Summer:”Nights” at the S.B. Museum of Art
“Nights” at the SBMA is an extremely popular social scene. If you want to have a taste of the SB scene, arrive early on Thursday evening and check out the most recent exhibition, have a drink, listen to some live music, and try out an interactive art stations while tasting local food and wine.
How to get there
Easy to find. North 101, take Carrillo Exit, turn Right (South 101, Left) and take a Left on State St. Drive a couple blocks to Anapamu St. and you’ll see the SBMA on your right. Turn right and another right on Anacapa. There’s a parking garage on your right. “Nights” usually takes place on the third Thursday of the month during May through September from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Call the museum to be certain: 805.884.6414
Summer: Big Dogs Canine Festival
A parade for pet owners who love to spoil their dogs. This parade is an amusing sight – hundreds of dog dressed up in costumes, trotting down State St. and ending up at the beach with live music, food, and pet-related booths. Whether or not you’re a dog lover, you’re sure to get a good chuckle out of this one. (And you know, with all the dogs, there is remarkably little barking!)
How to get there
North 101, take Carrillo Exit, turn Right (South 101, Left) and take a Left on State St. Park anywhere around State St. and walk down. Historically, the parade has started at 9:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of June. But, to be sure, check out the sponsor’s website: www.bigdogs.com and click the parade link.
FALL: S.B. BOOK AND AUTHOR FESTIVAL
Normally taking place at the end of September, this annual festival has become a busy one. It was created by a variety of book lovers from writers and librarians, to journalists, booksellers, and teachers. Events will include panels of authors discussing a variety of topics including family readings, poetry readings, mysteries, media writing and Speaking of Stories. For all the details visit their website at www.sbbookfestival.org.
FALL: S.B. HARBOR & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Timed to coincide with the opening of commercial lobster season (October 4th), this annual event showcases a variety of regional seafood specialties, along with cooking demonstrations, interactive maritime education, children’s activities, boat rides, live music, a tall-ship visit and much more. It’s free and goes all day at the Santa Barbara Harbor. Afterwards you can check out the breakwater, walk along the beach, and visit the shops and event on the pier. Call (805) 897-1962 for more information about the festival.
How to get there
Easy to find. North 101, take Bath St. Exit and turn left at the first light. At the next light, take another left and drive under the freeway. Go straight to the end of the road, toward the beach, and turn right at the light. At the first light, the harbor will be on your left. For South 101, take Castillo St. exit and turn right. Go straight to the end of the road, toward the beach, and turn right at the light. At the first light, the harbor will be on your left.
WINTER: S.B. INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Admitedly, this is a fairly well-known event, but it’s grown into such a local hit over the last two decades, we thought it ought to be included. At this festival you can Hollywood stars such as Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Naomi Watts, James Cameron, and George Clooney, as well as the hottest Amercian and International movies. But what’s great, from a local angle, are the films and documentaries by local filmmakers. Typically, this festival last nine days. somewhere between the end of January and the begining of February. The films are shown all over town, so you’ll need one of SBIFF’s maps to get around. Vist them at www.sbfilmfestival.org to get the most current information.
WINTER: FOLK & TRIBAL ARTS MARKETPLACE
Described as “the best and largest folk art show on California’s Central Coast,” Santa Barbara’s Folk and Tribal Arts Marketplace features adventurous dealers who have travel the world to sell their unique art and wares. The event includes tantalizing ethnic food and international music and dance, all at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
Afterwards you can stroll around the Santa Barbara Mission, and check out the adobe ruins across the street behind the mission rose garden. Call the mueum for the dates. It usually happens in December. 805.682.4711
How to get there
Take U.S. North 101 to the Mission Street exit. Turn right, towards the hills, (Left if from South 101) at the offramp stop light. Proceed on Mission to Santa Barbara Street. Turn left on Santa Barbara Street, proceed two blocks to the first stop sign at Los Olivos. Turn right on Los Olivos, stay to the left at the “Y”–you will cross a stone bridge. Turn left at the second street after the bridge; this is Las Encinas. Turn left at the stop sign (Puesta del Sol Road) and proceed to the first parking lot driveway and turn right. (See the map)
SPRING: BUTTERFLIES ALIVE!
Here’s a chance to see more different species of butterflies than you thought existed! In a contained exhibit at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, you can watch hundred of butterflies fluttering about right before your eyes. Take a look at the photos below; these are but a few of the species at the exhibit.
How to get there
The SB Natural History Museum is very near the SB Mission. From North 101, exit Mission St., turn Right (South 101, Left), follow the street until the end at Laguna St. Left and then Right at E. Los Olivos St. You’ll pass the S.B. Mission. Turn left at the second street after the bridge; this is Las Encinas. Turn left at the stop sign (Puesta del Sol Road)and proceed to the first parking lot driveway and turn right. In the past this event has begun in May and continued for a few months. Visit www.sbnature.org for more information, or call the museum at 805.682.4711
SUMMERS OLSTICE PARADE
It is one of the biggest events of the year and a wonderful way to kick off the summer. There are lots of kids in the
parade and lots of kids lined up along the route so it tends to be a no-brainer for “family fun.”
There are lots of things to do all around Fiesta, many of which are great for kids. The File de Ninos, or the Children’s Parade, is particularly wonderful.
GOLETA LEMON FESTIVAL
This Festival is a great deal of fun and has lots of things to do not related to lemons.
SANTA BARBARA FAIR & EXPO
This is a five day event that showcases much of the diversity of Santa Barbara county ranging from agriculture to music. There is also a carnival with rides and animal exhibits.
This tends to be a bit commercial, however, the event has some fun things for families. If you are active in environmental issues, the Whale Festival has some nice educational projects.
SANTA BARBARA MARITIME
This small museum is packed with “real stuff” that kids love. It is located in the harbor, so you have the added benefit of “real boats” and a great view of the water and the mountains. It’s one of those hidden Santa Barbara treasures that is easy to overlook but it would be a real shame to miss.
SANTA BARBARA OF ART
On weekends there are usually special talks and tours for families. The museum is small enough not to overwhelm youngsters and large enough to keep adults engaged.
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
One of the best museums in town for families not just because it’s interesting – because it is that – but because they have lots of events such as live animal exhibits, storytellers, and the astronomical unit. They do a good job of integrating Chumash history into their events, as well.
THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS
This is a must see. This zoo is consistently ranked as one of the best small zoos in the country. It has a park setting with a large central lawn for picnics and playing. The animals are well kept and have plenty of room to roam.