Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
It’s only fitting that the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (113 Harbor Way, 805/962-8404, www.sbmm.org, Thurs.–Tues. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., until 6 p.m. Memorial Day–Labor Day, adults $7, children/seniors $4, free for military personnel in uniform) sits right on the working harbor. It began as a Government Works Project during the Depression.
For more than 50 years, the station was used by the U.S. Navy as a training facility. After being sold back to the city of Santa Barbara in 1995, construction began on the museum, which opened in 2000.
Over a dozen different exhibits show off the history of the California coast’s relationship to the high seas. The Munger Theater screens high- definition educational films each day. The Children’s Area features hands-on exhibits that make learning about the sea lots of fun for younger visitors.
Many other galleries tell the maritime history of California, beginning with the local Chumash Native Americans, running through the whaling and fur-hunting eras, up through the modern oil drilling and commercial fishing industries. You can also learn a bit about sailing and yachting, safety on the Pacific, and how you can help preserve the ocean’s environment.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition