Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Santa Barbara Zoo - Beautiful and Affordable

The Santa Barbara Zoo is idyllically located just across from the beaches of Santa Barbara. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer, it's a wonderful location. The zoo is also a great size so that most families can view the majority of exhibits in 2-3 hours. Also, unlike some of the major zoos, you can park and walk in and immediately start viewing the animals. And, for the frugal-minded, there are plenty of ways to make your visit an economical yet satisfying one. For starters, if you plan to go there 2 or 3 times, consider the family membership which costs $75.00 per year. For a family to visit there and purchase entrance tickets, it would cost $11 per adult and $8 per child (between 2 and 13) so that would cost $38 for a family with two adults and two children. If you went there a second time in the year, that would be $76.00. So, already, two visits makes the annual membership worthwhile and you get some additional benefits such as discounts at the gift store, newsletters, and the like. And, as a side note, they don't actually charge for parking.

Not only is this zoo a manageable size, it's very kid-friendly! They have a train (rides $2 per adult, $1.50 per child), a playground (free), and the giraffe exhibits offer visitors the chance to feed them ($4 per person.) Additionally, if you'd prefer to bring in a picnic, there are plenty of picnic areas where you can enjoy your lunch or snack. My favorite one is right near the lions' enclosure where you can see the ocean across the way.

Here are photos of the giraffes at the feeding deck and in their enclosure.

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