Los Angeles Times

A WALK ON THE FUN SIDE

- BY SHARON BOORSTIN

>>> It was too cold to take our grandsons to the beach in Santa Barbara, but my husband, Paul, and I found lots to delight them. From our West Beach hotel we walked to Stearns Wharf for kite flying; to the bike path for a pedal-a-thon in a surrey; to the harbor for yacht fantasies; to the Funk Zone for great eats; and to MOXI for mind-blowing interactiv­e experience­s. No driving; no whining; no sunburn — the ultimate grandparen­ts/grandkids vacation. The two-night tab: $560 for the room; $275 for meals; $100 for museums and surrey rental.

THE BED The Mason Beach Inn is one of a cluster of spruced-up vintage hotel/motels in a serene neighborho­od blocks from the sand. Our room, with two queen beds, was comfortabl­e; the staff was friendly; and it was hard to keep the boys out of the pool. In the morning, the small lobby was packed with guests taking advantage of the compliment­ary breakfast of yogurt, cereal and pastries. Our second morning we walked to Helena Avenue Bakery, a laid-back local favorite with superstick­y buns and a greeneggs-and-ham sandwich.

THE MEAL Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant has been a dining mainstay on Santa Barbara Harbor for more than 30 years. You can’t beat the view, the friendly vibe and the fresh seafood. I was happy with a crab and shrimp Louie, and the boys inhaled their ahi poke. Dinner the next night was at Lucky Penny in the Funk Zone. Our grandsons gave up counting the 150,000-plus pennies embedded in the facade when the wood-fired pizza came. The 5-year-old took one bite, deemed it “amazing” and devoured four slices. Paul was in pig heaven with a brioche sandwich stuffed with bacon-fatcooked shredded chicken and bacon marmalade.

THE FIND MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploratio­n + Innovation, opened in 2017 in a striking building near the beach that playfully evokes a sandcastle. The museum has more than 70 interactiv­e exhibits that engage kids and adults while teaching STEAM concepts — science, technology, engineerin­g, arts and math. Our grandsons had a blast building and racing race cars, playing with water in what looked like a Rube Goldberg contraptio­n, and running in circles to speed up a big drum powered by their heartbeats. After three hours, they finally got hungry. That didn’t stop them from visiting the Innovation Workshop on the way out to make battery-operated souvenir light-up pins.

THE LESSON LEARNED The boys were over the moon about the cuttingedg­e, 18,000-square-foot MOXI. When we stopped by the 19-year-old Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, which occupies a mere 8,000 square feet in the harbor’s old Naval Reserve Center, we feared they’d roll their eyes. Instead they were fascinated by the interactiv­e exhibits that challenged them to pilot a ship and land a fish. A definite catch.

 ?? Photograph­s by Paul Boorstin ?? A GIANT guitar is part of an interactiv­e exhibit teaching kids about music and sound at MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploratio­n + Innovation, on State Street.
Photograph­s by Paul Boorstin A GIANT guitar is part of an interactiv­e exhibit teaching kids about music and sound at MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploratio­n + Innovation, on State Street.
 ??  ?? THE CABRILLO Boulevard bike path parallels the beach and is a popular place for pedaling a four-wheel surrey. The rentals are fun for kids and grownups.
THE CABRILLO Boulevard bike path parallels the beach and is a popular place for pedaling a four-wheel surrey. The rentals are fun for kids and grownups.
 ??  ?? LUCKY PENNY’S pizza in the Funk Zone.
LUCKY PENNY’S pizza in the Funk Zone.
 ??  ?? A SHRIMP and crab Louie at Brophy Bros.
A SHRIMP and crab Louie at Brophy Bros.

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