Ty Warner Sea Center, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara , California
Tel: 805 962 2526
Concierge.com's insider take:
A cross between an aquarium and a laboratory, the Sea Center, run by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, makes it possible to play marine scientist for a day. Volunteer staff show how to collect water and sea-life samples from the ocean's bottom (they lower oceanographic equipment into the sea through a trapdoor in the floor). You'll also learn to safely handle little sea creatures like starfish, sea urchins, and even miniature sharks in a special tank with wave action that mimics the ebb and flow of the tide.
Open daily 10 am to 5 pm.