Santa Barbara Museums and Galleries
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta del Sol, Mission Canyon
Housed in Spanish Revival-style buildings on an extensive property with lush gardens, the museum is the home of an extensive collection of artifacts including a fantastic bird collection, a 72-foot Blue Whale skeleton that greets you upon entrance, and a planetarium. A relatively small museum, it’s not overwhelming, and perfect for a visit with kids. The Natural History museum also owns the Sea Center, which is located on the water and worth a visit on another day.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State St., Downtown
Santa Barbara is a hotbed of creatives, and so it's not too shocking that the Santa Barbara Museum of Art has a deep and wonderful collection: Established in 1941, they have everything from Chagalls and Kandinskys to Rauschenbergs and Monets. But that's just a backdrop to excellent lectures, exhibits, and events, as well as lots of activities geared toward kids: There are after school classes, along with Thursday and Sunday workshops where little ones can roll up their sleeves and learn how to paint and draw.