What! A zoo with a view of the Pacific Ocean and San Ynez Mountain.  Sounds like a perfect family outing!  The Santa Barbara Zoo is an area of 30 acres and has over 500 species of animals.  It might be the most beautiful zoo in Santa Barbara.  You will be able to view amazing animals and sailboats at the top of the hill.

We invite you to enjoy this adventure with your family and have put together 11 tips to make your trip more enjoyable and easy!

(Please check their website as things change daily with Covid)

Tips For a Perfect Zoo Trip

  1. Arrive Early – Animals are mostly active during the day and Zoo keepers feed them in the morning.  Arriving when the zoo first opens helps you to avoid the crowd. (You must make a reservation, so if you can get an earlier one you have a better chance of seeing more animals)
  2. Wear walking shoes – The zoo requires a lot of walking and is quite hilly.  Comfortable shoes will keep your little one going. While you are at it, make sure to pack a stroller just in case your little one gets tired.
  3. Bring your lunch or snacks – Although the zoo offers different dining options, a great way to save money and also ensure you have a break, is to bring your own food with you.  Visitors are allowed to bring their own food and the zoo offers several picnic areas where you can rest and eat.
  4. Decide if you want to ride the train – Avoid the lines and hassle at the train station by purchasing the zoo train ride during your admission. The train ride takes around 15 minutes and circles around the perimeter of the zoo.  It is a great opportunity to see many of the favorite animals.  
  5. PresentationsThere are many zoo keeper presentations and animal feedings throughout the day.  Make sure to check out the schedule beforehand to make sure you don’t miss an exciting event. (Check availability and if any shows are happening right now)
  6. The Kallman Play Area – There is a zoo-themed play area in the middle of the zoo for kids to enjoy! There are musical instruments to play, sandboxes, and the most amazing ant hill to slide down! (May be closed during pandemic).
  7. Giraffes – You won’t want to miss feeding the giraffes!  Tickets can be purchased to have several pieces of lettuce to feed these beautiful animals!  It also gives you a chance to get up close to them.  Just watch out for those tongues!!!
  8. Attractions – Check Ahead – These attractions might be available depending on the season….live stage shows, rock climbing wall, face painting, animals rides, and bounce houses. Call ahead to make plans. 
  9. Time for a break – The Zoo can be crowded and noisy, but there are several peaceful places to take a break.  Palm Garden, Cabrillo Lawn, and Raven’s Garden are just a few of the quieter spaces where you can go to take a break.  The symbol QS is on the map to find areas that tend to have less traffic and are often quieter. 
  10. Sensory sensitive kiddos – A Sensory Sensitive Pathway is located along Olive Road (to the right after entry), which offers a quieter alternative to the courtyard for entering the Zoo. Rent a sensory backpack, which includes items like noise-canceling headphones and a fidget cube for children who are sensory sensitive. For more information or to rent, check in at the Zoo’s front gate.
  11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is a Certified Autism Center – Santa Barbara Zoo is the first zoo on the West Coast to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC), which is a designation that demonstrates the Zoo’s commitment to ensuring guests and families with children who have autism have the best possible experience.

Enjoy The Zoo

A trip to the zoo is something your kids won’t forget! There is something quite magical about interacting with animals, especially when you are a kid.  We hope these tips will help make your zoo trip that much more enjoyable.  Be sure to let us know what your favorite animal is at the zoo!


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