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Nature Museums

HOME   |   Big Basin State Park   |   City of Watsonville Nature Center  |   Henry Cowell Visitor Center

Natural Bridges State Park   |   Rancho Del Oso   |   Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History 

Sanctuary Exploration Center   |   Sculpture Is - Sierra Azul

   Seacliff State Beach Visitors Center   |   Seymour Center Long Marine Lab

 15 Big Basin State Park

Big Basin State Park, Boulder Creek, California, Natural History Museum


Sempervirens Room exhibits at Park Headquarters

display the history of Big Basin, the oldest California State Park. Exhibits in the Nature Lodge show the natural environment of the park. Mountain Parks

Foundation members receive 15% discount in Nature Store.


Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Sempervirens Room and Nature Lodge

21600 Big Basin Way • Boulder Creek, Ca., 95006

9 miles from Boulder Creek, CA on Hwy 236


Daily with seasonal hours, $10 vehicle fee

Donations appreciated.


Go to Big Basin State Park Link



City of Watsonville Nature Center


Wetlands of Watsonville - Central California, Nature Walks, Natural History Museum


Discover one of the largest remaining freshwater wetlands along the Central Coast of California. The center offers bilingual activities for the whole family with exhibits on wetlands animals, plants, habitats and cultural history. Join us for nature walks to learn about the amazing bird species that depend on the wetlands and the plants that make this habitat special. Over 6 miles of trails open to the public 7 days a week


City of Watsonville Nature Center

30 Harkins Slough Rd. • Watsonville, CA 96076


Sat–Sun 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Nature Walks on Sun at 1:30 pm (bilingual) and Weekdays by appt.

Call for a list of special events and programs.

Free admission - Donations appreciated


Go to Wetlands of Watsonville Link



Friends of the State Parks -  Natural History


Natural Bridges State Park

Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz, California, Natural History Museum



Exhibits share the science and wonder of monarch butterfly migration, offer a close up look at tidepool

animals in the aquarium, and explore the park’s other habitats. Seasonally, visit over-wintering monarch butterflies roosting in the park’s trees. Park store sales support education in the parks.


Natural Bridges State Beach Visitor Center

2531 West Cliff Drive • Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Call or click for hours/events.



Go to Natural Bridges State Park Link



Seacliff State Beach Visitors Center

Seacliff State Beach Visitors Center, Aptos, California, Natural History Museum



Explore exhibits interpreting the park’s natural & cultural history, including Seacliff's famous “Cement Ship,” marine fossil beds & the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. An aquarium and touch tank feature animals found in the tidepools. Park store sales support education in the parks. Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks members receive 15% discount.


Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center

201 State Park Drive • Aptos, CA 95003


Call or click for hours/events.


Go to Seacliff State Beach Visitors Center Link



Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Interpretive Center


Henry Cowell Visitor Center, Felton, California, Natural History Museum




Interactive exhibits of the four diverse habitats of the park, which include many unique and endangered plants and wildlife. The Visitor Center is at the beginning of the .8 mile walk in the grove of 270 ft. tall redwood trees where you may see these bright yellow banana slugs. Mountain Parks Foundation

members receive 15% discount in Nature Store.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

1/2 mile from Felton on Hwy 9

525 N. Big Trees Park Road • Felton, CA 95018


Open daily 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, $10 vehicle fee


Go to Henry Cowell Visitor Center Link



Rancho del Oso



Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center, 17 miles north of Santa Cruz in the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  The newly remodeled Nature and History Center features both cultural and natural exhibits.  There are trails through seven different ecological zones, from the redwoods to the ocean, including the popular Skyline-to-the-Sea trail.  nature programs are held year-long.


Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center

3600 Highway 1, Davenport, CA  95017



Sat & Sun, 12 - 4 p.m.  Also by appointment between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.  No charge for school field trips - donations appreciated.  Private groups, check with State Parks for fees.


Go to Rancho del Oso  Website Link




Sanctuary Exploration Center



The Exploration Center, with free admission is located down at the beach across from the wharf features engaging interactive and multi-media exhibits designed to help visitors explore the sanctuary's remarkable marine environment and understand their personal role in protecting this underwater treasure.


Sanctuary Exploration Center

35 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060



Wed - Sun, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Free Admission


Go to Sanctuary Exploration Center website Link





Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Santa Cruz, California, Natural History Museum


Explore local natural history at the Museum: visit

exhibits of forests, wetlands, and grasslands, visit

a California king snake, grind acorns in our Ohlone room, touch a sea star, watch the bees in an observation hive, browse through the bookstore, and climb on the back of our life-sized sculpture of a grey whale.


Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

1305 East Cliff Dr • Santa Cruz CA 95062-3722


Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Days/ School year: Tuesday through Saturday

Summer (June 6 - Labor Day): Wednesday through Sunday

$4.00 Adults, $2.00 Seniors (60+)

Youth 18 and under free

Museum Members Free

Admission is free for individuals and families on the first Thursday of January, April, July, and October. Tour reservations required for all group visits, including Free Thursdays.

Donations appreciated.


Go to Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History Link



"Sculpture Is" at

Sierra Azul Nursery

Sierra Azul Sculpture Garden, "Sculpture Is", Pajaro Valley

The Pajaro Valley Arts Council Gallery presents six themed contemporary visual art exhibitions annually, which showcase the diversity, creativity and talent of regional artists.

“Sculpture Is”—a current seasonal sculpture exhibit at Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens. Walk the fabulous two acres Mediterranean demonstration garden to see over one hundred sculptures created regional artists. “Sculpture Is” can be enjoyed from June through October.

“Sculpture Is” at Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens

2660 E. Lake Avenue • Watsonville, Ca 95076 • 831-763-0939

Days/Hours Opened: Mon – Sun, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm June – October


Admission/Parking Fee: Free

www.pvarts.org or www.sierraazul.com




Seymour Center Long Marine Lab

Seymour Center Long Marine Lab - Santa Cruz, California, Natural History Museum

Visit a working marine lab dedicated to advancing

human understanding of the world’s ocean. Exhibit

hall, aquarium, touch tank, tours to the marine mammal overlook, Ocean Discovery Shop, and unsurpassed vistas. Hold a sea star—marvel at a whale of a skeleton—think like an ocean scientist!


Seymour Center at Long Marine Lab

End of Delaware Avenue • Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Tues – Sat, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm;

Sun, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Closed major holidays; call for extended summer days/hours

Adult – $6,

Student or Senior (64+) – $4,

Child (4-16) – $4,

See website for special free days and discounts


Go to Seymour Center Long Marine Lab Link


  We heartedly thank our Sponsors!

  Community Foundation of Santa Cruz CountyPrintworxArts Council of Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz Sentinel  |  Santa Cruz County Bank  | Liberty Bank  |  Tannery Arts Center

KBK Insurance Agency

This website was designed by an Artist for the Santa Cruz County Museums Partnership.  (C) 2013