Experience Pigeon Point
Halfway between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point Light Station, one of the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast, stands over 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Thousands of visitors come each year to enjoy the stunning views of the rocky coast and native wildlife.
On the rocks offshore, harbor seals regularly bask in the sun. Humpbacks and gray whales swim by on their migrations. Cormorants, pigeon guillemots, and gulls nest in the cliffs below the fog signal building, which houses the historical Fresnel lens. Originally placed atop the lighthouse, the lens is made up of over 1,000 prisms and lit the way for ships for 100 years.
Pigeon Point offers two virtual programs and four in-person field trips. We highly recommend scheduling both virtual and in-person programs to help create a deeper and more meaningful connection for you and your students. Keep reading to discover more about the field trips offered at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park.
Experience Pigeon Point: This two-hour school program gives students an introduction to the many ways people and animals have experienced Pigeon Point over the centuries. Pigeon Point has been a place to visit, work, play, and live for many different people and animals for centuries. Students will participate in hands-on activities.
How Lighthouses Work: Why did people build lighthouses? In this two-hour program, students will conduct experiments to discover how the Fresnel lens worked and will explore topics like refraction and magnification. They will discover the crucial components of a lighthouse and how they worked together. Students exercise their observation skills and learn to see the world like a lightkeeper.
Life at a Lighthouse: This two-hour program introduces students to Pigeon Point Light Station as both a workplace and a home. Four lightkeepers and their families lived and worked together. Even kids! Students will experience a few aspects of daily life at a 19th century lighthouse, including games played by children of the keepers and taking weather measurements.
Migration and Natural Diversity at Pigeon Point: During this two-hour program, students will explore the natural world of Pigeon Point. Students will discover the vast diversity of life supported by this rocky point of the California coast and learn about the impact they can have on the environment around them. They will play games, remove invasive plants, and practice their observation skills.
Please note: All in-person options include a guided tour of the grounds around the lighthouse and and a visit in the historic Fog Signal Building.
Lighthouse Engineers: This one hour program introduces you and your class to the history of Pigeon Point. Students will have the opportunity to become lighthouse engineers and design their own lighthouses. Students will learn about the technology and engineering that goes into building and operating a lighthouse. Students will make decisions about how to handle unique challenges faced by builders at Pigeon Point. Their choices will impact the effectiveness of their lighthouse. Will it stand up to the weather? Will it guide ships?
Pigeon Point Light Station: Beacon of Hope: This 30-minute program introduces you and your class to the history of Pigeon Point and the reason a lighthouse was built in this location in the 19th century. Discover the engineering marvel of the Fresnel lens that lights Pigeon Point’s tower and the role lighthouses played in the development of the California coast. This program serves as an introduction to our onsite school programs. Students will need paper, pencils, and coloring supplies, such as colored pencils, crayons, or markers.