Santa Barbara Zoo Re-Opens with Free Admission

Santa Barbara Zoo Re-Opens with Free Admission title=
Santa Barbara Zoo Re-Opens with Free Admission
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Source: Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo will be open again today (Thursday, December 14) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with free admission, parking, and indoor activities in the Discovery Pavilion.

The Zoo had been closed for three days due to effects of the Thomas Fire, and reopened yesterday with this same offer. More than 200 guests enjoyed the inside activities, which continue today. If conditions allow, there will be one more free day on Friday, December 16. Regular admission prices will apply beginning Saturday, December 16. Check the Zoo’s website ( and Facebook page ( for updates.

A bounce house, ride-on animals, seasonal crafts, education stations, face-painting, and holiday movies are on hand in the Discovery Pavilion. Keepers will bring out live animals at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Santa Claus visits at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with an optional lunch available (for a charge). Story Time with Bell the Princess takes place in the adjacent Library at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Activities are free. Children must be accompanied by an adult; no drop-off is available.

Outside at the Zoo, some animals may be on view at their enclosures. Exhibit areas and walkways have been cleaned, but ash may continue to fall and is a health concern. Guests should use their own judgement about spending time outside, check air quality notices from officials, and wear breathing masks designed for smoke (N95), if necessary.

The Ridley Treehouse restaurant and the Zoo Gift Shop are open, with standard prices. The Zoo Train and Climb for Condors rock wall will reopen if conditions allow. The Giraffe Feeding Deck remains closed.

“We had a terrific day inside on Wednesday and offer more free fun today,” says the Zoo’s Director of Marketing Dean Noble. “We are happy to offer relief to moms and dads with kids cooped up inside, as schools are closed.” 

The Zoo closed on Sunday, December 10 and remained closed through Tuesday, December 12. The Zoo is outside the evacuation zone, but began preparations to ensure the safety of the animals and the staff. No evacuations were needed.

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