Ranch & Coast Magazine

May 2022

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e next morning, we departed our room overlooking East Beach to fuel up at Café Lido, Mar Monte's all-day poolside café and bar adorned with the hotel's signature arches, hand- painted murals, and abundant hanging plants. I opted for the California Omelette (feta, spinach, avocado, mushrooms, tomatoes) and a cold brew coffee, while Isabella polished off her plate of smoked bacon. Bellies full, we set out on foot for our next adventure. Mar Monte is conveniently located a stone's throw from the Santa Barbara Zoo. Home to more than 500 animals, the "zoo- with-a-view" is set on 30 acres near the waterfront. e lush environment features meandering walking paths that snake around Channel Island foxes, bald eagles, California desert tortoises, penguins, white-handed gibbons (known for their distinctive "whooping" sounds), and Asian small-clawed otters, which sent Isabella's "ey're- so-cuuuute" shriek meter skyrocketing. Newly opened in January 2022 is Australian Walkabout, a 15,000-square-foot habitat that transports guests "Down Under" to walk among the wallabies, kangaroos, emus, and native birds. Additional highlights include two C.P. Huntington trains that circle the perimeter of the zoo, ample grassy areas for kids to frolic, and a popular hill covered with artificial grass for sledding and "surfing." sbzoo.org Taking full advantage of a bright, sunny day, we made our way back to Mar Monte's glistening pool for some rest and relaxation. ere, we met a lovely mother and her two daughters vacationing from the Bay Area who were also thoroughly enjoying their getaway to the American Riviera. We concluded the evening with s'mores around the lobby- adjacent firepits before tucking in for the night. On our final day, a short drive to lower State Street landed us at Moxi, e Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, where curious minds of all ages can explore, play, and discover. Spanning three stories, the expansive 17,000-square-foot museum features 70+ hands-on, interactive exhibits including a strummable, grand-scale guitar, a makerspace with 3D printers, and a plethora of interactive experiences that all relate to science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Moxi's rooftop allows kids to create an earth elements-powered symphony with the Weather Orchestra, the Towbes Family Lookout Tower affords a different view of the city through the lenses of five observation scopes, and a walk across the glass Sky Deck provides a unique perspective of the courtyard below. moxi.org No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a visit to Stearns Wharf, the oldest wooden working wharf in California, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. A quick few-blocks walk from the museum and we were among the locals and tourists alike taking in the sea breezes and the shimmering ocean waves. After the obligatory cup of clam chowder at e Harbor Restaurant, we made our way back to the car for the scenic drive home. (If flying is more your thing, Alaska Airlines offers nonstop service between San Diego and Santa Barbara.) stearnswharf.org, harborsb.com As part of Visit Santa Barbara's new promotion, properties throughout the region are offering a third night free when two or more nights are booked. e booking must be made by June 30, 2022 and is valid on travel dates between now and September. e opportunity to catch up with my dear friend Jerome Strack and experience all that Mar Monte has to offer was a true treat, matched only by a moment to catch my breath and reconnect with my daughter — and myself. marmontehotel.com, santabarbaraca.com Costa's Whole Roasted Branzino Up close with an emu at Santa Barbara Zoo Santa Barbara Zoo Moxi, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation ranchandcoast.com @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE MAY 2022 57

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