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There are plenty of good excuses to get outdoors this weekend, especially in Santa Barbara, where several al fresco activities are the draw.

'Roar & Pour' fest

The animals stay out late and the wine flows at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s “Roar & Pour” Wine Festival on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. Stroll through the scenic zoo and sample more than 30 Central Coast wines, enjoy zookeeper talks, laid-back live music and dine on tasty offerings from food trucks. Free giraffe feedings and zoo train rides are part of the deal.

It’s lovely being at the zoo after hours, especially with a glass of wine in your hand. The proceeds help feed and house the zoo's many animal residents. Tickets, which are $60 general admission, are being sold online only at

Lawn bowling

Two pluses for lawn bowling: no gutters and you don’t have to mow the grass. Joking aside, this sport has a lot to recommend it: It’s played outside in casual dress, easy to learn, relatively inexpensive and players tend to be hospitable to newcomers. Why not try it?

Take a free lesson this Saturday at 10 a.m. at MacKenzie Park, hosted by their Lawn Bowls Club. Learn the fundamentals of bowling on grass and enjoy a practice game. There’s no pressure to join. Flat shoes and comfortable clothing are suggested. For ages 18 and older, and includes free pizza. (Corner of State and La Positas streets, 563-2143,

Mallets high

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“Playing polo is like trying to play golf during an earthquake,” said movie star/polo enthusiastic Sylvester Stallone. His father, Frank, was a pro polo player in Italy before he immigrated to the U.S. in the 1940s, and passed his love of the sport down to Sly.

Don’t be intimidated: Polo is not only for the rich and glamorous. It is great fun to watch the highly trained polo ponies and their riders as they charge down field, grass and turf flying in their wake. At half-time, spectators go onto the field to replace these “divots” created by the horses’ hooves.

The Santa Barbara Polo Fields are actually in Carpinteria, and the season starts this Sunday, continuing every Sunday through Oct. 8. Tickets to grandstand seating start at just $10, yummy food is available at the Polo Grill and there’s a full bar for liquid refreshment. A large hat is recommended, as is lots of sunscreen. Get there by 2:30 p.m. to see the Pony Parade, singing of the national anthem and team introductions, before the match starts the 3 p.m. (684-6683,

'One Good Egg'

Elaine Gale’s one-woman show promises to “crack you up ... and crack you open!” This local performer and writer has hatched a poignant story of her journey through life, filled with humor and inspiration. It’s been a hit, with many sold-out shows. The last two performances are Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Center Stage Theater. Tickets are $25 general admission. (963-0408,

Julia McHugh can be reached at