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The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is the oldest museum in Santa Barbara, California. The museum?s history traces back to 1876, when amateur and professional scientists establish the Santa Barbara Natural History Society. The group had a small museum 1226 State Street. In 1916, William Leon Dawson, a noted ornithologist from Ohio, joined the group and established the Museum of Comparative Oology. The Board of Directors decided to broaden their horizons and expanded Dawson?s museum to include other areas of natural history. Thus, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History was born.

The museum?s twelve acres is home to world-renowned dioramas of birds, mammals, insects, marine life, fossils, and habitats from southern California. In the Maximus Art Gallery, visitors are sure to appreciate the beauty of nature and its confluences with science and history. The Museum Library is certain to delight book lovers with its vast collection, especially the children?s collection.

The Ty Warner Sea Center, owned and operated by the museum, features interactive exhibits and gives visitors the chance to work like scientists. A theater showcases the Santa Barbara Channel. Visitors can also have a hands-on encounter with sea creatures, and there is even a shark touch pool where visitors can touch and pet live sharks.

In the Gladwin Planetarium, visitors are treated to a virtual flight through the stars, thanks to the Digistar 3 SP digital projection system built in the structure. The theater?s new surround sound system and recently-installed theater-style seats provide additional flair to the experience.
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