Programs and Events

Learn about School Field Trips

Archive of Past Events

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.