Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center, located in Santa Cruz on the bluffs above the Monterey Bay, is a true gem.  Don’t expect the grandeur of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but be prepared for a smaller, quieter, more intimate experience here.  The location is phenomenal.  On a clear day, the views can’t be beat. Inside the center, children will actually have time to experience the touch … Continue reading Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

Explore the Tide Pools, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

When the tide is low, head out to the rocky, north end of Natural Bridges State Beach to explore the tide pools.  Look for sea stars, hermit crabs, sea anemones, sea urchins, and more.  So fun! For more information about Natural Bridges State Beach, visit the California State Parks website… http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=541 If you’re here between mid-October and mid-February, be sure to visit the Monarch Preserve, … Continue reading Explore the Tide Pools, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Within Natural Bridges State Beach, in Santa Cruz, you’ll find the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, a grove of eucalyptus trees where thousands of Monarch Butterflies spend the winter each year.  The butterflies may be viewed by taking a short 0.75 mile Monarch Trail loop through the Preserve, or by simply taking the short, wheel-chair accessible Monarch Boardwalk to the viewing platform.  The monarchs are here … Continue reading Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Strawberry Picking Fun! Swanton Berry Farm U-Pik

As part of our annual summer camping trip to Butano State Park, our tradition is to go strawberry picking at our favorite organic u-pik farm, Swanton Berry Farm, located just south of Pescadero (or north of Santa Cruz).  This is an easy day trip from the Bay Area, and great to incorporate into a visit to Ano Nuevo State Park or Pigeon Point Lighthouse. What’s … Continue reading Strawberry Picking Fun! Swanton Berry Farm U-Pik

The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to explore someplace new with my husband and our son.  I reviewed my “to-see” list, considered outings in the Marin Headlands and San Francisco, and decided, instead, that it would be a great day for a visit to The Arboretum at the University of California Santa Cruz.   And I’m so glad we did! The collections at The Arboretum are … Continue reading The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz