Spring Camp: Santa Cruz from Top to Bottom

The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is proud to present a spring break full of exploration in and around the natural wonders of Santa Cruz! Kids grades 3-5 are welcome to join us as we explore the watershed, following the water’s path down the mountainside and into the depths of the ocean. Spend five days immersed in the science of nature, uncovering habitat mysteries and documenting discoveries. Our staff will provide meaningful experiences in nature, as well as hands-on science education through experiments, games, crafts, and more! Join us to build connections to nature and stewardship for our world.

Santa Cruz from Top to Bottom explores the unique ecosystems of our region, focusing on how each connects to the others (and to us) through water! Hike through local redwood, wetland, and sandy beach habitats, develop the skills of a naturalist and connect to the natural world. Each day will take us to a new location and a new field of study, with lots of hands on activities and experiential learning as we put together the natural pieces of our watershed. By the end of camp, you will become a proud protector of Santa Cruz, and share your discoveries with others to keep our natural world beautiful.

Join us to build connections to nature and stewardship for our world. CLICK HERE TO ENROLL

Dates: April 3 – 7
Times: Drop-off 9 – 9:30 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm | Aftercare 3:30 – 5:00
Grades: Campers currently enrolled in 3rd – 5th grade
Prices (includes materials and daily snacks): $265* non-members | $240 Museum members | Siblings get $20 off
Aftercare: $10 per hour | $60 for whole week (pre-purchase only, non-refundable) | Students who remain with us beyond camp hours (3:30 pm) are automatically enrolled in aftercare.
Ratio: 15 : 2

Museum Members receive priority registration, opening February 1. Members must LOG IN to receive their discount.
General enrollment opens: February 21.


*We have limited scholarships to support families with demonstrated financial need. CLICK HERE to apply for a scholarship. 

Daily Schedule and locations (we will meet at the Museum at the beginning and end of each day):

  • Monday: The Wonders of our Watershed
    Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
  • Tuesday: The Redwood Forest — Walking amongst giants
    Location: TBD (A nearby park with Redwood Forests) 
  • Day 3: The Wetlands — Bird songs fill the air
    Location: Neary Lagoon. 
  • Day 4: The Ocean — Peer beneath the surface
    Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History / Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center. We will meet at the Museum to start the day. 
  • Day 5: The Web of Life — It all comes back to us
    Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. We will meet at the Museum to start the day. Parents can swing by early for an open house display of all the crafts and creations from the week, led by the best docents we have — campers!

Cancellation Policy: All cancellations will incur a $15 processing fee. Cancellations at least 2 weeks before the start of camp will be refunded. Cancellations within 2 weeks of the start of camp may not be eligible for refund. If the Museum cancels camp for any reason, you will be fully refunded.

This is the first time that the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is offering a Spring Day Camp of this kind. Your feedback about the website, registration system, and camp are greatly appreciated. The Museum’s education staff has years of experience in environmental education, outdoor learning, and running camps at various outfits across the state and are eager to share their passion for the environment with your family. Feel free to share your thoughts, concerns, or questions with education@santacruzmuseum.org

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should my camper bring every day?
    Please send your camper with: LUNCH, layers, clothes that can get dirty during exploration, sturdy closed-toe shoes, water bottle, hat/sun protection, medicine (see below). Please label your camper’s belongings so we can help them keep track of their things.
  2. Does the Museum provide lunch?
    The Museum DOES NOT provide lunch. We will offer a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. Please provide a snack if your child prefers something specific.
  3. Should my camper bring medicine?
    If your camper needs to take medication during the day, please make sure that they have it with them including instructions that they can follow. Alert staff that your child has these. The Museum does not provide or administer medication of any kind.
  4. What if my camper has allergies?
    Please indicate your camper’s allergies and their severity (touch, inhalation, ingestion) upon registration. Include in your child’s daily pack any emergency medication as needed (anti-histamine, epi-pen, etc.) with clear instructions detailing symptoms and your preferred plan of action and doctor’s contact information.

    We may ask that all campers and staff restrict what they bring to camp if we find that we are unable to otherwise provide a safe environment according to the severity of a camper’s allergy.
  5. How will campers get to the field trip sites?
    The Museum will provide safe transportation to each site. We are fully insured to transport students and our instructors have impeccable driving records. Campers will wear seat belts at all times.
  6. Who are the camp staff?
    This camp has been developed by the Museum’s education team. This includes Education Manager, Felicia Van Stolk, who has a decade of experience leading and managing educational programs, including science camps. The lead instructor,  Ariel Hunter, is an experienced educator, camp leader, and environmental scientist. She is accompanied by other education staff and volunteers. All staff and volunteers have passed background checks. Staff are all CPR and First Aid certified. 
  7. Is there as Scholarship Fund?
    Yes! We welcome donations to support the scholarship fund. We offer full and partial scholarships to support families with demonstrated financial need. CLICK HERE to apply for a scholarship