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Events & Activities

All events and activities are free. Vehicle day-use fee is $10.
For more information, please call (831) 426-0505.

Events made possible by California State Parks Volunteers, California State Parks, and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.



Wilder Ranch Bike Tour
Sunday, May 21 at 11 am
Explore our coastline on this 1-hour, 3-mile bike tour to discover and discuss a wide range of topics from marine critters to how the temperate weather shapes the habitats we live in. This is a beginner’s ride and a helmet, bike, and basic riding skills are required to enjoy this all ages tour.

Wilder Ranch Coast Nature Walks
Saturday, May 6 at 11am
Saturday, May 13 at 11am
Saturday, May 27 at 11am
Explore the plants, animals, and geology of the coastal bluffs on a 2-hour natural history tour. Meet at the Wilder Ranch Interpretive Center. Bring a snack, water, binoculars, and good walking shoes. Binoculars are available to borrow. Rain cancels.

History, Nature, and Scenic Views: A Tour of the Back Country
Saturday, May 20 at 9am
This challenging guided 3-hour, 6-mile hike will explore the natural and cultural history of the backcountry of Wilder Ranch State Park. Meet at the Wilder Ranch parking lot. Bring good walking shoes, lunch, snacks, and water. Rain cancels.

Wilder Ranch Living History Demonstrations and Ranch Tours
Saturdays & Sundays from 11am to 3pm – tour at 1pm
Discover what life was like a century or more ago on this innovative dairy ranch.  The hour-long tour at 1 pm includes the 1897 Victorian home, 1856 Gothic Revival farm house, 1896 water-powered machine shop, barns and other historic buildings. You can also play Victorian games or bring a picnic to enjoy on the front lawn, visit the farm animals and see what activities are taking place on the ranch this weekend. You may learn about hand quilting, watch blacksmithing or wood stove baking techniques.

Annual Events

flowersGarden Planting and Wool Day
Saturday April 29, 2017 from 11 am to 3 pm

Imagine yourself at Wilder Ranch in the early part of the 20th century and help plant the heirloom vegetable garden as it would have been circa 1900. Learn from composting demonstrations, obtain gardening information, and participate in garden crafts. If weather is good, arrive early (10 am to noon) to see a sheep- shearing demonstration and find out how wool is processed from “sheep to shawl.” This event is appropriate for all ages. 

festivitiesOld-fashioned Independence Day
Tuesday July 4, 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm

Visit Wilder Ranch’s historic cultural preserve and take a step back in time 100 years ago as you participate in an early 1900s-style Independence Day celebration including a noon family parade, games, children’s crafts area, live big-band music, living history demonstrations, historic speeches and flag-raising. Food and drink available for sale, or bring a picnic lunch. This event is appropriate for all ages.

bakingLife on the Ranch: Family Living History Day
Saturday August 12, 2017 from 11 am to 3 pm
Saturday September 16, 2017 from 11 am to 3 pm
Saturday November 11, 2017 from 11 am to 3 pm
Wilder Ranch State Park invites you to experience old-time activities from its rancho, dairy farm, and cowboy rodeo days. Hands-on activities and living history presentations vary each month and may include: butter churning, ice cream making, branding, cooking, roping skills, wagon rides, and demonstrations in the ranch buildings. Come for a picnic on the lawn and follow it up with a game of tug of war, sack races, hoops, stilts, and Wilder Ranch’s famous old-fashioned bubbles! This event is appropriate for all ages. 

square dancingHeritage Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm

Celebrate! The harvest is in! See tractor, draft horse, and living history demonstrations, listen to music, make crafts, and participate in harvest-time activities.  The event is held on the grounds of the Wilder Ranch Cultural Preserve. This event is appropriate for all ages. 

holiday knittingHolidays on the Ranch
Saturday December 9, 2017 from 11 am to 3 pm

Celebrate the warmth of the holiday season with crafts, games, music, and merriment from the early 20th century.  We’ll busy your hands with holiday wreath-making, invite you to join in an old-fashioned sing-along around the player piano, and provide you with materials to make Victorian and Mexican holiday crafts. Come play games, take a draft-horse carriage ride, decorate the tree, and create ornaments while spending the day on the grounds of the cultural preserve at beautiful, historic Wilder Ranch State Park.