SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — As the weather warms up, the pier has become a popular place to visit once again in Santa Barbara.
On Saturday afternoon, a steady stream of cars rolled onto Stearns Wharf.
After a two-month closure, the Sea Center of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History splashed back open.
“Stearns Wharf has suffered like many businesses and we are a big part of this area,” Sea Center director Richard Smalldon said. “We’re really happy to bring our energy back to the wharf.”
The aquarium had been closed intermittently due to ongoing state restrictions.
At this moment, the museum is entirely outdoors while only allowing one group per exhibit.
Yet, it’s bringing back foot traffic to an area previously hit hard by the pandemic.
Cameron Porter came to visit with his two daughters and was thrilled to see local business booming.
“It’s actually really good to see,” he said. “It’s great for all of our local businesses that definitely need support right now.”
“It’s really great because it feels like the revitalized energy is in the air,” Smalldon said.
While indoor dining is still prohibited per the current health officer order, it hasn't stopped hungry customers from visiting Longboard's Grill.
“Over the past few weekends it’s been really busy,” Longboard's Grill manager Elisa Miller said. “The weather has been really nice, so it brings a lot of people out onto the beach and out onto the pier.”
High atop the ocean, Colleen Catania and her family visiting from Redlands had some fun in the sun.
“I love it because it’s not super crowded,” she said. “It feels safe, you’re outside and everyone is wearing their masks.”
Tasting some treats at the Great Pacific Ice Cream Company, Porter also enjoyed people watching.
“Nothing beats being out and about and hanging out with family,” he concluded.
Every Saturday and Sunday, it’s been a common sight to see almost all restaurants packed on the pier.