When you plan a vacation or trip to Santa Barbara, California, the top of your sightseeing list probably doesn’t say “visit a museum…” but it should. You see even trips to sunny and beautiful Santa Barbara sometime call for a little history and there are plenty of spectacular museums to soak up all the knowledge you could ask for in the city.
Take a break from the beach and head inside into the air conditioning and learn a thing or two about the incredible city of Santa Barbara. Here are six museums you don’t want to miss.
#1. Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Prior to becoming a museum, this site was a training facility for the Navy for more than fifty years. Visitors can learn everything they need about marine life, health, and history though many of the interactive displays in the two-story museum. Both temporary and permanent exhibits offer information on the Channel’s maritime history, from commercial fishing to yachting and coastal trade.
Make sure to pay a visit to the great periscope attraction as it is a must-see! After you have experienced all the museum has to offer, take a ride on the Lil’ Toot water taxi to travel from the harbor to the wharf.
#2. Santa Barbara Historical Museum
The Santa Barbara Historical Museum has one of California’s best collections of regional history. The museum is conveniently located downtown and boasts a stunning courtyard with historical adobe buildings. Inside the museum, you can expect to see western saddles, fine art pieces, antique toys and a wide array of costumes.
The reference library also includes plenty of manuscripts, books, and maps. If you would like a guided tour, those are offered on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm.
#3. South Coast Railroad Museum at Goleta Depot
This Victorian-style depot dates back to 1901 and was constructed and built by the Southern Pacific Railroad. For all those who love trains and the railroad, this is a site you cannot miss. The structure is the epitome of charm and offers plenty of exhibits about rail life with historical artifacts, and plenty of rare photos. Be sure to check out the 300-square-foot model railroad and the miniature train that is sure to be a hit with the little ones.
#4. Santa Barbara Museum of Art
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art features a rare and beautiful display of art pieces from a variety of cultures and periods. There are more than 27,000 works of art within this local museum. You can expect to see American, Asian and Classical Art, European paintings and sculptures and there is a special children’s gallery.