Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

Phone Number

(831) 425-5849

Park Hours

Call the park to confirm.
Thursday - Monday 10 am - 4 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day & 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

Winter Storm Closures

Due to extensive damage sustained during recent winter storms, many state parks in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties are fully or partially closed. Staff are currently assessing the condition of the parks for reopening.

Parks that are fully closed include Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Portola Redwoods State Park, and Butano State Park.

Parks that are partially closed include Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (Fall Creek subunit, various trails, and parking lots closed except main parking lot at visitor center), Wilder Ranch State Park (most trails closed; historic complex and Old Cove Landing Trail open), Seacliff State Beach (lower parking lot, picnic areas, and campground closed; visitor center open and pedestrian and bicylist access only at beach level), The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park (closed beyond Winter Gate; Aptos Creek Fire Road inaccessible by vehicle between Margaret's Bridge and old slide), and the Rancho del Oso subunit of Big Basin (East side access to the Nature Center is closed. West side is open from the yellow gate to the horse camp parking lot; Marsh Trail is open from horse camp parking lot to the creek. Waddell beach parking lot is also open.)

Now Hiring

 

Now Hiring Interpretive Park Aide

The Santa Cruz Mission SHP is looking for an Educator/Interpreter to join our dedicated team. Find out more about this entry-level position.

Teachers

Santa Cruz Mission will be offering in-person Mission Day programs for the 2022-2023 school year!

See program description and make a reservation now!

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 1800s, is the only surviving building from Mission Santa Cruz. Archeological excavations in the 1980s revealed that this had been Indigenous 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 seven-room building also includes information about Ohlone lifeways prior to European contact, archeological excavations and Rodriguez and Neary family histories. 

Centennial Bell

Virtual Bell Exhibit

Visit our online exhibit For Whom the Bell Tolls: Changing Symbolism of California Mission Bells, 1769 to today. Through this virtual exhibit, visitors have the opportunity to:

  • Investigate the history of the bells in the California Missions, and the bell markers along the El Camino Real.
  • Hear from a variety of perspectives throughout time from the 18th century to the present.
  • Think about the bells as symbols holding different meanings for different communities over time.

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.

   
       
       

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