeeping. He says RRRRR….”

Me: “Good job Buddy! Gimme 5!”

One of the best displays of Bugs and Lizards I have ever come across is located at the beginning of the Zoo. Even if you are squeamish, do not avoid! Seriously- it’s dark, damp, mysterious and interactive. Lots of buttons to push and creepy crawlies to discover!


BY THE WAY- Check out the SIZE of this Vulture! It’s bigger than Caiden!  

DO NOT MISS:  The Train that goes around the Zoo. Totally worth the $4!

                                    The view from the Picnic Area way at the top of the Zoo.

                                    The Gift Shop closest to the Main Gate. 1/2 Price T-Shirts!

The Wrap Up: The Boy and I spent close to 4 hours at the ZOO and had an amazing time. Once back in the car, it took him all of 3 minutes to fall asleep. That is solid proof of a successful trip!


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