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Airport Visitors Center

Tim Lawton
Airport Community Education Liaison
Map to the Visitors Center

Driving Directions to the Visitors Center

45 Hartley Place, Santa Barbara, CA 83117

From US 101

  1. Take the Fairview Avenue exit.
  2. Northbound: go straight, over freeway
  3. Southbound: turn right, on Fairview Ave.
  4. Turn RIGHT on Hollister Avenue
  5. Turn LEFT on Hartley Place (the second left turn pocket on Hollister)
  6. Go straight towards Fire Station 8 on Hartley Place

The Visitors Center is across the street from the Fire Station.

Airport Tour Program Guide

Download the SBA Tour Guide

Airport Tours

Airport Tours are free and are booked on a first come, first serve basis. Tours are available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm. To book a tour or obtain more information call (805) 964-7622. Allow at least two weeks advance to book tour. Tours are a free public service by the Santa Barbara Airport and are age appropriate. The Airport Visitors Center meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and is located at 45 Hartley Place off Firestone Road and Hollister Avenue. The Visitors Center features hands-on aviation exhibits for kids of all ages.


The Airport Visitors Center hosts several local flying clubs on a monthly basis. Including the Ninety-Nines, EAA Chapter 527, Santa Barbara Radio Modelers and the Santa Barbara Flying Club. All of these clubs are open to the public. Interested parties can inquire about club dates and times by calling the Visitor's Center at 805.964.7622. Once a year the Visitor's Center hosts 'Future Flyers' a GATE certified class on aviation for area 6th grade students. If you are an accelerated student in math and science and have a love for aviation this class is for you.

Our newest hands-on exhibit is a wind tunnel, where students can fly a radio controlled aircraft in a wind tunnel. This identical exhibit is a copy of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum wind tunnel. It is the first one of its kind built outside the Smithsonian Institute.

The Airport Visitor's Center provides a local resource to teachers seeking curriculum from agencies including FAA, NASA, and the California DOT. Local teachers may contact the center to receive a current listing of relevant teaching materials and curriculums. The Visitor's Center boasts the South Coast's best video collection on aviation history, with over 200 videos!

Visitors Center History

45 Hartley Place has been used previously as the Airport Fire Station. It has housed City Fire Station 8 and County Fire Station 12. The bays that once housed fire trucks now house hands-on exhibits on aviation. The Visitor's Center was originally one room located in the Airport Administration building. It has since grown to two classrooms, an exhibit hall, an office and a kitchen. The classrooms contain a flight simulator; and high-speed internet access for research.

Community Education Liaison

Tim Lawton, Airport Community Education Liaison, coordinates use of the Airport Visitor's Center. He's worked part-time at the Airport since 1989 and also coordinates Adopt-A-School activities for Isla Vista Elementary School. The City of Santa Barbara provides local school districts access to the Airport Visitor's Center and a variety of Airport businesses. Tim conducts the local tours of the Airport, but also provides in-class visits and on-site presentations on request. He holds a BA in Education from Westmont College and a MA in Education from Gordon-Conwell.

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2016