The park is open every day from 10am to 4:30pm.
Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.
San Juan Bautista State Historic Park
Bienvenidos to San Juan Bautista State Historic Park
The park is part of a nationally recognized historic landmark adjacent to California's 15th Spanish-era mission. The park and its Plaza represent what was once the "town square" of the largest town in central California and a vital crossroad for travel between northern and southern California. Visitors can gain an appreciation of California's people, from Native Americans through the Spanish and Mexican cultural influences, right up to the American period in the late 19th century.
The park includes several structures built in the 1800s. The four main historic museums are the Plaza Hotel, the Zanetta House/Plaza Hall, the Plaza Stables, and the Castro-Breen Adobe. Many of the interiors are furnished with vignettes or colorful and informative exhibits that help create a unique learning environment for people of all ages. The park also features a blacksmith shop, a historic jail, and an early American settler’s cabin.
The park is open daily for self-guided visits and also offers guided walking tours by advanced reservation. Call 831-623-4881 for information.
Paid Interpreter-Led Programs for Schools
San Juan Bautista State Historic Park is proud to offer fourth-grade curriculum-based educational programs in English and Español to enrich your class field trip. Programs are offered four times each day, Wednesday through Friday, with two programs conducted at 10:30 am and two at 12 noon.
Call the state park's Interpreter’s office at (831) 623-2753 to book your program.
To book a FREE self-guided visit call Reserve-Califonia at 1-866-240-4655
The state park interpreters offer four different paid programs:
Mission Game, $75 - the best program for fall visitors. The students learn about the local Native Americans, the Spanish way of life, and the layout of a typical mission. Using either wooden blocks or laminated cards, the children design a mission that creates an efficient architectural layout.
California Overtime, $75 - the best program for an overview of California history. Students learn about the four main cultural groups living in California - the Native Americans, the Spanish, the Mexicans, and the Americans. The missions, ranchos, gold rush, and pioneer eras are covered. A few of the children will be chosen to place their faces in life-sized cardboard cutouts and “become” a person of the past.
Wagons West, $75 - the best program for learning about covered wagon travel. The students are placed into groups and decide which items they will carry in shoebox-sized “wagons”. A Wagon Master is chosen and the pioneers “head west”. Early travel methods are taught while the groups brainstorm to overcome hardships or enjoy good times. If the wagons don’t reach California by the end of the program, they have “busted”. NOTE due to a lack of materials, only one Wagons West program can be conducted each program period.
Days of Alta California, $90 – Bienvenidos! This program explores Alta California and its people in an hour-long discovery of historic lifeways. Students learn about aspects of Alta California’s unique culture revealed by an interactive examination of the roles of its people. Students understand that Californio women could own property; know the difference between Californio caballeros and California Native American vaqueros; and identify who would spend hours in the cocina, preparing meals including tortillas. Students experience tortilla making and have the opportunity to taste the finished product! The program integrates Spanish vocabulary throughout.
NOTE: the tortillas are made from flour, please notify park staff of dietary concerns. Due to a lack of materials, only one “Days of Alta California” program can be conducted each program period.
- Schools that DO NOT make a valid reservation to the park will be charged the park's day-use FEE.
- Reservations to the Park DO NOT include the Mission, reservations at the Mission are made separately.
- Mission Reservations, www.oldmissionsjb.org/activities/field-trips 831-623-4528. The mission is CLOSED ON TUESDAYS.
- Paid programs also include all-day admission to the state park with no additional reservation required.
- Paid Interpreter-Led programs require extra staff, failure to submit payment or last-minute cancellations will result in an invoice to the school’s district.
- Programs and activities may be limited or changed by weather.
- A teacher must be present during all Interpreter-Led programs.
- Can’t come to us? Call the state park and ask about Outreach Programs, at (831) 623-2753.