Things To Do With Kids in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a leisurely coastal town that is perfect for family getaways. Sitting comfortably between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the this scenic Mediterranean-style city has been referred to as the American Riviera and is full of unique dining, shopping, and recreational options for all ages. Whether your kids are chasing seagulls on the wharfs or taking photos beneath the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, you’ll be sure to make memories to last a lifetime while you’re in town. Check out all of exciting family-friendly activities Santa Barbara has to offer.

Ready for a day on the beach? Whether your kids are natural swimmers or prefer to play indoors, Santa Barbara has just the thing to create a perfect day for the whole family. Try these top activities fun-filled day with the kids:

  • Look for whales with Double Dolphin Cruises
  • Perfect your balance with a rental from Paddle Sports Center
  • Make your own sounds effects for a movie at Moxi, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation
  • Knock over all the pins at Zodo’s - Bowling & Beyond
  • Zip around town in style with SB Buggies

From historical landmarks to cultural attractions, Santa Barbara has it all. Bring the kids on a tour with Santa Barbara Trolly Co to learn all about the colonial history and local hot spots. After the tour, be sure to visit these kid-approved spots:

  • The Lobero Theatre, the premier stage for theatrical, musical, and dance performances
  • Lotusland, a public collection of themed gardens
  • The local shops and restaurants in historic Downtown Santa Barbara
  • Santa Barbara FisHouse, located on the waterfront
  • The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market, where you can buy local vegetables and berries

Santa Barbara is an excellent place to teach children about photography. From the picturesque beaches to the charming red-tiled roofs, your photographer-to-be will have plenty of subjects to capture on film. Make sure to visit the following picture-worthy spots in Santa Barbara:

  • Take a stroll along Stearns Wharf
  • Explore the grounds of the Old Mission Santa Barbara
  • See notable landmarks all over the city with Puzzling Adventures
  • Watch the sunset at Shoreline Park
  • Admire the desert flowers at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Although many may assume resort towns are meant for adults, the American Riviera proves this to not be the case. Santa Barbara has tons of fun things to do for kids, ranging from parks to interactive learning centers. Try these great things to do with kids in Santa Barbara:

  • Play in the sun at Leadbetter Beach
  • Look for turtles at Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens
  • Try your luck on the city's oldest swings set at Alameda Park
  • Meet the tigers at the Santa Barbara Zoo
  • Watch a children’s play by Showstoppers Theatre Productions

When the whole tribe is looking for something to do, Santa Barbara has you covered. Bring your kids and all their friends to one of the many beaches, family restaurants, or shopping centers in town. Other activities to do in groups with kids include the following:

  • Spending a day on East Beach
  • Playing pool at Don Q Billiards Family Billiard Center
  • Cracking the code at The Cube Escape Rooms
  • Sharing a pizza at Gino’s Sicilian Express
  • Taking a boat ride on Lil’ Toot between the wharfs

Although being in Santa Barbara feels like summer vacation, there’s still plenty of places to learn new things. The South Coast Railroad Museum and the Ridley-Tree Education Center teach visitors of all ages about city culture. Other places kids will find learning fun include:

  • Appreciating seaside history at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
  • Petting sharks at the Sea Center
  • Seeing National Geographic photos at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
  • Admiring the masterpieces at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • Learning about the military presence at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
  • Santa Barbara has enough natural beauty and attractions to bring out creativity in everyone. Inspire you kids with visits to the opera, ballet, or many art galleries. Don’t forget to sign them up for lessons at these top classes for kids:

    • Embrace your inner musician with Sandcastle Music Together
    • Earn a new belt with Aikido Kenkyukai
    • Become a ballerina at Santa Barbara Dance Arts
    • Release your inner rock star Guitar Lessons Santa Barbara
    • Ride the waves with Lovewater Surf School

    Sometimes the ocean and mountains aren’t enough. Kids in Santa Barbara love the indoor playgrounds, interactive centers, and movies theaters. Head indoors for some fun at these kid-friendly spots:

    • Use your imagination at Kidaru Playcenter
    • Watch the latest blockbusters at Metropolitan Fiesta 5 Theater
    • See old toys at Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & LIbrary
    • Work on your trust falls at Santa Barbara Rock Gym
    • Practice pirouettes at Ice in Paradise