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The Santa Barbara Zoo- Feed Giraffes & Meet Duncan The Dinosaur

Updated on September 11, 2012
The Santa Barbara Zoo offers something magical for everyone.
The Santa Barbara Zoo offers something magical for everyone.

The Santa Barbara Zoo- A Fun Destination For Any Age

The Santa Barbara Zoo, located 90 miles north of Los Angeles, offers 30 acres of beautiful land inhabited by over 500 animals. The average zoo visit lasts about 2.5 hours, but the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the zoo's exciting attractions will turn your visit into an all day event. The Santa Barbara Zoo offers plenty of shade during the hot summer months and the trails are easy to navigate with the little ones. Everyone will find something magical about the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Feeding the giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo is an experience the whole family will remember.
Feeding the giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo is an experience the whole family will remember.

Feed A Giraffe At The Santa Barbara Zoo

There are no words to express the feeling of hand feeding Baringo giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo. For $5 per person, with a zoo membership,or $6 per person, for non-members, you can stand on a platform and hand feed a giraffe. The giraffes will slowly make their way to the platform and wrap their long tongues around the food, sometimes around your entire hand! This unique experience will be remembered for a lifetime. I recommend calling ahead to check on the giraffe feeding schedule or check at the admissions desk upon your arrival to make sure the giraffes will be fed that day. Sometimes the zoo cancels the giraffe feeding depending on the animal's mood.

Duncan The Dinosaur

You have to meet the zoo's newest, and most friendliest resident, Duncan, the adolescent T-Rex. Duncan is the star of the show, How To Train Your Dinosaur, which is currently showing only on the weekends at 12:00 and 3:00 pm. Duncan runs, roars, growls, blinks, snorts and he even poops! The 15 minute show is free with admission and helps visitors understand how the animals receive special care at the zoo. Human hosts and Duncan demonstrate to the crowd how a simple task, like brushing teeth, requires a ton of patience when the teeth are the size of a steak knife! After the show, visitors can give Duncan a hug and take a couple of pictures with this amazing T-Rex.

Note: You may want to explain to younger children how Duncan is controlled by a person. He's basically a giant dinosaur costume. The audience can clearly see the controller's legs as Duncan moves around the stage. This explanation may help reduce your child's fear of the very lovable, and one of a kind, Duncan.

Emmett The Train recently joined the train family at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Emmett The Train recently joined the train family at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Other Great Attractions

Zoo Train

The Santa Barbara Zoo has three Huntington trains that circle around the perimeter of the zoo.

Train Tickets:

-SB Zoo Members: adults & seniors (13+) $3.75, children (2-12) $3.25.

-Non-members: adults & seniors (13+) $4.50, children (2-12) $4.00.

-Children under 2 are free.

Penguin Feeding

Visitors are offered the unique experience of feeding penguins! The zoo is home to 18 Humboldt penguins who enjoy eating fish as you toss them into their pool. You will walk away with new facts about penguins and a new love for these beautiful animals. I recommend checking the feeding schedule at the admissions desk. Tickets are purchased at the penguin exhibit and cost $10 per person.


Check out the barnyard which is free with the cost of admission. You will enjoy learning about farm life and how animals are cared for. You can feed the sheep special pellets which are available for purchase at $2/cup. Be aware, the sheep are aggressive.

Places To Eat

The Santa Barbara Zoo offers two great eating spots:

Ridley-Tree House Restaurant- Sandwiches, salads and a few grilled items. Hot items are served until 4:30 pm. There is a beautiful courtyard right outside the restaurant to relax and enjoy your food. Keep in mind, the lines can get long.

The Wave- Burritos, tacos, snacks and ice-cream. This restaurant has a gorgeous view of the ocean and surrounding mountains.

You can always choose to pack your own food and eat at the picnic bench area, grass area or near the Kallman Family Play Area.

Additional Information


500 NiƱos Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Main Phone: (805) 962-5339
Info Line: (805) 962-6310
Admissions Office: (805) 963-5695

Open every day 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., except 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

Ticket Prices:

Adults 13-64: $14
Children 2-12/Seniors 65+: $10
Children under 2: Free
Parking: $6 (free with SB Zoo Membership)

"Come back soon!"
"Come back soon!"

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