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Events and Activities

Please click here for the monthly Interpretive Activities Schedule for parks in the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. 

Tours of the Monarch Grove

Mid October to January (Fall to early winter when monarchs are present)
Saturdays & Sundays at 11:00 & 2:00

Join a Docent Naturalist for a tour of the state designated monarch butterfly preserve at Natural Bridges State Beach.  Monarch butterflies are returning this fall to their winter home along our coast.  Learn the story of this beautiful creature and its fascinating seasonal migration. Public tours are offered on weekends and no reservations are necessary, or you may call 423-4609 to arrange a tour for a group of 10 or more.  Fall walks begin the 3rd weekend in October and continue through January or as long as monarchs are present;  Monarch numbers vary, usually  the highest numbers are visible in November/December.  Meet at the Visitor Center for the hour-long program.  The walk is wheelchair accessible.

Ocean Naturalist and Monarch Butterfly Volunteer Trainings

Volunteer Training takes place twice per year at Natural Bridges State Beach
Natural bridges is famous for its tide pools, monarch butterflies, and is located within the boundaries of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  Volunteers assist park visitors in learning about the natural habitats at the park. Docent training classes are held twice per year and focus on the marine environment in the Spring, and monarch butterfly preserve in the Fall.  

Springtime volunteer training starts in April with a focus on the ocean, shore and tide pool life
Call (831)423-4609  for details and registration
New volunteers learn about the natural history of the marine environment during a series of 8 training classes.  Graduates of the docent naturalist training volunteer 6 hours per month to host the visitor center, lead guided walks, and assist with educational programs and events at the park. For registration information, please call Martha at (831) 423-4609. 

Fall volunteer training begins in September with a focus on the monarch butterfly grove
Call (831)423-4609  for details and registration
Each Fall, Natural Bridges State Beach prepares for the annual return of migratory monarch butterflies.  The beautiful orange and black monarchs attract local visitors, schoolchildren and tourists from around the world.  Docents learn about the fascinating biology of the monarch and its migration and then share what they have learned with park visitors.

Generations of friends and families make visiting Natural Bridges State Park a Santa Cruz tradition.  By educating visitors about how to help reduce our impact on the environment by conserving energy, reducing pollution, and protecting natural resources, they can become part of the solution to the many challenges ahead.  Docent Naturalists share their knowledge and create experiences that inspire connection and caring.  Volunteer and discover how your commitment of 6 hours a month can make a difference!  The park is located at the end of West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz.

Sponsored by California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Annual Events for 2015

Monarch Tours - Weekends from mid-October through January at 11:00a.m. and 2:00p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Meet at the visitor center for a guided tour of the monarch grove.  Monarch migration is variable, to find out the current population, or to arrange a tour for groups of 10 or more, call (831) 423-4609.

Migration Festival - Saturday, February 14, 2015 from 11am to 4pm
Fly, swim, waddle, walk, bike or drive as you migrate to the park for a full day of activities that celebrate the migration of whales, butterflies, birds and the many creatures that travel.  The park will host migratory animal talks, active kids' games, crafts, skits and live music. 

Welcome Back Monarchs Day Sunday, October 11, 2015 from 11 am to 4pm
The beauty and wonder of monarch butterflies is revealed  through stories, crafts, active learning games, live music and presentations.  Dress up and join the butterfly parade as we welcome back monarchs arriving to their winter home!

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