Museum open Weds–Mon, Sea Center on Stearns Wharf open daily; both 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

Museum Backyard & Nature Club House


Located just beyond the Sprague Butterfly Pavilion, the renovated and ADA-accessible Museum Backyard is a nature play area nestled in the oak woodland along Mission Creek. It is open daily during announced Museum hours and free with paid Museum admission.

  • Backyard Creek: Our human-made creek in the woods sets a relaxing and playful scene for guests of all ages. Race our wooden boats or make a splash! The creek water is chemically treated to a public pool standard.
  • Eyes in the Sky Aviary: Home to rehabilitated raptors in Eyes in the Sky, Santa Barbara Audubon Society's key wildlife education program featuring birds of prey that can no longer survive in the wild. You can view the birds in their aviary during the Museum's open hours. Within those hours, Santa Barbara Audubon Society volunteers are present to teach guests about the birds 2:00–4:00 PM. For more information, click here to visit Santa Barbara Audubon's Eyes in the Sky webpage.
  • Nature Club House: Come inside to meet our live snake and insects. Talk with a friendly naturalist about what makes our region unique. Explore our touch table of natural objects. Swap natural objects and earn points for your research in Nature Exchange™ (developed by Science North). ADA-accessible, all-gender restroom available.

    • Nature Exchange

      The Nature Exchange™ (developed by Science North) is like a natural trading center or swap shop. This is the place where you can bring specimens from nature or nature journals to earn points for other natural items from the constantly changing Nature Exchange collection. (Limited to three trades per visit).

      Learn more about how Nature Exchange works. Including what you can and cannot bring in for exchange.

      Can't wait to trade? You can submit a Nature Exchange Research Form from home.

      For more information about Nature Exchange, please email or call 805-682-4711 ext. 169.

  • Boardwalk: A beautiful elevated walkway that winds through forest and creek, making nature accessible to all.
  • BioBuilders Zone: Build and create both shelter and art, letting the shapes and textures of natural materials guide you.
  • Dig Pile: Get your hands dirty exploring our giant dig pile while hunting for critters under stumps and stones.
  • Dry Kitchen: Test your culinary imagination with our natural outdoor play kitchen, suitable for even the littlest chefs.

Want to explore the outdoors more? 

Entry to the Backyard is included with Museum admission. Members are always free.