The Santa Barbara Channel is a pillar of the city’s history and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) is the perfect place to learn about it. Located in the picturesque Santa Barbara Harbor, the Maritime Museum provides exhibits and educational experiences that celebrate the vital connection between the local community and the sea. Delve into California’s fascinating maritime heritage through interactive exhibits, preserved artifacts, art and film. The museum also offers a variety of fun educational programs for children of all ages.
What to See and Do
Through the museum’s many hands-on activities, you can learn about sustainable fishing in a kelp forest, raising a sail, diving, sport fishing and more. Stop by the onsite gallery to see rotating exhibits of ocean-themed artwork. Sailing in from the back wall of the museum is a replica of a Wilson Brothers lumber schooner. Inside is the state-of-the-art HD multimedia Munger Theater, which features an audio-visual experience for the whole family, including films that take you on virtual underwater adventures and deep sea archeological explorations. Check the film schedule to find out what’s showing during your visit.
For a breathtaking panoramic view of the harbor, climb to the fourth floor, where you’ll find the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum Visitor Center (open daily; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Be sure to check out the spectacular mosaic tiled floor and kelp forest mural as you make your way to the outside deck to take in the view.
Find a unique souvenir at the museum store and enjoy a delicious meal after your museum visit at one of the dining options close by, including Chuck’s Waterfront Grill, located in the same building as the museum.
Maritime Museum Hours, Admission and Parking
The Maritime Museum is open every day except Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. The museum is closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and the first Friday of August for Fiesta. Check the museum’s calendar before visiting for closures due to special events.
Admission is $8 for adults (age 18-64) and $5 for seniors (65+), youth (age 6-17) and students (with ID). Active military and children under 6 can enjoy the museum free of charge.
The museum is accessible by the Lil’ Toot water taxi which runs between the Harbor and Stearn’s Wharf, and the Downtown Waterfront Electric Shuttle which runs along Cabrillo Blvd. and up State St. Parking is also available on the east side of the museum or along Shoreline Drive.