Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
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-Adult Programs
-Family Programs
-Nature Adventures
Camps & Classes
-Teen Programs
-Nature Education
-Nature Collection Specimen Lending Library
-School Field Trips

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Since the Museum’s founding in 1916, education has been central to its mission. Our diverse array of education programs are designed to foster understanding and appreciation of our rich natural and cultural heritage, promote scientific literacy, and inspire a passion for learning.

Adult & Family Programs
Throughout the year, the Museum offers an exciting variety of adult programs designed to encourage understanding and appreciation of the many facets of our natural world. Lectures and films, classes and workshops, and local and regional field trips provide opportunities to experience new ideas, develop new skills, meet active adults with similar interests, and learn from experts.

The Museum also offers a wonderful roster of family programs that create opportunities for parents and children of all ages to have fun learning together.

  • For more specific information about upcoming adult and family programs, please visit our Calendar page. You may also contact Stefanie Coleman, Community Education Manager, at or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.

NA kidsChildren’s Programs
From Winter, Spring and Summer camps to weekend workshops to weekday classes for your young budding scientist, our Nature Adventures programs offer a wealth of opportunities for children to explore and learn about the world around us. Please visit the Nature Adventures page for program details and registration information.

  • For questions, please contact Ty Chin, Nature Adventures Manager, at or 805-682-4711 ext. 171.

Teen Programs
The Museum’s highly regarded Quasars to Sea Stars teen program educates and employs local teens through a three-year program which focuses on developing scientific knowledge and research skills, as well as important life skills such as public speaking and leadership.

VolunTEENS is a short-term, summer program where youth (8th-12th grade) volunteer and work with the public, learn about the museum, gain community service hours, and explore ways of connecting further with the Museum or Sea Center.

Recruitment takes place every spring for both programs. Students currently in 9th grade attending Santa Barbara School District schools are eligible for Quasars to Sea Stars. Students entering 9th grade through 12th grade are eligible to apply for VolunTEENS.

  • For questions, please contact Kelley App, Teen Programs Manager at or 805-682-4711 ext. 172.


Listening ShellSchool & Teacher Services
For generations, the Museum and the Sea Center have been an important field trip destinations for schoolchildren from as far away as Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo Counties. We offer a variety of school visit experiences from interactive tours to standard-aligned programs which focus on specific topics through inquiry-based lessons. Our programming includes discovery laboratories in our classroom as well as outdoor nature explorations along our creek.

In addition to our school programs, we provide a variety of resources to support classroom learning. Our Nature Collection specimen lending service features a wide array of biology and geology specimens, Chumash artifact reproductions, curriculum kits, books, and other audio-visual materials that can be checked out and used in the classroom. Our affiliated astronomy club, The Astronomical Unit, provides evening guided telescope viewings for schools upon request.

Astronomy Programs
The Museum’s astronomy facilities include the Gladwin Planetarium, Palmer Observatory and Space Lab. With its fully digital star projection system, our planetarium immerses visitors in the wonders of the universe. We offer a rotating roster of exciting live, multimedia planetarium shows, including introductions to the current night sky. Monthly Star Parties at Palmer Observatory are presented by our affiliate support group, the Astronomical Unit. Please visit our Astronomy Programs page for program information and schedules.

  • For questions, please contact Javier Rivera, Astronomy Programs Manager at or 805-682-4711 ext. 173.

Nature Education

Stimulated in part by Richard Louv’s seminal book “Last Child in the Woods,” in 2007 the Museum began a concerted initiative to develop and use the unique outdoor environments surrounding its two campuses as a special educational resource. The Nature Education Department includes outdoor, exploration based programming for school groups & the public, as well as rich engagement spaces such as the Museum Backyard, the Nature Club House, the Curiosity Lab and the seasonal Butterfly Pavilion.

Please visit our Nature Education page for more information about our programs and Nature Education corridors.

  • For questions, please contact Justin Canty, Director of Education at or 805-682-4711 ext. 162

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