Park Interpretive Programs
You have reached the Park Interpretive Programs page! This is where you can find many resources that can help you locate interpretive programs in parks near you.
Find out what type of experience you can expect from the various programs that are available. Below is a list of some of the programs California State Parks offers:
Natural History Field Trips: Programs, tours or demonstrations relating to natural history themes are presented to school groups that arrange their park visit in advance. For more information on field trips available at a specific park, please visit that park's web page using the "Find a California State Park" page.
Cultural Heritage Field Trips: Students learn first-hand about California’s rich cultural heritage by visiting state historic parks. Tours, programs and demonstrations are provided by park staff to school groups. For more information on field trips available at a specific park, please visit that park's web page using the "Find a California State Park" page.
Guided Nature Hikes: State Parks staff show visitors the wonders of California’s state parks on these guided day hikes. Participants will enjoy picturesque views while learning about park history, and local flora and fauna. Distance and rigor will vary by hike & park unit. Check with the individual park webpage for availability.
Living History Programs: Living history programs are an opportunity for families, individuals and school groups to explore the interaction between people and their environment. Immersed for a brief time in the past, participants learn through hands-on interactions and activities about earlier cultures and lifestyles. Programs incorporate in-park demonstrations and hands-on activities.
Environmental Studies Programs: Offers school children a park experience that explores interaction between people and their environment. Students learn about earlier cultures and lifestyles and use this knowledge to recreate elements of the culture or era being studied.
Environmental Living Programs: These are similar to environmental studies programs but include an overnight stay at the park. Both programs incorporate demonstrations, hands-on activities and follow-up student assignments.
Junior Ranger Programs: "Junior Rangers" is a statewide educational program in which children aged 7 to 12 may participate. The program emphasizes stewardship of park resources and connects park resource issues to global concerns.
Litter-Getter Programs: "Litter-Getters" is a program that individually engages children in trash-collecting activities while it explains the environmental value of acting responsibly in parks.
Junior Lifeguard Programs: The California State Parks’ Junior Lifeguard Program is designed to provide quality water safety education while improving young people’s physical conditioning, their understanding and respect for the environment, and their respect for themselves, their parents, and their peers. The program consists of day camps, usually lasting three to five weeks, that provide instruction in first aid, CPR, water safety, rescue techniques, surfing and bodyboarding. Tuition is charged for participation in this program. Scholarships and school partnerships offer alternatives to the tuition fee structure.
Summer Learning Programs: The Summer Learning Program engages K-12 educational communities and community organizations that offer summer programming for underserved student populations. Students have the opportunity to visit a participating California state park for a day or for an overnight immersive program, exploring the outdoors and cultural and natural resources of the park and participating in educational activities. For more information, visit the webpage linked to the Summer Learning Program title.
PORTS: Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students Program (R): PORTS is an award-winning distance learning program has that has served K-12 teachers, students, and education partners with live, interactive video-conference presentations from California’s state parks for more than 15 years. PORTS Home Learning Programs are offered to students and families learning at home in small groups and hoping to stay connected to the outdoors and parks. Currently, these engagements are offered in a secure Zoom webinar format and are often recorded for future use. Any size group can register to attend a PORTS Home Learning Program. For more information visit the PORTS webpage linked to the PORTS title.
Agents of Discovery App: Agents of Discovery is a free, place-based augmented reality app easily played by families, individuals, or K-12 studients from their mobile device to explore the natural and cultural features of the state park they are visiting. The app allows users to further connect with and discover the unique resources of the state park they are visiting. At the park they fulfill engaging park-specific games (missions). The missions are free to play, and once downloaded, do not require WiFi or a data connection.
Guide to Environmental Education Programs: If you would like to see if the above-mentioned programs are in your area, please click on the title link for more information.
Interpretive Facilities: Information on various types of facilities available at parks throughout our state park system.