Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
500 Ninos Drive
Santa Barbara, CA  93103

(805) 962-5339 (Phone)   |   (805) 962-1673 (Fax)


Year Founded:
   The Santa Barbara Zoo is dedicated to the preservation, conservation and enhancement of the natural world and its living treasures through education, research, and recreation. There are over 600 animals (180+ species), carousel, train, and much more.
    Many people become members of the zoo becoming involved in helping to conserve rare and endangered species. As a Member, you will receive free or discounted admission to over 100 other zoos in the United States. As a private, non-profit corporation, we need support of our members to care for our animals, acquire new animals, and build new exhibits.
    The Zoo offers workshops to help teachers integrate the Zoo into their science curriculum. Teachers will learn to use biological artifacts as instructional models. After completing the workshop, teachers will be able to lead a tour using our hands-on Bio-Bags during their zoo visit! The course will include an introduction to Zoology, Zoo history, and environmental education.
    The Zoo is located on over 30 acres with its lovely gardens and picturesque views overlooking East Beach -- approximately 30 minutes North of Ventura, and 30 minutes South of Solvang. Note: We do not allow skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, RV's, dogs or barbecues in the Zoo or the parking lot. Thank you for your cooperation.
Animals on Exhibit:
    Alligators & Crocodiles,   Amphibians,   Birds,   Elephants,   Fish,   Giraffes,   Hoofstock,   Hyraxes,   Invertebrates,   Lions, Tigers, etc.,   Lizards,   Mammals,   Parrots,   Pigeons & Doves,   Primates,   Snakes,   Swine,   Turtles & Tortoises,   Wading Birds,   Waterfowl,  

Business Hours:
    10 AM to 5 PM every day except Thanksgiving & Christmas.
Location Type:
Payment Accepted:
    Cash,   Check,   Amex,   MasterCard,   Visa,  
Languages Spoken:
    English,   Spanish,  
General Business Classification:
    Museums, Historic Sites, Attractions

Legal Entity:
Number of Employees:
    51 - 100
Average Visit:
    2 hours
Parking On-Site?
Guided Tours?
    By Appointment Only
Gift Certificates?
    Available for Sale
Classes Offered?
 Recent Buzzes!!
8/22/14 - SB Zoo's Volunteer Expo is Sept. 6th
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People with a love of animals and a passion for nature are wanted to join the Santa Barbara Zoo’s volunteer program. Short-term or on-going volunteer positions are available, for both adults aged 18 and over, and teens in both junior high and high school. Docents, keeper aides, California condor nest watchers, and Zoo Camp counselors in training are just a few of the opportunities to help support the Zoo’s conservation, animal, and education activities. The Zoo’s many volunteer opportunities will be revealed at a Volunteer Expo, held on Saturday, September 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Zoo’s Discovery Pavilion.
Admission to the Volunteer Expo is free. For more information about the Volunteer Expo at the Zoo, visit or email
“If you love animals and enjoy working with people, the Santa Barbara Zoo is the place for you,” says Zoo Director Nancy McToldridge. “The Zoo is a success today thanks largely to the generosity of our volunteers.”
More than 500 individuals volunteered their time and talents in 2013, but volunteers are still needed. Team members from all Zoo departments will be on hand to discuss the positions.
A new Zoo Teen Program mirrors many of the adult opportunities, but also counts towards Community Service requirements.
“The Santa Barbara Zoo is a fantastic place for people to donate their time,” says Shomari McLemore, the Zoo’s Volunteer Manager. “Our volunteers utilize and develop their skills with both on-the-job and structured training, all in a nurturing environment. Their work here is truly beneficial, not only for them, but also for the community.”
Benefits of volunteering at the Santa Barbara Zoo include free individual admission to the Zoo during regular business hours, continuing education programs, access to the Zoo library, discounts at the Zoo gift shop and restaurants, and more.
8/6/14 - Still time! Summer Zoo Camp lasts until August 22nd
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June 16 - August 22 ..... Voted “best summer camp” by both Independent and Santa Barbara News-Press readers’ polls, Zoo Camp introduces kids ages 3 to 12 to the wild world of animals and science. Age-appropriate themed programs include games, teacher-led workshops, behind-the-scenes visits, up-close animal introductions, hands-on science, and animal-related crafts, songs and skits. Register online or contact the Conservation Education Department by email or phone: (805) 679-8500. Cost: $185/half day for SB Zoo Members; $225/half day for non-members and $245/full day for SB Zoo Members; $295/full day for non-members.
Morning Session: for Jr. Rangers (3-5) and Explorers (6-8) – 8:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Afternoon Session: for Jr. Rangers (3-5) and Explorers (6-8) – 11:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Full-Day Session: for Explorers (6-8) and Conservation Crew (9-12) – 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
Venue ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens  Website
8/6/14 - Don't wait! Zoofari Ball XXIX-Spyfari tickets (8/23) will see out!
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The wildest party in Santa Barbara goes clandestine with a sophisticated and stylish evening of mystery. Martinis are shaken, a gourmet dinner is sure to satisfy, and there’s dancing under the stars. Both silent and live auctions hold surprises and help support the Zoo. Don't wait!!! Zoofari usually sells out in advance. For tickets, call (805) 962-5339 ext. 113 or purchase online.
Early Closure: General admission ticket sales end at 2:30 p.m., membership admission ends at 3:00 p.m., Zoo closes at 3:30 p.m.

Presented by ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
Venue ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens  Website
8/6/14 - August 12th is World Elephant Day!
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On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature. Come learn about what organizations like Wildlife Conservation Society and the International Elephant Foundation are doing to help save elephants, and learn more about the Zoo's elephants too. Enjoy giveaways and elephant-related activities while you marvel at these enormous endangered animals.
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
Venue ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens  Website
2/14/14 - This Sunday .... Fox Festival at the Zoo
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Both local Channel Island foxes and the Zoo’s new African fennec foxes are highlighted at this event that’s equal parts education and fun. Learn about the Channel Island foxes’ dramatic comeback from a population crash, thanks to conservation efforts, which the Zoo participated in. View the wee fennec foxes with their oversized ears. Fox-fun crafts and keeper talks add to the fun.
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
Venue ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens  Website
10/23/13 - Boo at the Zoo -- This Weekend!
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Have a spooktacularly good time as the Zoo transforms for three nights of safe, traffic-free trick-or-treating during this merry-not-too-scary event. Features a Trick & Treat Trail, Boo-Choo-Choo train rides, Creepy Crawly encounters, and much more.
Boo at the Zoo is designed for children ages 2 - 12 accompanied by an adult. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.
Cost: Adults $12, Children (2-12) $10. $1 off for SB Zoo Members. Tickets available now at the Zoo or online. Boo-Choo-Choo tickets priced separately on a first-come, first-served basis at the train station from 5:30 p.m. until they sell out: $4/adults, $3.50/children 2-12. $1 off for SB Zoo Members. Parking for non-members is $5.
Early Closing: the Zoo will close at 3:30 p.m. on all three days of Boo at the Zoo. General admission ticket sales will end at 2:30 p.m., and Zoo Member admission ends at 3:00 p.m.
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
Venue ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens  Website
5/24/13 - Zoo Exhibits Reopen for Memorial Day
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The Santa Barbara Zoo reopens a walkway and two exhibits just in time for Memorial Day weekend thanks to the completion of a phase of construction on the $7.5 million Discovery Pavilion.
The popular Asian small-clawed otters are on view on Saturday (May 25) for the first time since construction began in September 2012. Their exhibit now features enhanced viewing areas and a fully accessible, ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) approved walkway. The Zoo’s American alligator, named Mary Lou, has been given a prominent space nearby, in the exhibit previously occupied by her “cousin,” a Chinese alligator.
“We want to highlight Mary Lou during our 50th Anniversary. At age 52, she is our oldest resident, and she has lived here just about since the Zoo opened in 1963,” said Rich Block, Zoo CEO.
Also reopening is the walkway to the lower Zoo, which leads to snow leopards, the Wings of Asia aviary, Indian crested porcupines, Amur leopard, and Gibbon Island. The walkway also accesses Chilean flamingos, Ruppell’s griffon vultures, Rainforest Passage, and Asian elephants. During construction, the only way to these areas was from the top of the Zoo, and required backtracking to exit.
Grading and foundation work on Discovery Pavilion began following Labor Day 2012. Still closed due to construction are the Eewww exhibit and Tropical Aviary. Both are anticipated to reopen this summer.
Scheduled to open in Spring 2014, Discovery Pavilion will be a highly functional, ADA-compliant, easily accessible, conservation education facility. Conveniently located on Zoo grounds, it will serve as a hub for school field trips, Zoo Camp and other current programs, and allow for wider and increased educational offerings, including speakers, advanced volunteer training, teen programs and more. The Pavilion will also house the Zoo’s new animal kitchen, and visitors will be able to observe food preparation through a large viewing window,
The Discovery Pavilion will be accessible for the entire community, and available for use by private events, similar to the way the Zoo’s outdoor areas are rented for weddings, company picnics and other gatherings.
More than $6.9 million has been raised for construction of Discovery Pavilion, but there is still 8% to be raised. “We urge the community to help us raise this last bit,” adds Block. “Donations of any size will add up to get us there. It’s a great way show support during our 50th Anniversary year.”   Website
5/17/13 - It's the Fox Festival -- Saturday at the Zoo
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Both local Channel Island foxes and the Zoo’s new African fennec foxes are highlighted at this event that’s equal parts education and fun. Learn about the Channel Island foxes’ dramatic comeback from a population crash, thanks to conservation efforts, which the Zoo participated in. View the wee fennec foxes with their oversized ears. Fox-fun crafts and keeper talks add to the fun.
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
Venue ... Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens  Website
4/29/13 - Second giraffe calf born at SB Zoo
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A second giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo has given birth, just 10 days after a male calf was born. Betty Lou, a five-year old Masai giraffe, gave birth in the Giraffe Barn yesterday (April 28) at 1 p.m. after about two hours of labor. The calf stood up after 40 minutes, and is nursing normally; supplemental feedings are not expected to be needed. A medical exam at 3 p.m. today (Monday, April 29) will determine the calf’s sex, assess its health, and measure its weight and height.
“The birth was easy and uneventful and both mother and baby are doing well,” reports Zoo Director Nancy McToldridge. “The new calf appears smaller than Dane, but we won't know the sex until the exam this afternoon. We look forward to sharing this new arrival with our guests, but it needs a few days to bond with Betty Lou, meet the other giraffes, and adjust to being on four gangly legs.”
Audrey, the Zoo’s other female Masai giraffe, gave birth to male calf Dane on Thursday, April 18, 2013, at 3:52 p.m. after about two hours and 15 minutes of labor. He appears to be nursing normally and debuted on exhibit last Tuesday, April 23.
The new calf will not be on view to the media or on exhibit for several days. “Betty Lou is being a very attentive mother, and is exhibiting more protective behaviors than Audrey did, so barn visits are limited to Zoo staff for the near future,” notes Sheri Horiszny, Director of Animal Programs.
Audrey and the other new calf Dane are also off exhibit. “They are beginning a period of introductions to the new addition, which are difficult to predict,” adds Horiszny, “especially given Betty Lou’s protective behaviors.” Michael, the Zoo’s male giraffe and sire of both calves, is on exhibit.
The new calf’s name has been selected by the Dreier family, sponsors of the Zoo’s giraffe herd, and will be Sunshine if the calf is female and Tikit if it is male.   Website
4/19/13 - Giraffe born at Santa Barbara Zoo yesterday
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One of two pregnant Masai giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo has given birth, and second birth is not far away. Audrey, a five-year old giraffe, gave birth in the Giraffe Barn yesterday (April 18) at 3:52 a.m. after about two hours and 15 minutes of labor to what is believed to be a male calf. The calf stood up after 50 minutes, and appears to be about 6’3” tall. Audrey is the same giraffe who gave birth to the “surprise calf” Daniel in January 2011 (see below). But unlike Daniel, the new calf appears to be nursing normally and not expected to need any hand-rearing. A medical exam at 1:30 p.m. today will assess the calf’s health, get his weight and height, and determine when he will be on view to the media and to the public.
“This birth is special in so many ways,” said Zoo Director Nancy McToldridge. “It is always a joy to see a new life begin and, in a way, it helps ease the pain of losing Daniel last summer. Scientifically, this calf is very valuable genetically to all regionally managed Masai giraffes because his father, Michael, is not related to any of the female Masai giraffes in the United States.”
Betty Lou, the Zoo’s other Masai female, is also pregnant and could give birth any time. Giraffes have a 14.5-month gestation period. Counting from the very first day Michael had access to the females, that period ended on April 6. But no one knows for sure when they actually became pregnant, the second birth could happen days or weeks from now.
Updates about the calf and second birth are posted daily on the Zoo’s website,   Website
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