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It took 25 years and $25 million but the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (MOXI) has finally opened its doors in Santa Barbara. The 17,000-square-foot, three-floor museum is filled with interactive experiences for kids and adults alike. Let’s take a look inside.

Discover and play

MOXI is organized around seven themes, or “tracks,” relating to science, technology, engineering, arts and math. But it is bright and engaging and designed to spark the imagination -- it feels like play, but you do learn.

The ground floor houses the Innovation Workshop, a “makerspace” where kids can imagine, design and test their ideas using both low and high tech tools -- from Popsicle sticks to a 3-D printer.

Nearby, you step inside a 24-foot-long guitar to discover how instruments make sounds and into the Foley Studios to create sound effects for popular film clips, just like Hollywood pros.

An interior courtyard soars up to a glass ceiling three stories overhead. You’ll see visitors peering down as you explore hands on exhibits about the forces of nature, like gravity and magnetism.

Upstairs, build and test own race car, construct a roller coaster for marbles and discover how light, color and shadows are interconnected in both science and art. Changing exhibits of new media arts and technology are on view; currently, it’s a large-scale model of an atom.

On the roof’s Sky Garden, it’s all about water and fluid dynamics, including a giant Archimedes screw (an ancient device used to move water). A viewing tower offers five different scopes, including a heat-sensing thermal imaging lens, to spy on the nearby beach, train station and Funk Zone.

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MOXI, at 125 State St., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for kids aged 3 to 12 and free for kids 2 and under. Get $1 off if you take the train or the bus to get there. Information and tickets are at

While in town ...

Take in a delightful opera written for children and adults, “The Cunning Little Vixen,” performed by Opera Santa Barbara on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Yes, there are fox cubs, and also dancing dragonflies, talking frogs and singing hens and rooster. It’s performed in English, with supertitles to help you follow the action on this moonlit night in a Czech forest. The music is enchanting. Tickets start at $29 for adults, and are $14 for kids. (899-2222,

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The farce “A Flea in her Ear,” produced by the Theatre Group at Santa Barbara City College, is more adult in nature. It concerns a wife who suspects her husband is cheating, so sets a trap for him at the Frisky Puss Hotel. Hilarity ensues in this witty and risqué adaption of Feydeau’s 1907 play by contemporary playwright David Ives (“Venus in Fur”), who sets it in the 1950s. Performances are through March 18 at Garvin Theatre. For details, visit

Julia McHugh can be reached at