Santa Barbara Zoo Receives First Outdoor Preschool License in California

Santa Barbara Zoo Receives First Outdoor Preschool License in California title=
Santa Barbara Zoo Receives First Outdoor Preschool License in California
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By the Santa Barbara Zoo

Over the past two years while so many parents navigated new challenges surrounding remote learning due to Covid, the Santa Barbara Zoo expanded its existing Outdoor Education programs, and launched Early Explorers Preschool, an early education program for children age 3 to 5. After two successful years, the Santa Barbara Zoo is pleased to announce the Early Explorers program has received its official license from the State of California, and is the very first licensed outdoor preschool in California, providing one of the most unique educational experiences available.

"We are really proud of what we’ve created with our Early Explorers preschool, which offers a one-of-a-kind preschool experience for children that is rich with hands-on learning, provides kinder readiness, and most importantly is at the Zoo!” shared J.J. McLeod, Director of Education at the Santa Barbara Zoo. “Children are surrounded by wildlife that they get to learn about, visit regularly, and develop a natural appreciation for their conservation. Where else do you get to hear the roar of a lion while you’re at school?" 

This play-based, early education program focuses on teaching through rich experiences. Early Explorers will learn to have a deep appreciation for the natural world through gardening, outdoor play, and exploration. With a student-teacher ratio of 6:1, students are grouped together ages 3-5 to enhance the development of both academic and social skills. Zoo walks, sustainability and garden education, art, and Zoo Train rides are incorporated into the week. Participants must be a Santa Barbara Zoo Member to enroll in Early Explorers.

Registration is now open for preschool at the Zoo. T-shirt included with registration. This program is for children ages 3–5. Schedule options vary from full-time to part-time, and more. For full details and to register, click here.

About the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9 am for members and 9:30 am for general admission until 5 pm with select seasonal extended days open until 7 pm; general admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. Visit

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Sun Aug 17, 2022 09:49 AM
Santa Barbara Zoo Receives First Outdoor Preschool License in California

A simple means to protect and sustain eco systems is to immerse yourself in nature, observe, she is by far the best teacher.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Driven by our mission to conserve native plants and habitats, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden uses its 78 acres (31 hectares) to showcase the state’s diversity and biological wealth to the public. Just a stone’s throw from downtown Santa Barbara, our five miles (8 kilometers) of meandering trails, historical landmarks, working labs, and more than 1,000 species of California’s native plants on display offer our guests plenty to explore all year long.

@a-1660698558 What you fail to recognize, Zoo animals are caged in unnatural small areas. there is no intrinsic experience between the animal and the ecosystem. On the other hand, at the Botanic Garden, the ecosystem allows for animals to come and go freely, feed, stay and breed...It's a great way to learn by simple observation how nature works in a symbiotic manner. Everything has a purpose, from the microoranisims in the soil, to the insects that decompose, to the insects that pollinate, to the plants that offer food, the fungi in the forest, to the trees that shelter and provide shade retaining moisture and absorbing C02.

Trapping Animals in small spaces for their entire life is in not the correct means to teach young children how to protect animals and the environment. It's cruel.

Sun Aug 16, 2022 11:56 AM
Santa Barbara Zoo Receives First Outdoor Preschool License in California

Moms of all people know what happens to a child who does not get out to play. Moms would consider it cruel if any parent never let their child leave the house, so why is it okay for the babies born in the zoos?...never leaving and experiencing life in nature...Moms instead protect the beautiful environment these precious animal "babies and moms" "need" to grow and nuture...

a-1660698558 Aug 16, 2022 06:09 PM
Santa Barbara Zoo Receives First Outdoor Preschool License in California

I understand your argument. It is also true that people love seeing animals in person. We do have excellent videos of animals in their natural environments now. Can we get people to appreciate animals with video alone? Does seeing an actual giraffe make us more likely to connect with nature, and support conservation efforts?

Sun Aug 16, 2022 11:36 AM
Santa Barbara Zoo Receives First Outdoor Preschool License in California

Anyone who believes these animals are happy, commit yourself to one of the exhibits for life, never ever ever leaving , only when you pass...then let us know how happy you are...people freaked out during lockdown... I would never let my children participate, instead I will bring to nature to observe and protect. I don't need to cage something to care and protect it!

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