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A Hands-on Education Experience for Students

Located along the beautiful California coastline, Wilder Ranch State Park’s 7,000 acres offers numerous learning opportunities for students. Schedule your class for a field trip to discover California’s early ranching history and experience what life was like a century ago on this innovative dairy ranch. Visit an 1897 Victorian home, experience an 1896 water-powered machine shop, and say hi to the farm animals. Learn about the diversity of local wildlife or unique geology of ancient wave-cut terraces.

 

 

Tour Options

Farm Animal Tour
Description:  This tour is designed for younger children, preschool through second grade. Students experience early Californian ranching history with hands-on activities and a visit to see the goats, sheep, chickens, and cattle and may be given a chance to pet a goat (but we do not feed the farm animals). Ranch buildings are not usually included on farm animal tours.
Grades: The Farm Animal tour best suits pre-school through 2nd grade curriculum. (All tours can be adapted to K-12.)
Duration: 1 hour
Standards: Kindergarten k.6, k.3 | First Grade 1.3, 1.4 | Second Grade 2.1, 2.4
Cost: There is no charge for school tours.  School groups grades K-12 who have made a reservation at least 14 days in advance will receive free parking passes in a confirmation packet.  A minimum donation of $1/person to our non-profit association; The Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, is requested.


Ranch Tour
Description: Discover what life was like a century ago on this innovative dairy ranch and visit the 1839 adobe, the 1897 Victorian, 1859 Meder farm house, horse and dairy barns, and the Pelton water-wheel powered machine shop. Tours for children often include a hands-on activity, such as making butter. 
Duration: 1 hour
Grades: The Ranch Tour best suits 3rd grade curriculum, but 2nd and 4th grade tours are common. (All tours can be adapted to K-12.)
Standards: Second Grade 2.4.1 | Third Grade 3.2.2, 3.2.4, 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3, 3.5.1 | Fourth Grade 4.2.1, 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.2.6, 4.2.7, 4.2.8, 4.3.2, 4.4.2, 4.4.3
Cost: There is no charge for school tours.  School groups grades K-12 who have made a reservation at least 14 days in advance will receive free parking passes in a confirmation packet.  A minimum donation of $1/person to our non-profit association; The Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, is requested.


Nature Walk
Description: On these two-hour natural history excursions, you will explore the plants, animals, and geology of the spectacular coastal bluffs. Bring a snack, water, binoculars, and good walking shoes. Binoculars are available to borrow.
Duration: 2 hours
Grades: The Nature Walk best suits 6th grade curriculum. (All tours can be adapted to K-12.)
Standards: Science sixth grade: 6.1.a, 6.1.c, 6.1.e, 6.2.a, 6.2.b, 6.2.c, 6.2.d
Cost: There is no charge for school tours.  School groups grades K-12 who have made a reservation at least 14 days in advance will receive free parking passes in a confirmation packet.  A minimum donation of $1/person to our non-profit association; The Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, is requested.

*Ranch Kids Day
Description:
The Ranch Kids Day (RKD) program at Wilder Ranch is a unique interpretive living history program designed for third grade students following the curriculum standards set by the State of California.

Travel back in time with your 3rd grade class to the early 1900s to find out what it would be like to live on a coastal dairy farm. Ranch Kid Days is a hands-on, immersive, day-long Environmental Studies Program (ESP), in which students in period dress participate in several chores that children would have helped out with on the farm in the Victorian age.

Grades: 3rd grade only
Standards: living history environmental studies program for 3rd grade. 3.2.2, 3.2.4, 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3, 3.5.1
Duration: 4 hours
Schedule: Fridays from end of September through November and in the spring from March through May.
Cost: $440/day for up to 40 students. $11 for each additional student over 40.
*Funding is available for select Title 1 schools through the Kids to Parks program. Applications for the following school year are accepted in the spring. For more information, please visit www.thatsmypark.org.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RANCH KIDS DAYS, INCLUDING APPLICATIONS, PLEASE CLICK HERE.


General Tour Information

  • All tours with students (K-12th grade) require a ratio of at least one adult chaperone per seven children. If this is a hardship for your school please call the Interpretive Center Office at 831-426-0505 to discuss this with the staff.
  • Adult chaperones and teachers are in charge of discipline and first aid on tours.
  • Up to three tours can be scheduled per day on Thursday and Friday with the start times being 10am, 11am, 12pm. Please view separate webpage for information on Ranch Kids Day.
  • There is no charge for school tours. School groups grades K-12 who have made a reservation at least 14 days in advance will receive free parking passes in a confirmation packet.  A minimum donation of $1/person to our non-profit association; The Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (FOSCSP), is requested. The donation provides funding for future educational tours and special events. Other groups (senior citizens, scouts, etc) and individuals pay parking fees as follows: $10 per automobile, $50 per 10-24 passenger bus, $100 per 25-or-more-passenger bus.

 

Fall 2018 Reservations for School Group Tours (non-RKD)

*NEW ONLINE APPLICATION*

Click here to begin the Fall 2018 school tour application request. Requests must be scheduled at least 2-weeks in advance. Sending a request does not mean that you have a reservation. Reservations are confirmed once you've received confirmation email.

We begin taking requests for Spring/Summer Ranch and Animal tours beginning January 2.

Questions? Contact the Interpretive Center at (831) 426-0505 or email WilderRanch.FieldTrips@parks.ca.gov.

 

Bring the Park to Your School

California State Parks offers a free distance-learning program that uses live video conferencing with a park interpreter to help schools teach academic content standards.
Click here to learn more about the Parks Online Resources for Teachers & Students program (PORTS).