Do you have kids who love animals or you’re an animal lover yourself? In this video, I’m going to share seven family-friendly places in Santa Clarita where you can go and see some animals. We’ll explore everything from birds and apes to starfish and sharks so you can plan your animal activities.


Placerita Canyon Nature Center

Our first stop is the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, a great spot to bring the kids. Outside in the courtyard are cages with birds in them, featuring hawks, ravens, and more local species. A docent is there with a hawk that sits on his arm, available to answer any questions about these magnificent animals.

Go inside to find all kinds of reptiles, from venomous snakes to lizards. There’s also a taxidermy exhibit as well that features animals from the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding mountains. You’ll find information on little plaques around the Center to learn more. Make sure you also take the kids out for a hike on one of the great trails in the area.

Gibbons Conservation Center

The next area where you can see animals in Santa Clarita is the Gibbons Conservation Center. Gibbons are small apes that include a handful of different types. The Conservation Center is a nonprofit organization that offers tours of the facilities, allowing you to see these animals up close.

Unlike the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, you can’t just walk in. Be sure to book an appointment, which costs just $17 for adults and $7 for kids. It’s a cool experience to see all the gibbons and learn about their habits and behaviors.  

Depending on the weather, tours are one to two hours long. The tour that’s held first thing in the morning at dawn is a special experience. The monkeys are waking up and you get to hear them start singing. I highly recommend checking out the Gibbons Conversation Center if you've never been.

Gilchrist Farm

Another place that kids love is Gilchrist Farm, which features an amazing petting zoo area for the kids. They can go in and pet the animals at an entry price of just $5. This will get you a basic farm tour where see and interact with all the barnyard residents.

In addition, Gilchrist Farm offers horseback riding and pony rides at four different levels. Depending on how old the kids are, some are hooked up to a small circle that goes around. Older kids can be led by hand or ride on their own. It’s a great option for kids—and adults—of all ages.

Gilchrist Farm also hosts a variety of festivals, including a Halloween Festival that opens up on October 1. For the entire month, there are all kinds of autumn activities at a variety. Entrance is free, while price points vary depending on the activity you want to participate in. You can visit their website to get all of the details and plan your trip.

William S. Hart Park And Bridgeport Shopping Center

The next spot to check out is the William S. Hart Park, which I’ve talked about in other videos. They also have a really cool petting zoo that’s free to the public. You can go in and pet the animals and feed them for a few coins, or take a hike to see some of the park’s bison population.

The next one might seem a little silly, but it’s a free way to get up close with some animals. Located right across the street from the Bridgeport shopping center is a neighborhood with a manmade lake in it. You’ll find it at the corner of Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway. In the pond, you’ll find ducks and geese that are tons of fun to visit.

The geese and ducks sometimes cross the street, so you’ll notice signs up on the road to caution drivers. I drive by that area at least twice a day to and from the office, so please be careful. After all, the ducks and geese don’t know how to use the crosswalk or look both ways.

There are also little machines that provide food for the ducks, which only cost a quarter or two. So get some feed and watch the pond animals enjoy a snack; your kids will love it.

The Newhall Aquarium

Albeit small, we do have an aquarium here in Santa Clarita: the Newhall Aquarium. A lot of people don't even know it exists; to be honest with you, I didn't either until not that long ago. At the aquarium, kids can reach in and touch starfish along with some of the different types of underwater plants.

There's also a shark you can feed, though not everyone gets to because the shark can only eat so much a day. It costs a minimum of a $5 donation to get into the aquarium, which kids are sure to love.

The Gentle Barn

Last but not least is The Gentle Barn, a barnyard that has rescued abused animals like cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, and more. This nonprofit organization asks for a $20 donation for adults and $12 for kids to get in.

The Gentle Barn offers different types of events as well. During the fall, they have hay rides and other fall festivities. With over 200 animals there, your kids will have no shortage of something fun to see and do.

An Animal Lover’s Paradise

If you and your kids love animals, I hope you enjoyed these ideas of things to do in Santa Clarita where you can some animals. If you have any questions about these or other local activities, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to connect with you.

If you’re thinking about moving to Santa Clarita and aren't sure what area you want to be in, make sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of my show. On this channel, we feature information on areas all over Santa Clarita, from neighborhoods to nightlife and everything in between. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!