Took the kids up to Santa Barbara for a couple days. Left a little too late Friday afternoon and got caught in traffic going through Los Angeles (not fun).
Spent a few hours at the Santa Barbara Zoo on Saturday. The Zoo is just off the main beach area (you could walk there from the beach), is somewhat small, but very well kept. A fair portion of the zoo was “under construction” at this time. Well worth the time. One thing of note - there are a number of picnic areas in the zoo, including one overlooking the ocean.
Went up the coast a bit to a “dude” ranch and took the kids horseback riding. My 7-year-old daughter has had riding lessons and was quite sure of herself. Rode up into the hills (typical California coastal scrub). Had a nice view of the Channel Islands. The 1.5 hour trip was just about the right length, as by the time you get back, there are tired muscles in unfamiliar places.
Spent the last part of the afternoon in a rather interesting park (good place to lose your kids, for a little while). Headed back home just after sunset.
Got very quiet in the car on the way back, with all three kids asleep for a time.