This restful refuge offers a koi pond, babbling brooks, a gazebo, picnic areas, nature trails and a large botanical collection. In one jungle-like area, visitors can activate recordings of short talks on nearby plants.
1212 Mission Canyon Road; (805) 682-4726, www.santabarbarabotanicgarden.org.
The drive to get here is almost as nice as walking the 78-acre garden in the hills. It's dedicated to California species, so the setting for its redwoods faintly echoes Avenue of the Giants. It's quiet up here, save for the small stream burbling through the giants' shadows and the wind rustling leather leaf ferns. Various one-hour docent-led walks are offered, or you can wander at will. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. November to February, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March to October. $8 adults, $6 ages 60 and older and 13 to 17, $4 children 2 to 12. (Show your AAA card for a discount.)
LAPS AT LOS BAÑOS DEL MAR POOL
401 Shoreline Drive; (805) 966-6110.
When you're feeling the effects of gorging yourself at Santa Barbara eateries or your bar crawl along State Street, slip into a bathing suit and swim some laps in this city-run public pool. Los Baños Pool is heated and has seven 50-meter lanes, lockers and showers. Lifeguards are on duty during all public hours. Open 7:30 to 9 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday; 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays; and noon to 2 p.m. holidays. $5 ($4 with resident discount card). Day-use lockers are provided; bring your own lock.
SANTA BARBARA MARITIME MUSEUM
113 Harbor Way, Suite 190; (805) 962-8404, www.sbmm.org.
Children will enjoy a visit to this museum at Santa Barbara's harbor. Exhibits show the development of seafaring vessels around Santa Barbara, from handmade Chumash canoes to scale models of modern warships. There is even a working submarine periscope to check out the action in the harbor, plus other hands-on displays. Upstairs, the museum shows films with maritime themes in its 100-seat high-definition theater built in the shape of a boat hull. $7 adults, $4 children ages 6 to 17, $2 children 1 to 5, infants admitted free. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during summer, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. Closed Wednesdays.