Museum of Natural History‘s Bird Habitat Hall features a California condors diorama. (Courtesy photo)
Giant Pacific seahorse is now part of the Jellies & Friends exhibit at the Sea Center.

Giant Pacific seahorse is now part of the Jellies & Friends exhibit at the Sea Center.
(Courtesy photo)

Following updated health orders for Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Sea Center plan to reopen their indoor exhibits to the public starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. The indoor exhibits have been closed since mid-March, while outdoor exhibits reopened over the summer and remain open.

The Museum of Natural History and Sea Center have implemented comprehensive health and safety protocols to ensure the safest experience possible for guests and staff.

Safety measures include advanced reservations for the museum to limit the number of visitors at one time; one-way flow of movement from the entrance to exit to allow for social distancing and crowd control; hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations throughout; and increased cleaning of all public areas, especially high-touch surfaces.

Masks properly covering the nose and mouth are required for everyone age three years and older. Attendance will be limited to 25% of capacity per health order.

Reopened indoor spaces at the museum include Mammal Hall, Bird Hall, Santa Barbara Gallery, Chumash Life, Maximus Gallery, Earth and Marine Sciences.

The Curiosity Lab, Gem & Minerals, and Gladwin Planetarium will remain closed until mid-November. The museum library will be open to researchers by appointment.

During its closure, the Sea Center refreshed its Jellies & Friends exhibit featuring animals found in the Santa Barbara Channel to include new giant Pacific seahorse and coral reef habitats. Updated exhibit interpretation highlights the channel’s unique biodiversity and explores climate change impacts such as ocean warming and acidification.

“We are delighted to welcome visitors safely back inside at the museum and Sea Center, both to experience their favorite exhibits and dioramas, and to enjoy the new windows into the natural world we have added,” said Luke J. Swetland, president/CEO.

“Our community’s longing and need for trusted nature-based science education and engagement has only grown stronger in the last few months, so please visit us as soon as you can, and relish in the doorway we provide to the wonders of our natural world,” he said.

Museum of Natural History and Sea Center hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Advanced reservations are required for the museum via Tickets for the Sea Center will be available onsite only, not online.

For more information, visit