Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

EFFECTIVE (November 23, 2020) - Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. The Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park grounds are now open on the weekends only.  

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be dynamic and fluid. As such, information on this webpage may change. Prior to visiting us, please check this webpage again right before you visit the park to find out if new guidelines are in place.

As a reminder, Californians are encouraged to avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained from others, and avoid congregating. Everyone has the responsibility to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Here are some additional guidelines for locals visiting the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park:

What is open now?
  • Parking and grounds of the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park on weekends only.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

At this park:
  • The Santa Cruz Mission building remains closed.
  • Visitor center and tours.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

Yes, please see below:

  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. No more than three households in a group is permitted. Mixing between group gatherings, large gatherings or parties is not allowed. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash. Restrooms will be temporarily closed in order to keep up with cleaning schedules.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. For details, please visit www.covid19.ca.gov.

Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. The need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

 

Phone Number

(831) 425-5849

Park Hours

Call the park to confirm.
Monday, Thursday - Saturday from 10am-4pm;
Sunday 12pm-4pm
Closed Christmas, Dec. 25

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs not allowed in building.

Driving Directions to Santa Cruz Mission SHP

The historic park is in downtown Santa Cruz; take Mission Street to Mission Plaza. The adobe is located one block off the plaza on School Street.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Museums
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

Visiting the Santa Cruz Mission

The Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park sits atop Mission Hill offering a patio, gardens, and excellent views of the city.  The park features the only building left of the 12th California Mission, Misión la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz, founded by the Franciscans in 1791.  Restored to its original appearance, the austere single-story adobe was once housing for the California Indian residents of the Mission. Exhibits inside tell the story of the mission through the lens of the experience of the Ohlone and Yokuts people.

Mission Exhibits

This portion of the adobe, built in the early 1800’s, is the only surviving building from Mission Santa Cruz. Archeological excavations in the 1980’s revealed that this had been Indian family housing, the only example of its kind still standing in California today.  The story of the Ohlone and Yokuts Indian experience at the Santa Cruz Mission is depicted through exhibits and a wall-sized movie projection.  These are featured on guided tours, and may also be viewed at leisure on self-guided tours.  The 7-room building also includes information about Ohlone lifeways prior to European contact, archeological excavations and Rodriguez and Neary family histories. 

Reexamining Our Past

At Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park (SHP), we acknowledge that for California Native Americans, this is a site of great loss and trauma. The Spanish Mission system disrupted Native lifeways and traditions through the use of forced manual labor, severe punishments, and the spread of deadly disease. Despite this violence, California Native American people survived, persisted, and continue to practice their culture and traditions. It is our responsibility to share this complex and difficult history with the public in an appropriate and respectful way. The devastating legacy of the Spanish mission system is still widely felt today.

The mission was built on the traditional lands of the Uypi people, who are the ancestral relatives of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Many California Native American tribes and families, both near and far, were impacted by the mission. For some years now, park staff have consulted with the local Native community to listen to their needs and support their capacity to access cultural resources at the mission site and surrounding State Parks properties. In addition to this, interpretation at Santa Cruz Mission SHP has been updated in collaboration with the Amah Mutsun.

Still, there is more to be done. We commit to work with California Native American people to create a more welcoming place for healing and sharing of personal stories of survival and cultural resilience. These stories will help inform updated exhibits, educational content, and interpretive programming to tell a more accurate history of the mission.