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Virtual Exhibits

A series of lightening bolts descends grey clouds towards the ocean, with a cresting wave of glowing blue in the foreground.

2020 Vision

As a community, Santa Cruz County residents found healing and solace in nature throughout 2020, but always with the stark reminder that natural phenomena can completely alter our ways of life. These images, and their stories, explore how our community has captured and reflected upon this unique year. Explore the virtual exhibit.

Ohlone Basket

First Peoples of California

In this virtual exhibit, explore the many ways Native Californians have survived and thrived through their knowledge and use of the natural landscape. Text, video, slideshows, and learning extensions bring the Museum’s physical exhibit to life in the digital realm.

At the Museum

Permanent Exhibits

Man showing a young child the tidepool

The Museum Permanent Exhibits focus on the natural history of the Santa Cruz region  and the Monterey Bay. This includes: Santa Cruz from Shoreline to Summit, First Peoples of California, Geology of Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay Marine Life, Garden Learning Center, and Santa Cruz Naturalist exhibit.

Special thanks to Donna Meyers and Birdie Hunter, the Pat and Kirk Smith Family, Patty Quillin, Randy Widera, Rick and Cole Jones, Santa Cruz Longboard Union, the Seaside Company, and Steve Mandel and Carol Foote for their support of our Santa Cruz Naturalist exhibit.

Investigation StationsMuseum activity

Explore science, nature and culture through hands-on exhibits that rotate regularly in our galleries. Learn more.