Top 20 Santa Barbara attractions

Santa Barbara Sea Center

The Santa Barbara Sea Center is located at Stearn’s Wharf in Santa Barbara. 

The Santa Barbara Sea Center is on Stearns Wharf, with stunning views overlooking the city beaches and Santa Ynez Mountains. Two giant California gray whales models are suspended from the ceiling in this light filled atrium.

Although not a big aquarium, the exhibits at the Santa Barbara Sea Center are engaging and spread over two-floors. 

They include touch pools with sharks and sea stars, a jellyfish aquarium, and a wet deck where you can lower crab nets into the ocean.

10 best things at Santa Barbara Sea Center

1. Kids will love the touch pools, with sea stars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers and anemones. 

2. There’s even a touch pool with baby swell sharks! 

3. Go to the popular Wet Deck to lower a crab net into the ocean and dredge up sand and sea life. 

4. Place the sea life specimens under a microscope.  

5. Upstairs is a Jellyfish Aquarium with florescent moon jellies. 

6. There’s also an adjacent reading room with kid’s books.

7. Have fun at the Marine Puppet Theater.

8. See the mysterious two spotted octopus in his tank.

9. Visit the cool gift shop at this Santa Barbara aquarium, with marine-themed merchandise.

10. Stop by the candy or ice-cream shop on Stearns Wharf afterwards, or enjoy one of five restaurants with water views.

Know before you go 

  • Location: Stearns Wharf.
  • Tickets & Hours: check here
  • Restrooms:  On the Wharf, next to the Santa Barbara Sea Center or Char West Restaurant.
  • Parking: Stearns Wharf Parking Lot.

More in Santa Barbara

Review this attraction