Activities For Children

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Whether you’re retiring later in life and have grandchildren, or earlier than the norm with young children, Santa Barbara offers year-round entertainment. Some activities are fun for everyone, like the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Museum of Natural History and the The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center—let’s face it, the kids are just an excuse for the adults to go!

For adventurous kids, there are surfing schools, summer camps at karate dojos, and rock climbing classes, to name a few. Right on the oceanfront near Stearn’s Wharf, there’s a skate park that’s free to access. Go horseback riding up in Refugio Canyon with spectacular views of the coastline. Santa Barbara’s beaches offer plenty of boogie boarding, swimming, tide-pool exploration, Frisbee and ball games, snorkeling and more. Get out in the water and go whale watching, ocean kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding or out to the Channel Islands.

Don’t forget to take a walk down Stearn’s Wharf, maybe do some fishing and treat yourself to some fish and chips for lunch, with maybe an ice cream cone afterwards.

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Take bikes and explore the bird refuge or the paths above UCSB and Ellwood Beach, or pack a picnic and explore one of the city’s many well-tended parks, like Alice Keck Park or Alameda Park’s Kids World.

Do the little ones love books? Or maybe need a furry friend to read to? Check out the ARF! schedule! ARF! stands for Animals + Reading = Fun! and it’s held at a few libraries and schools around town. Your child can pick a book and read to a therapy dog, and even get the dog’s “business card” to take away with them. Doggie kisses and cuddles all free of charge.

Or, if it’s too hot to be outdoors, take advantage of the Metropolitan Theaters’ Summer Film Series, with $2 admission to 10 a.m. screenings of children’s movies.

There really is something for everyone.