View all Santa Cruz area State Parks school programs at a glance here!

A Hands-on Educational Opportunity

California State Parks in cooperation with Friends of the Santa Cruz State Parks offers free 2.5-hour school group tours of the historic 1849 two-story adobe building. A visit to the Castro Adobe in Watsonville immerses students in our community’s story from the heyday of the vaquero to the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Hands-on, sensory experiences bring more than a century of history to life, while guided investigations of students’ own inquiries make learning personally relevant. You don’t need to leave the Pájaro Valley to touch a real adobe and connect with California’s colorful past. These education programs supplement teaching of 3rd grade (local history) and 4th grade (California history) content standards. (K-college can be accomodated for tours by request.)

Bilingual curriculum that supports this field trip is available here.

This hidden jewel in the Pájaro Valley is currently an active construction site as the adobe building is being repaired and is open only during scheduled events.




Please click here to fill out an application.

For more information and questions please contact the Park Interpreter at Alex.Trudelle@parks.ca.gov or (831) 226-9669.

Activity Guides/Resources

You may print any of these educational materials for your students’ use within your classroom. The activities included in the curriculum can be used at the discretion of the teacher.

  • Learn about the Spanish-Mexican-American History of Alta California. http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/timeline_flash.html (Depending upon the class, this can be appropriate to show or not. It is good information for the teacher.)
  • Write a story about what you think it would have been like to be an Ohlone living in this area at the time the Spanish came to this area and started the Santa Cruz Mission in 1791.
  • Make a diseno: a map of the rancho for the Mexican government. Use a piece of drawing paper 18 inches by 11 inches, students draw a map showing a “bird’s eye view” of the school grounds. The map will include all the buildings, trees, and garden areas, playground structures, basketball courts, and other important landmarks of the school.
  • Learn about early Alta Californio music and dance. Use either one or both of these Youtube videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J8PJ0yJgW8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPnwK8mQlLE
  • Learn a typical Mexican dance, such as the fandango. Contact Watsonville High School or Pajaro Valley High School to learn whether the Mexican Folklorico group is available to visit your school. If there isn’t, contact Esperanza del Valle, and find out whether volunteers can visit your school to teach the students a typical dance from the Rancho Era.
  • Make a “whitewash” out of diluted white tempera paint and paint an ordinary cement brick. Give it three coats, allowing the paint to dry between each coat. (Real whitewash made from lime is too caustic to allow children to use.)
  • Make a shoebox diorama of the Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe. Include a model of the Castro Adobe, cattle, horses, nopale cactus, and a grizzly bear somewhere in the diorama, but not too close to the other animals.
  • Make a scrapbook of pictures (either hand drawn, cut out from magazines, or  printed from the Internet) of foods typically eaten at Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe. Write a sentence describing each food.
  • Try out some of these historical recipes.
  • Click here for more resources.