Events & Activities


Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration
at Wilder Ranch State Park
Friday, July 4, 11am to 4pm

Travel back in time at Wilder Ranch State Park on Friday, July 4, to experience an Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration!  Festivities run from 11am to 4pm at the cultural preserve.

At 11:45 meet at the apple orchard in front of the Highway 1 tunnel to gather for the parade. You can bring a musical instrument or noisemaker, dress in early 1900s costume, or pull a decorated wagon.  Parade walks through the complex to front lawn for flag raising, speeches, and patriotic music. 

Try the cake walk, historic lawn games, draft horse wagon rides, crafts, and listen to live old time music.  There will be food and drink for sale; ice cream cones, strawberry shortcake, dill pickles, watermelon, root beer and hand squeezed lemon aide, or bring your own picnic lunch.  Bratwurst USA and Lily’s Roasted Corn will be selling food at family prices.  Bank will exchange your 2014 dollars into early 1900s tokens.
Wilder Ranch docents will be demonstrating living history as early 1900s dairy-ranch workers. Visit with them for activities including blacksmithing, working the Pelton water wheel operated machine shop, making hand-cranked ice cream and farming the heirloom vegetable garden.  Take a docent-led tour through the historic Meder house (Old Farm House) and the Victorian home.

Enjoy live music with the Society Orchestra playing patriotic music, and the 5M’s will performing early 1900s songs at beautiful, historic, Wilder Ranch State Park.  The park is located 2 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1.  Admission to the event is free; parking is $10.00 per car.  For more event information, call (831) 426-0505.

Wilder Ranch Living History Demonstrations
Weekends from 11 am to 3 pm
Guided Tour of the Ranch Buildings Weekends at 1pm
Visit an early day dairy ranch and step back in time to the late 1800’s at Wilder Ranch State Park. 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. Call (831) 426-0505 for more details. July 20th learn about hand quilting with master quilter Carolyn Miller from 10:30 am to 2 pm. 

History, Nature, and Scenic Views:  A Tour of the Grey Whale Ranch Area
Saturday, July 12 at 9 am
This challenging guided three-hour hike will explore the natural and cultural history of the upper hills of Wilder Ranch State Park.  Meet at the Wilder Ranch parking lot.  Bring good walking shoes, lunch, snacks, and water.  Hike cancelled if rain.

Wilder Ranch Coast Nature Walks
Saturdays, July 5, 19, 26 at 11am
On these two-hour natural history excursions you will explore the plants, animals, and geology of the spectacular coastal bluffs.  Meet at the Wilder Ranch Interpretive Center. Bring a snack, water, binoculars, and good walking shoes.  Binoculars are now available to borrow. 

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. Visit us on the web at or

2014 Annual Interpretive Events at Wilder Ranch State Park

Life on the Ranch—Family Living History Days at Wilder Ranch State Park
Saturday, May 10, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 9, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 23, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Find out how families lived during Mexican Rancho and early dairy ranching days at Wilder Ranch State Park’s Family Living History Days. Activities include a selection of hands-on activities and demonstrations and may include draft horse wagon rides, branding, horseshoes, hand-making tortillas and salsa, chuck wagon style cooking, roping skills and lawn games. Come for a picnic on the lawn and follow it up with a game of tug of war, sack races, hoops, stilts, bubbles, and more! The event is held on the grounds of the Wilder Ranch Cultural Preserve.

Spring Garden Planting Day and Sheep Sheering
Saturday, April 26, 2014  from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Imagine yourself in the early part of the 20th century as we gather to plant heirloom vegetables as it would have been circa 1900.  There will be composting demonstrations, gardening information and garden crafts.  If the weather cooperates,we will aslo be shearing the sheep and demonstrating how wool is processed from "sheep to shawl."  Bring your gardening gloves if you have them.  The event takes place on the grounds of Wilder's cultural preserve.  Bring yourself, your family and friends--this event is appropriate for all ages and is a great way to contribute in honor of Earth Day!

Old-fashioned Independence Day - Friday, July 4, 2014  from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Have a grand time enjoying the 4th with a family parade at noon, old-fashioned games, live Big-Band music, and delicious food from 11:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. We'll be stepping back in time 100+ years ago to an ealy 1900's 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. To join in the old-tyme parade, dress up, bring an instrument or decorate a wagon, and join us by the chicken coop at 11:45a.m. The Suffragettes are sure to be there! Food and drink available for sale, or bring a picnic lunch.

Heritage Harvest Festival - Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Decorate a pumpkin, take a wagon ride, try your hand at some old-time harvest activities, listen to live bluegrass and western music, learn to square dance, play cow pie bingo, enjoy hand-cranked pumpkin ice cream along with tons of other fun on the ranch in celebration of the harvest season from 11:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.

Holidays on the Ranch - Saturday, December 13, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Celebrate the winter holidays as folks did in Californio, Victorian, and early 20th century Santa Cruz with crafts to do, games to play, cookies to decorate, and more from 11:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks