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Maritime Mysteries and Monsters Events

  • 10/7 First Friday After Hours: Maritime Mysteries and Monsters
    Nerd out on your night out during special after hours events every First Friday. Free admission all day, with special outdoor festivities 5-8 p.m.🍻💥 October’s First Friday is the opening event for … Read more
  • 10/15 Nautical Knots and Macrame Workshop
    Join us for an outdoor workshop where we’ll practice tying knots for both practical and decorative purposes. Everyone will leave with a driftwood and macrame wall hanging, along with a slew … Read more
  • 10/20 Listening to Oceanic Giants with MBARI
    Sound travels powerfully in the sea, carrying a wealth of information about the oceanic environment and its sound-producing inhabitants. Some of this wealth has been captured in 7 years of continuous sound … Read more
  • 10/22 Family Fun: Pumpkin Carving!
    ‘Tis the season for pumpkin carving! BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) or purchase one from us as we create nature-inspired jack-o-lanterns using templates from the natural history museum. Carving materials will … Read more
  • 10/29 Museum of the Macabre
    Come in costume and imbibe cauldron-concocted cocktails while exploring the dark side of the sea. The sixth annual Museum of the Macabre delivers more than ever with freakish festivities and special … Read more
  • Contest | We’re Searching For Sea Monsters
    In honor of the new exhibit, Maritime Mysteries and Monsters, and the annual Museum of the Macabre halloween party, we’re searching for sea monsters! Share your photos, videos, artwork, or stories … Read more

9/17 Coastal Cleanup Day

Join us for the largest volunteer event in the country! California Coastal Cleanup Day welcomes more than 60,000 volunteers who will pick up hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash and recyclables from beaches, lakes, and waterways each year.

Help preserve wildlife by taking trash out of the environment. Volunteer alongside your families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, and service clubs. Thanks to Save Our Shores, we’ll provide everything you need to clean Seabright Beach safely and effectively.

Saturday, September 17 | 9 a.m. to noon
Location: Seabright Beach

Walk-ups are welcome. You can check-in starting at 9 a.m. at the entrance to Seabright Beach. All materials should be returned before 12 p.m.

What to Expect and Accessibility

  • We will meet you at the entrance to Seabright Beach (by the gate). Parking is available throughout the neighborhood. Restrooms are available at the beach.
  • You will be walking on loose sandy soil for as long and as far as you like.
  • We recommend that all volunteers wear closed-toed shoes, dress in layers, wear sun protection, and bring a filled reusable water bottle.
  • All cleanup materials are provided, including trash bags, grabbers, and disposable gloves. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring their own.
  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Every participant must complete 1 waiver; Participants under the age of 18 need to have a parent/guardian sign an additional waiver form. 
  • You can download the Clean Swell App (AppleGoogle) in advance of the cleanup and use it to record the debris you collect or you can use the paper data cards that we will provide at the event.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at volunteer@santacruzmuseum.org.

9/17 Saturdays in the Soil

It’s time to get your hands dirty! Learn about local ecology, native plants, and sustainable gardening while coming together as a community to steward Tyrrell Park through the City’s Adopt-A-Park program.

Saturday, September 17 | 10 a.m. to noon
Every third Saturday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Email volunteer@santacruzmuseum.org to RSVP

What to Expect

  • This native plant garden requires general landscaping, occasional watering, weeding, and replanting.
  • This program happens rain or shine, but we will cancel in the case of muddy conditions or inclement weather.
  • All ages are welcome; children under 14 require adult supervision.
  • Please follow latest state and local guidelines for covid safety at the time of the program.

Neighborhood Night

We invite our lower Seabright neighbors to join us in Seabright’s Tyrrell Park For Neighborhood Night. Enjoy local wine, beer, and food from our friends at Seabright Deli at this casual just for neighbors event to welcome the season. We’ll have good food and live music while we spend time together before the Museum’s Summer Kick-Off Festival — a free celebration for all ages on Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We would be grateful for contributions to support this year’s Summer Kick-Off Festival. Please consider becoming a sponsor so that we can acknowledge you at our during Neighborhood Night by making a donation during your registration.

Friday, June 24, 2022
5-7 p.m.

7/1 First Friday After Hours | MICRO

Nerd out on your night out!💥🍻  Join us for special after hours events every First Friday. Free admission all day, with special outdoor festivities 5-8 p.m.

July’s First Friday event will zoom into the microscopic world around us. Join local scientists and foodies for activities and displays that highlight the unseen. Food from Areperia 831 and adult drinks will be for sale. Featuring:

  • Cabrillo College
  • UCSC Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology
  • Equinox Wine
  • Driscoll’s
  • UCSC’s Women in Science and Engineering

Friday, July 1, 2022
5-8 p.m.
Location: Outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Accessibility

  • Drop-by anytime 5-8 p.m. to join the festivities!
  • Admission to the Museum is free all day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for for covid safety.
  • Restrooms and water fountains are available inside the Museum.
  • Activities will be on somewhat lumpy grass.

Patrons Reception

We are thrilled to celebrate the power of nature to connect us at our 2022 Patrons Reception. Please join us for light food, drinks, a preview of our new Remembering Castle Beach exhibit, and a chance to tour The Art of Nature after-hours. This reception is the opportunity to express our gratitude for your support of the Museum and our programs.

Friday, May 20, 2022
6-8 p.m.

What to Expect

  • Festivities will be outdoors, including appetizers, drinks, special collections on view, and a brief presentation.
  • Time inside the Museum to view The Art of Nature.
  • Masks are strongly recommended indoors.
  • Parking permits will not be required-parking is limited, so please plan a little extra time. Bike parking is always available.
  • We recommend wearing layers for potentially cool weather.

6/8 Nature Journal Studio

Nature journaling can help us view the natural world with new perspectives, learn about our surroundings, and see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

During monthly Nature Journal Studio sessions inside the Museum, Melinda Nakagawa will guide you through a topic as we practice skills in a group setting and share our learning with others. We will develop observation skills and awareness of nature, improve sketching skills, and practice strategies to bring the 3-dimensional world onto the page. Rather than an art class, nature journaling is about observation, curiosity, wonder, and honing these abilities.

While Nature Journal Studio is located in a primarily in indoor setting, focused on skills building and community, there are other opportunities for field experiences through Spark in Nature.

Wednesday, June 8 | 6:30-8 p.m.

Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Free with Admission*

Sign-up for other Nature Journal Studio events.
*Free for Members and Youth under 18 | $4 General | $2 Students and Seniors

Accessibility and COVID protocol

  • All experience levels are welcome. Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • You can attend one session or come each month.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety. Masks are required at all times.
  • Basic materials are provided, but feel free to bring your favorite nature journal tools.

About Melinda Nakagawa

Melinda Nakagawa is a biologist, naturalist, and educator with a passion and skill for connecting people to nature. She founded Spark in Nature to guide participants to cultivate a deeper relationship with the natural world, slowing down to nature’s pace and seeing rather than just looking at the world.

With an approach that bridges nature, art, and heart, she welcomes all people regardless of their skill level or background. Through her gentle guidance, hundreds of participants have awakened their spark of curiosity, sense of wonder, and connection to the natural world.

Melinda has partnered with local institutions such as the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History to lead educator trainings on nature journaling. She leads the Monterey Bay Nature Journal Club’s free online Sunday sessions.

She has an M.S. degree in Marine Science, and has also worked as a naturalist guide, floral designer, and wildlife rehabilitator. For the past two decades Melinda has kept nature journals and continues to learn more from nature with each journal she fills.

Nature journal examples by Melinda Nakagawa.

6/4 Family Fun with Sun Prints!

As we get closer to the summer solstice, the sun becomes higher in the sky for longer each day, making it the perfect time to play with sun prints! We’ll try out several sun print techniques using cyanotypes, shadows, and construction paper, and we’ll also play with other types of nature prints. Materials will be provided and all are welcome! Swing by Tyrrell Park outside the Museum anytime between 1-4 p.m. to make prints with our Education staff.

Saturday, June 4, 2022
1-4 p.m. (drop by anytime!)

Free | Donations appreciated

Location: Outside the Museum in Tyrrell Park
1305 E. Cliff Dr. Santa Cruz, CA

5/28 Seabright Beach Cleanup

Help preserve wildlife by taking trash out of the environment. Volunteer alongside your community to keep our beaches and bay clean this Memorial Day Weekend. Thanks to Save Our Shores, we’ll provide everything you need to clean Seabright Beach safely and effectively.

Saturday, May 28, 2022
9-11 a.m.
Location: Entrance to Seabright Beach

What to Expect and Accessibility

  • We will meet you at the entrance to Seabright Beach (by the gate). Parking is available throughout the neighborhood. Restrooms are available at the beach.
  • You will be walking on loose sandy soil for as long and as far as you like.
  • We recommend that all volunteers wear closed-toed shoes, dress in layers, wear sun protection, and bring a filled reusable water bottle.
  • All cleanup materials are provided, including trash bags, grabbers, and disposable gloves. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring their own.
  • You can download the Save Our Shores Marine Tally App (AppleGoogle) in advance of the cleanup and use it to record the debris you collect, or you can use the paper data cards that we will provide at the event.
  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Every participant must complete 3 waivers.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at volunteer@santacruzmuseum.org.

4/1 VIP Exhibit Walk-Through: The Art of Nature

The Art of Nature returns for the Museum’s 34th year celebrating science illustration in our region by highlighting the work of local artists. Members at the Pat & Kirk Smith level and above are invited to join us for a special behind-the-scenes walk-through with exhibit curators and artists before the Member opening begins.

Need to upgrade your membership? Upgrade today!

Friday, April 1, 2022
5-6 p.m.
Benefit for Members at the Pat & Kirk Smith level and above.
Registration is required.

About the Exhibit

Scientific illustration brings to life the wonders of nature, from minute zooplankton to vast habitats. Explore the beauty and fine details of the world around us in the special exhibit featuring works from over 30 local artists in a variety of mediums, all sure to inspire curiosity and deepen connections with science and nature. The Museum has been exhibiting science illustration since 1989 and this beloved annual show is guaranteed to appeal to lovers of both science and art. On view April 2-June 5, 2022.

Support for The Art of Nature comes from Good Times Weekly, Santa Cruz County Bank, and the Hyatt Family.