Programs and Events

Learn about School Field Trips

Archive of Past Events

Special Event: Snake Park Saturday

Saturday, January 12th, 2 pm
Saturday, February 9th, 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? Come to 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!

Park at Waddell Beach and walk .4 mile past the yellow gate along the Skyline to the Sea Trail to the Ranger Station.

Special Event: Salamander Saturday

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, 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.

Birding for Beginners in Waddell Valley

Saturday, January 12th at 8 am
Saturday, February 9th, 8 am

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.

Please RSVP to

Drawing for the Love of Nature

Saturday, January 12th, 2018 10:30 am
Saturday, February 9th, 2018 10:30 am

To See — To Draw: Engaging your senses with intention and curiosity with Judy Sears, California Naturalist, student of Art and Nature

Join Judy Sears in exploring nature drawing. If the weather is pleasant, the group will stay outside to discuss and practice ways to draw what you are most curious about in nature, from leaf to watershed. No art drawing experience necessary. Just bring a notepad with a rigid back, a pencil and your curiosity. You may also wish to bring something so you can sit comfortably on the ground. Come enjoy the process of developing your nature drawing style. This workshop follows the 8 am bird walk for beginners and usually ends at noon.

FREE — Please pre-register with Judy at:

“When Species Collide”

  • Sunday, January 20th at 12 noon
  • Sunday, February 17th at 12 noon
  • Sunday, March 17th at 12 noon

How did Rancho del Oso become the park it is today? Who are the plants and animals that live here? Why are they here? How did humans influence the natural history of the Waddell Valley?

Join Rancho del Oso docent Ken Koll for a hike on the beautiful Skyline to Sea Bypass Trail. Along the way we will pass through the varied habitats of the Waddell Valley and explore topics like natives vs. non-native, invasives, and adaptations.

The hike will begin at 12 noon at the Rancho del Oso entrance gate (yellow gate on the inland side of highway one, across from Waddell Beach parking lot). The hike will be approximately 4 miles. Bring water, snacks if you wish, and wear sturdy footwear. Don’t forget your curiosity and inner-naturalist. It will be a great day.