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Nature Education

-Curiosity Lab
-Nature Exchange
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  Nature Education
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A large majority of children today grow up with little or no direct experience of nature, a disconnection that poses serious problems in the intellectual, social, physical, and psychological development of these children. This widespread disconnect from nature has been coined as “nature deficit disorder”.

The over-riding goal of the Nature Education Department is to reconnect both children and adults to the natural world. The Museum offers a variety of program and exhibits to support this movement, which include:

Outdoor Nature Exploration (ONE) school programs for grades Kindergarten through 5th grade. Students explore and closely observe the various habitats along Mission Creek where science comes to life, right in the Museum's own outdoor corridor, BaseCamp.

To learn more about ONE and other school program offerings, please check out the School and Teacher Services webpage.

Family Nature Days: The Museum offers free admission on the 3rd Sunday of each month between September through May (does not include June through August). This includes all-day access to the Museum's BaseCamp.

Curiosity Lab

The Curiosity Lab is an interactive space for guests to ask questions to a live naturalist, bring in specimens, and connect the natural world to the Museum. The space is consistently changing with new activities and programming, and is run by a staff of naturalists.

Visit the Curiosity Lab webpage for Curiosity Lab updates and activities.


Nature Exchange is an ongoing program in the Curiosity Lab that was originated by Science North and is being offered at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's Curiosity Lab through 2018.

Through Nature Exchange, guests can bring in natural objects* from their personal collections and/or found in nature. Guests then share knowledge about their objects and trade them for points. Points can be spent or saved and ultimately traded in for special objects found in our special trading case found in Curiosity Lab.


Between September 2017 through mid-2018 key areas of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are undergoing an amazing revitalization. This includes the Museum’s highly popular Backyard and Nature Club House which will receive some enhancements and new exploratory program spaces.

A new outdoor nature engagement area, BaseCamp will be located on the south side of Mission Creek and will be open during the renovation.

Visit for details on BaseCamp program areas, times of operation and programming.

Nature Collection Specimen Lending Library

The Nature Collection is an educational specimen and materials loan service that offers a wide array of resource materials for the public and educators to use in their classrooms. To learn more and discover membership options, head to the Nature Collection Specimen Lending Library homepage.


RUNS WEEKENDS at BaseCamp (South Side of Mission Creek)

Program runs  from 10:30-11:30AM, no sign-ups required, walk-ins are welcome.

Free with admission


At Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Museum - BaseCamp

Join a Naturalist and dig into the world of bugs, literally! Use tools, magnifiers and ID guides to discover a variety of invertebrates found in the Museum's mulch pile. You can even bring your bug discovery to the Curiosity Lab and look at its details on the big screen connected to our microscope.  


Eyes in the Sky (EITS) has been Santa Barbara Audubon’s (SBAS) key wildlife education program since 2000. It features seven birds of prey that serve as education ambassadors. All were rescued and rehabilitated but, due to permanent disabilities, can no longer survive in the wild. 

EITS raptors will be showcased for public viewing on only Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the Museum renovation.

For more information on Audubon Society and Eyes in the Sky, visit: 




Museum Programs:

Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays 2:00-4:00 PM
Meet Eyes in the Sky Raptors at the Museum Oak Tree (next to Broder Bridge).

(Photo Credits: Red-Tail (Zoe Stevents); Great-Horned Owl (Gabriele Drozdowski); Kestrel (Lois Haymes); Barn Owl (John O'Brien)

Leave No Child Inside: Santa Barbara & Children and Nature Network

The Museum is a part of Leave No Child Inside: Santa Barbara a collaboration of organizations and individuals building a movement to reconnect our kids to nature.

The goal of Leave No Child Inside: Santa Barbara is to reverse the societal trend of the past three decades in which children and youth have become disconnected from direct experience in the outdoors in their everyday lives.

The regional collaborative is part of the larger national Children & Nature Network started by Richard Louv. The Museum is proud to represent our region at the annual Children and Nature Network conference.

To find out more about the Leave No Child Inside: Santa Barbara movement as well as activities and resources for nature exploration in the region, visit

To find out more about the Children & Nature Network, visit

For resources to start your own Family Nature Club, click here


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