The Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara lifestyle is one of refined beachside elegance.  Visions of grand luxury homes and real estate properties, fine local wines, pristine beaches and resorts ideal for your next vacation, and incredible natural beauty come to mind, attracting countless visitors and luxury home seekers each year.  Imagine a 30 acre property within walking distance to the glimmering Pacific Ocean, filled with lush botanical gardens, overlooking the Andree Clark Bird Refuge and the Santa Ynez Mountains…does this sound like a dream property?  Welcome to the Santa Barbara Zoo, hailed as one of the most beautiful zoos in the world and the dream home of more than 400 animals from 160 species!

imageThe coastal city of Santa Barbara has a rich and interesting history, and the Santa Barbara Zoo is no exception.  The land that the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on was purchased in the late 1800s by a tea and coffee merchant who rode on horseback from Pasadena to Santa Barbara – and who was so charmed by Santa Barbara’s beauty that he decided to stay!  When he died, his widow graciously allowed a self-policed community of victims of the Great Depression to live on the property – so long as they abided by her rules on order and neatness.  Once she was no longer able to maintain the estate, she donated it to the Santa Barbara Foundation.  When the time came for the Santa Barbara Foundation to decide what to do with the land, they ultimately decided to give back to the community by using the land as the site for the Santa Barbara Zoo, which opened its doors in August 1963.

Today, the Santa Barbara Zoo continues to be a well-loved community establishment.  With animals from every corner of the globe, there is sure to be something for everyone.  In addition to observing the many creatures in residence at the Santa Barbara Zoo, visitors can get take part in activities such as hand-feeding the giraffes and penguins or participate in the Keeper For A Day, Backstage Pass, and Behind-the-Scenes Tour programs to get up close and personal with the zoo’s wildlife.  The Santa Barbara Zoo also provides a number of other great community events such as Zoovies (outdoor movies at the zoo) during the summer, the upcoming Boo At The Zoo, a Halloween themed festival, and the Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash (click here for a complete list of events at the Santa Barbara Zoo).

As people scour the globe searching for their perfect home, the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo already enjoy prime Santa Barbara real estate with an ocean view!  If you’re searching for your dream home in the Santa Barbara area, Sterling Properties is glad to be of service to you - contact us today


Santa Barbara’s Vibrant Community-Driven Art Scene

Along with Santa Barbara’s beautiful luxury real estate opportunities, our scenic oceanside city offers a beautifully rich and active culture of arts and entertainment – and we enjoy it in style.  On the first Thursday of every month, downtown Santa Barbara transforms into a cultural epicenter.  The aptly named “1st Thursday” events provide an in-depth look into the Santa Barbara arts scene in a fun, social environment. 

With its numerous exclusive art gallery openings, artists’ receptions, lectures, special performances,  hands-on activities, and wine tastings highlighting local vintners, there’s no shortage of ways to experience Santa Barbara’s vibrant culture from every angle.  Many of the participating galleries and venues provide free admission, creating an easily accessible and stress-free way to take part in our inspiring arts scene.  In addition, many partnering local retailers and restaurants transform into galleries and venues of their own for the night, hosting the works of local artists, musicians, and performers.  When it comes to Santa Barbara arts and culture, the entire community gets involved in a truly impressive display of appreciation, enrichment, and support. 

imageThis month’s 1st Thursday events included a very important milestone for Santa Barbara’s own Contemporary Arts Forum, a non-profit organization that promotes education, critical awareness, and appreciation of the arts.  Featuring the works of local, regional, and international artists, CAF has grown from a grassroots artist-run operation into a leading organization for contemporary art in Central California.  A special inaugural event at the brand new Hotel Indigo on Santa Barbara’s waterfront appropriately named “Open House” was held to celebrate the opening of a satellite gallery within the sleek, modern luxury lodging venue.  A tour led by CAF’s Executive Director Miki Garcia led attendees through the entire hotel, providing insightful commentary about each piece and the artists behind them. Bold paintings directly on the hotel walls stretch down entire hallways (such as in the photo on the left, a mural by Nathan Hayden), and installation pieces pop out from the walls into 3D space – such as the vertical wall of live plants in the upstairs lounge.  Also in the lounge is a piece by Kirsten Stoltmann that stole the show, an 8 foot long composition made with some 37,000 rhinestones covering the entire surface and forming the words “I AM SO HAPPY”.  This unique business/museum partnership is a testament to Santa Barbara’s commitment to supporting our ever-growing arts community.  Its unique location inside the hotel provides a one-of-a-kind immersive experience that allows visitors and locals alike to experience the creative side of Santa Barbara.  

Another great way to enjoy art in Santa Barbara is to attend the Art Walk held on Sundays since 1966 at the base of Stearns Wharf.  Visitors can stroll along the beachfront sidewalks and view and purchase paintings, sculptures, crafts, and many more varieties of handcrafted artwork.  The informal atmosphere of this event combined with the incredible views of the waterfront with the beach just steps away is a relaxing way to appreciate and support talented local artists.

Santa Barbara is a fantastic destination for an immersive arts and culture experience on both the local and international levels.  Whether you’re treating yourself to an afternoon visiting any of our excellent museums, attending an exclusive gallery soiree, or simply enjoying local art featured in a restaurant or coffee shop, prepare to be wowed by the community-driven abundance of art in all its forms in Santa Barbara!