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New exhibit sheds light on what's underwater in the Santa Barbara Channel

Two-spot Octopus
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
Two-spot Octopus

Have you ever looked out at the Santa Barbara Channel, and wondered what’s beneath the surface of the water?

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center on Stearns Wharf is reopening after six months of renovations.

The refreshed center includes a new exhibit, which, Director of Exhibits Frank Hein told KCLU, highlights the underwater world of the Santa Barbara Channel.

"Anybody can walk out on the coast and look out to the ocean and there's a lot to see. But very few of us get the chance to go below the surface.

"This exhibit aims to fix that," said Hein.

He told KCLU, it gives visitors the chance to see what's "unique and amazing" below the surface.

The reinterpreted upstairs space, titled Dive In: Our Changing Channel, guides visitors through the underwater world of the Santa Barbara Channel while highlighting its unique marine residents and diverse habitats, said Hein.

Upstairs, guests will encounter animals like Moon Jellies, a Two-spot Octopus, a California Moray, and Giant Pacific Seahorses - in an exhibit now enriched with more information about the ecology of kelp forests, rocky reefs, and seagrass meadows.

Giant Pacific Seahorse
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
Giant Pacific Seahorse

The new interpretation emphasizes how the geography of the coast and channel affects relationships between animals, habitats, and humans.

Guests can even model the depths of the channel using an interactive augmented reality sandbox.

Luke Swetland, President & CEO of the Museum and Sea Center notes, “In the face of both human and climate change impacts such as sea level rise, ocean warming, and acidification, the mission of the Sea Center to promote better understanding and appreciation of the Santa Barbara Channel’s rich but fragile diversity has never been more critical.”

Guests planning a visit can check and for more information.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.