Come visit the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center!
Hours: Saturdays and essay assistance Sundays 12:00 – 4:00 PM
Also open Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Stop at the our renovated Nature and History Center and discover new interactive exhibits, and share the wonders and diversity of the Waddell Valley. Rancho del Oso is in the coastal section of Big Basin Redwoods State Park and is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, on the south side of Waddell Creek.
The Center occupies a ranch-style house and grounds that were once the home of Hulda Hoover McLean, daughter of Theodore Hoover whose brother was President Herbert Hoover. It now consists of an intimate, protected courtyard surrounded by an informative exhibit hall that showcases both the natural and cultural history of the area and a large deck overlooking the Waddell Valley and the Pacific Ocean.
For those interested in birding, botany, intertidal marine life, and riparian habitats, the Waddell Beach and the many Rancho del Oso hiking trails offer superb resources for observation and study. There are equestrian, cycling, and backpacking opportunities available as well. In addition, Waddell Beach is known worldwide as one of the best spots for windsurfing and kite surfing. Regular surfers and boogie boarders also find it an ideal spot to pursue their activities.
Learn about current happenings in the park at the Nature and History Center, and also at the Rancho del Oso Ranger Station.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the park any time. When you visit, please be sure and park in designated areas. Note that dogs are not allowed in any portion of Rancho del Oso.
The Waddell Creek Association, in partnership with California State Parks, is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the natural environment, history, and cultural artifacts of the Waddell Valley and vicinity. Help us to achieve these goals by becoming a member.
For general information, or to inquire about scheduling a group visit, please contact:
State Park Interpreter and Docent Coordinator
Rancho del Oso – Big Basin Redwoods State Park