Field Trip Information


2021-2022 Virtual and In-Person Field Trips to Santa Cruz-area State Parks are Now Available! 

Spring Season 2022

We are happy to announce that our in-person Mission Day ESD program will return to the park this April! See program description and reservation request form below. All in-person programs will be subject to change pending changes in COVID19 status.

Mission Day Program


The California Mission System changed traditional indigenous life forever. Native people responded to the mission system in a variety of ways, resulting in cultural change and cultural continuity.

The Mission Day is a full day Environmental Studies Day (ESD) program. We take participants from an Ohlone village to the daily life of a neophyte in the Santa Cruz Mission, looking at impacts of the Mission system on Indigenous culture and landscape.

The day includes a mixture of information, demonstration, and hands-on activities. It is geared towards 4th graders, and meets California Curriculum standards for 4th grade Mission Studies.


The time is from 10AM–2PM. The program works best with groups of 10 – 30. For larger groups we may be able to make special accommodations. Parent chaperones play a key role in facilitating the craft rotations. We request a donation of $1 to $5 dollars per student.


Components of the program may include:

  • Welcome: Introduction to the concept of Culture and overview of the day.
  • Touch Basket: Students are introduced to pre-contact Ohlone culture through an hands-on small group activity involving reproduction artifacts.
  • End of the Old Way: Story about the coming of the Spanish and the founding of the Missions, and the choices available to Ohlone villagers.
  • Lunch: Students eat, and usually have time for a teacher-led activity – often this is a running game in the courtyard. Parent chaperones are trained in Crafts in order to lead rotations.
  • Building Tour: Guided tour of the Adobe building museum including a diorama of Mission Hill in the early 1800s, a re-creation of neophyte living quarters, and an exploration of various work performed by Native People in the mission.
  • Craft Rotation: Students break into small groups for their “work assignments”. They will be able to take home their creations.
  • Conclusion: Summary and acknowledgement of descendants in contemporary society.


Groups are welcome to arrive early and eat a snack on the patio and use restrooms.  Groups bring bag lunch and eat in our outdoor patio. Restrooms and water fountain are on site. The museum, grounds, and restroom facilities are wheelchair accessible. We will gladly accommodate your group in the Park Store if you wish. This often works best towards the end of the day. (Proceeds from Park Store sales support educational programs such as this one.) Most of our day is spent outdoors. Students should dress accordingly.


Curriculum Standards
California History / Social Science Content Standards for 4th Grade 4.1.4, 4.1.5, 4.2.1, 4.2.3, 4.2.5, 4.2.6

This program is geared towards 4th grade students who have a basic under-standing of Spanish Colonial History in California. Below are the 4th grade History/Social Studies standards that we touch upon or cover.
4.2 Students describe the social, political, cultural, and economic life and interactions among people of California from the pre-Columbian societies to the Spanish mission period.
1. Discuss the Ohlone & Yokuts California Indians, including their geographic distribution, economic activities, legends, and religious beliefs; and describe how they depended on, adapted to, and modified the physical environment by cultivation of land and use of sea resources.
3. Describe the Spanish colonization of California, including the relationships among soldiers, missionaries, and Indians.
5. Describe the daily lives of the people, native and nonnative, who occupied the missions.

Field Trip Request Form

Request reservations for spring 2022



Availability Calendar

Please note that this calendar is updated periodically, but may not reflect the most recent changes.


Other Programs

If our existing programs don't fit your needs, please submit a request form and we will get back to you. We will do our best to accommodate your group.