Programs and Events

Learn about School Field Trips

Archive of Past Events

Birding for Beginners in Waddell Valley

Saturday, January 13th at 8am

Interpreter Jeremy Lin will lead an approximate two-mile hike to observe and enjoy morning wildlife at Rancho del Oso. We will take our time and explore the beautiful coastal valley. No previous experience necessary. It is helpful to bring binoculars, bird guides and a readiness for patient observation as we witness wildlife awakening on a crisp Waddell Valley morning. We will meet at the deck in front of the Nature Center.

 

Wildflower and Nature Hike of Waddell Valley

  • Friday, January 12th at 10am
  • Friday, February 9th at 10am
  • Friday, March 9th at 10am

Join docent botanist Bryce Stauble and learn to identify many of Waddell Valley’s plants within Rancho del Oso’s seven diverse habitats. Observe the monthly change of the ecosystems. Each walk is unique as blooming flowers and pollinators are constantly in flux! This walk takes a leisurely pace that is great for learning the native habitat we are experiencing. Bring lunch, questions and curiosity!

*Hike will start across from Waddell Beach at the yellow gate.

Nature Wander

  • Sunday, January 14th at 1pm
  • Sunday, March 11th at 1pm

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. She 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.

Special Event: Salamander Saturday

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018, 12-4pm

Join us for our annual celebration honoring the often overlooked but heroically well adapted amphibian native to the Santa Cruz Mountains and other moist habitats. Real live amphibians will be available for viewing. Herpetologist Amy Patten will be presenting “Salamanders of the Santa Cruz Mountains” (all ages) at 1:00pm. Naturalist-led salamander hike will start at 3:00pm to search for these regal creatures on the Marsh Trail (approximately 1 mile long). Come learn about salamanders and their ecosystems! All age crafts and activities will be available at the Rancho del Oso Nature & History Center located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek at 3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017. Free. For more information, call (831) 427-2288.

“Salamanders of the Santa Cruz Mountains”

Part of Salamander Saturday, March 3rd, 2018, 12-4 pm
The diverse habitats of the Santa Cruz Mountains are home to a number of spectacular salamander species. Colorful newts, minute slender salamanders, or the impressive California Giant Salamander are just a few of the salamanders that you might see on a walk through the woods or even in your own backyard. Each species 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.

 

Grizzly Bear and Wildlife Day

Saturday September 2, 12-4 pm

Join us for a day of family-friendly crafts, activities, face painting and an all-ages lecture by San Lorenzo Valley Museum Curator, Lisa Robinson at 1 pm. Unravel the truth and natural history of the California Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos californicus), as Lisa illuminates the once prolific and eternally respected brown bear that roamed this land for centuries before its recent extirpation. Possibly California’s most visible and enduring symbol, we pay tribute to its awesome size and strength here at Rancho del Oso’s annual Grizzly Bear Day. Ranger-led hike starts at 3 pm departing from the Center’s deck and follows the Hoover Nature Trail.

In the mid-1700s, the San Francisco Peninsula was home to large numbers of grizzlies. The abundance of food was shared between the hierarchy of wildlife and the native peoples; there was plenty for all. In just a few decades, this would change. Confrontations between man and bear often resulted in death or serious injury. By the late-1800s there were few grizzlies left here and by 1900, grizzlies once prolific had been hunted to extinction. Lisa Robinson tells the stories of bear encounters, both grizzlies and black bears, in the Santa Cruz area from the late 1700s to the present day, and reminds us that often our intolerance can lead to an unrecoverable and regrettable loss.

Snake Park Saturday

Saturday, July 8, 2 pm
Saturday, August 12, 2 pm
Saturday, September 9, 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. Several snakes will be on display and native reptile adaptations will be discussed in the beautiful backdrop of Waddell Valley. We will meet up at the Ranger Station, a short hike in from the yellow gate across the parking lot at Waddell Beach on Highway 1. 

Waddell Valley Wildflower and Nature Hike

Friday, July 14, 10 am
Friday,  August 11, 10 am
Friday,  September 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, July 9, 1 pm
Sunday, August 13, 1 pm
Sunday, June 11, 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.