Programs and Events

Learn about School Field Trips

Archive of Past Events

Salamander Saturday!

Saturday, March 4, 12-4 pm

Join us for our annual celebration honoring the often overlooked, but heroically well-adapted amphibians native to the Santa Cruz Mountains and other moist habitats. Live amphibians will be on display for viewing, with all-age crafts, and activities. Ranger-led salamander hike will start at 3 pm to search for these regal creatures on the Marsh Trail. Learn about salamanders and their ecosystems on this short one mile hike! For more information: (831) 427-2288.

Herpetologist Amy Patten will present her talk, Salamanders of the Santa Cruz Mountains, at 1 pm

The diverse habitats of the Santa Cruz Mountains are home to a number of spectacular salamander species. Colorful newts, minute slender salamanders, and the impressive California Giant Salamanders are just a few of the species that you might see on a walk through the woods or even in your own backyard. Each salamander has special adaptations to meet the challenges of escaping predators, finding food, breeding and surviving harsh weather conditions. This presentation covers the natural history and behavior of these salamanders, and highlights their importance in our local ecosystems.

Waddell Valley Watercolor Workshop Series

Saturday, February 18 10 am
Saturday, March 18 10 am
Saturday, April 15 10 am
Saturday, May 20 10 am

Joyce Rosenstiel will be leading this four day watercolor workshop series for beginner and almost intermediate artists. Students will focus on watercolor basics, assembling your painting kit, and fundamentals for landscape and nature painting. Waddell Valley is an inspirational place to start your watercolor journey. Learn to assemble a six by nine inch sketch and paint travel kit for summer adventures.

From Rancho del Oso to the Grand Canyon, capturing the essence of unique landscapes through your art will stay with you for many years, often more profoundly than a photograph. If you always wanted to try your hand at painting, there is no time like the present!

This will be a hands-on learning class. We will look at a scene together, then figure out several ways to sketch it out, and to mix the colors best needed to capture it on paper. You don’t need to bring anything to the first class, but curiosity and a wish to learn more. You can mix any color in nature from red, yellow and blue paint.

This is a four-part series and registration is required; there is no fee. Please call (831-427-2288) or email rdopis@parks.ca.gov to reserve a spot. This is a small group class; space is limited.

Waddell Valley Wildflower and Nature Hike

Friday, January 13, 10 am
Friday,  February 10, 10 am
Friday,  March 10, 10 am

Join RDO intern Bryce Stauble and learn to identify many of the flowering plants within Rancho del Oso’s seven diverse habitats. This walk is a leisurely hike through Waddell Valley, and is a great hike for those interested in natural history and our local flora. Bring a snack, water and your curiosity! Meet at Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

Nature Wander

Sunday, January 8, 1 pm
Sunday, February 12, 1 pm
Sunday, March 12, 1 pm

Find out what’s growing and blooming right now in the Waddell Valley on this approximately 1 mile, 1.5 hour guided walk with docent naturalist Ann Garside.

Ann will share information about the plants of Rancho del Oso as the group walks from coastal scrub through one of the last native stands of Monterey Pine left in the world. Hike starts at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

Waddell Valley Birding

Saturday, January 14, 8 am
Saturday, February 11, 8 am

Birding for all skill levels. Join Interpretive Specialist Jeremy Lin, for an approximate two mile hike to observe, listen, and enjoy morning birding in Waddell Valley. We will take our time and move slowly. Bring binoculars, a bird guide and readiness for silent observation, as we witness wildlife awakening on a crisp winter day. We will meet on the deck in front of the Nature Center.

Snake Park Saturday
Saturday, March 11, 2 pm

Why are snakes important to us? How do they see, smell, taste, hear? What and how do they eat? What does a snake feel like? Meet at the Rancho del Oso Ranger Station to learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Docent Diane Shaw will give a talk about snakes and Naturalist Jeremy Lin will lead a short informative hike to find snakes and other reptiles!