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School & Group Tours

The Basics:
Wilder Ranch offers 2 types of hour-long tours: Ranch Tours or Farm Animal Tours for groups of 10-30 (chaperones included). Reservations must be made at least 2 weeks in advance by downloading, filling out the form below, and emailing, snail mailing, or submitting the form in-person. 

All tours with students (K-12th grade) require a ratio of at least one adult per seven children.  Adult chaperones and teachers are in charge of discipline and first aid on tours.  If this is a hardship for your school please call the Interpretive Center Office at 831-426-0505 to discuss this with the staff. If interested in a nature walk for your group, please call the interpretive center (831-426-0505).  Up to 3 tours can be scheduled per day on Thursday and Friday with the start times being 10am, 11am, 12 noon. Please view separate webpage for information on Ranch Kids Day. 

Download The Form HERE

Tour Summaries:
Ranch tours
are designed for 3rd-5th graders and may include visiting 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.

Farm animal tours are designed for younger children, preschool through second grade.  They focus on the farm animals that are kept at Wilder Ranch.  Children may be given a chance to pet a goat.  Please do not feed the farm animals!  Ranch buildings are not usually included on farm animal tours.

Ranch Kids Day is a separate type of program and has a different application process. See section below for more information.


There is no charge for 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 $1.00/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: $10.00 per automobile, $50.00 per 10-24 passenger bus, $100.00 per 25-or-more-passenger bus.

Ranch Kids Day

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 would have helped out with on the farm in the Victorian age. 

The Ranch Kids Day 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. For more information, view the RKD Program Description.


Reservations are by lottery. Download the Ranch Kids Day Application and follow the Ranch Kids Day Application Instructions. Application are due by 3:30pm on Friday September 1, 2017 in order to enter the lottery. (Postmarks are not accepted.)

Submit applications to:
Wilder Ranch State Park
ATTN: Interpretive Staff
1401 Coast Road.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060