Return of Stearns Wharf icon one of several Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History events
On Saturday, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center on Stearns Wharf was reopened. The center will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The reopening comes after six months of work, including an infrastructure upgrade.
“It went really well. We had a members preview day on Friday, and then opened to the public Saturday. Everyone was really happy we were reopening. Everything looked clean and beautiful. Downstairs we have hands-on exhibits such as touch pools. …We wanted to make sure we opened before spring break, because that is when tourist season starts at the end of March,” Briana Sapp, Director of Marketing and Communications, told the News-Press.
The upstairs exhibit, “Dive In: Our Changing Channel” has also been revamped. The exhibit features animals native to the Santa Barbara Channel, and includes the giant Pacific seahorses who have migrated up from Baja and San Diego due to warming waters, Ms. Sapp explained.
“There are several different habitats in the Santa Barbara Channel, including a kelp forest. The exhibit shows a variety of different habitats in a regional space, it is a biodiversity hot-spot and a marine protected area,” said Ms. Sapp.
The exhibit also features moon jellies (a type of jellyfish), a California moray eel and a two-spot octopus.
There is also a temporary exhibit called “What’s In Our Drawers,” located in the museum’s Maximus Gallery for a look behind the scenes at scientists’ work and their favorite items from our collections.
“It is one of the first exhibits we have done featuring curators and their favorite items from our collections. The exhibit profiles curators who are opening their collection drawers to show favorite specimens and tell stories about the specimens,” said Ms. Sapp. The exhibit closes on March 31 and is included in admission.
The Museum of Natural History also hosted it’s Star Party on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Observatory. The observatory opened its roof, sharing a remarkable view of the wonders of the night sky through the observatory’s state-of-the-art 20-inch telescope.
“It was amazing. We had about twice as many people as we normally do. We had about 100-150 attendees. We opened up the dome of the observatory where we have three telescopes. It was a really clear night, great for stargazing,” said Ms. Sapp. The Museum astronomy staff and members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit enjoyed an evening of craters on the Moon, nebulas, galaxies and other celestial wonders.
Tonight from 6:30-7:30 p.m., the museum will host a zoom call with Frédérique Lavoipierre, the former Director of Education, for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Ms. Lavoipierre is also the author of Garden Allies. Ms. Laviopierre will bring biological conservation and its benefits to life through photography, beautiful illustrations, and anecdotes from a decade of close observation.
Ms. Lavoipierre will give a pollinator’s-eye view into life throughout your garden, from the organisms in the soil to predators and parasites, common garden insects, spiders, vertebrates, and more. She will show you how to discover your natural allies in nature as revealed in her newly published book Garden Allies.
Register for the zoom call at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_k4e3XL_SSySdD4PQ0lpuLg.