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Museums

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Learn about Santa Barbara’s history and cultural contributions by visiting any one of the many local museums.

The Natural History Museum

412 S. McClelland St.

Santa Maria, CA 93456 805-614-0806

www.smnature.org 

There’s something for everyone at the Natural History Museum, “Where natural history comes to life!” Exhibits and displays feature rocks and fossils, native birds, a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex skull and a bat room. The museum also has engaging, hands-on exhibits, live animal visits and educational programs.

Old Mission Santa Barbara

2201 Laguna St.

Santa Barbara, CA 93105 805-682-4713

www.santabarbaramission.org 

Founded in 1786, Old Mission Santa Barbara is known as the Queen of Missions. Explore the museum, mausoleum, church and 10 acres of beautiful gardens. Guided tours are available.

Old Mission Santa Ines

1760 Mission Drive

Solvang, CA 93464 805-688-4815

www.missionsantaines.org 

Founded in 1804, Santa Ines is the 19th California mission. The mission has a beautiful view of the Santa Ynez River Valley and the Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountain ranges. Visitors can also see hand-painted murals and priceless European art and sculptures. The mission is home to gardens as well and is the resting place of Native Americans and early California settlers.

Rancho La Patera & Stow House

304 N. Los Carneros Road

Goleta, CA 93117 805-681-7216

www.stowhouse.com 

Experience Rancho La Patera by walking through the gardens, taking a guided tour of the Stow House and enjoying hands-on exhibits in the Calvalletto History Education Center. Start in the Visitor Interpretive Center to get an overview.

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

113 Harbor Way, Suite 190

Santa Barbara, CA 93109 805-962-8404

www.sbmm.org 

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is in the Santa Barbara Waterfront Center. The museum features exhibits on Goleta’s canons, surfing, Santa Barbara Channel shipwrecks and a boat model gallery. There’s also a children’s area, where younger visitors can learn about the sea with hands-on activities.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

1130 State St.

Santa Barbara, CA 93101 805-963-4364

www.sbmuseart.org 

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art includes exhibits on ancient art, Asian art, modern and contemporary art, sculpture and photography. The museum also hosts a variety of programs and workshops for children and adults. Guided tours are available.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

2559 Puesta del Sol

Santa Barbara, CA 93105 805-682-4711

www.sbnature.org 

The Santa Barbara Museum combines history, science, nature and art with a dozen exhibits showcasing regional natural history. Exhibits include a life-size blue whale skeleton, a planetarium and an ethnobotanic garden. The museum also offers a number of family programs, lectures and festivals.

Santa Maria Museum of Flight

3015 Airpark Drive

Santa Maria, CA 93455 805-922-8758

www.smmof.org 

The Santa Maria Museum of Flight’s planes, models, photos, memorabilia and exhibits will excite any aviation enthusiast.

Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum

705 S. McClelland St.

Santa Maria, CA 93454 805-928-8414

www.smvdiscoverymuseum.org 

Children will love the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, which includes a live shark tank, giant bubble machine and “creation station” as well as hands-on educational exhibits based on local themes such as agriculture, aerospace and the environment.

Santa Maria Valley Historical Museum

616 S. Broadway

Santa Maria, CA 93454 805-922-3130

http://santamariahistory.com 

Get a glimpse into the history of Santa Maria through pictures, artifacts and valley memorabilia collected by the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society.

Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum & Parks-Janeway Carriage House

3596 Sagunto St.

Santa Ynez, CA 93460 805-688-7889

www.santaynezmuseum.org 

The museum is composed of exhibit spaces that include the Native American room, the Pioneer Room, the Jeannette Lyons Costume Room, the Valley Room, the Ellen Gleason Library and a gift shop. Across the museum’s early-California style courtyard is the 7,500-square-foot Parks-Janeway Carriage House, renowned as one the finest carriage collections in the U.S. More than 36 carriages as well as saddles are on display.

South Coast Railroad Museum

300 N. Los Carneros Road

Goleta, CA 93117 805-964-3540

www.goletadepot.org 

This museum focuses on the history, technology and adventure of railroading. Its centerpiece is the Goleta Depot, a country railroad stationhouse built by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1901 during the completion of the Coast Route that joined San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Goleta Depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kids will love the miniature train ride.

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