Events and Public Programs

Explore the diverse natural history of Santa Cruz with the Museum through a variety of programs — from lectures and workshops at the Museum to guided hikes and Mobile Museums around Santa Cruz County. Gain insight, build new skills, share your stories, and befriend fellow naturalists.


Open House: A Trip to the Moon
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

Saturday, July 20 | 7-9:30 p.m.
Location: Museum

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing during a special open house with the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History! Join experts on a voyage of discovery through astrophysics, selenology (or the geology of the moon), the history of the first moon landing, and more during this free open house exploring the science of space. Learn more.

Naturalist Night: The Natural History of Insects

Thursday, July 25 | 7-8:30 p.m.
Location: Museum
Pre-registration recommended

Dr. Peter Oboyski, Curator of the Essig Museum of Entomology at UC Berkeley, will guide us on an exploration of the natural history of insects. Learn more.

First Friday: Coastal Landscapes
Photography by Cody Mattson
Part of our Summer Art Series

Friday, August 2 |5-7 p.m.
Location: Museum

Join us for the opening reception of Cody Mattson’s photography exhibit, “Coastal California.” This First Friday celebration is free to the public and is an opportunity to meet the artist while enjoying wine and snacks! Learn more.

Guided Hike: Hiding in Plain Sight (Insects and More)

Saturday, August 10 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Mima Meadow
Pre-registration required

Join entomologist Dr. Peter Oboyski and ecologist Alex Krohn for a walk of discovery as we hunt for insects, spiders, and other hidden gems of the meadow, including host plants and predators, and learn how an ecosystem is more than just a collection of species. Learn more.

Workshop: Natural History Ink Journaling

Thursday, August 15 | 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Pre-registration required

Explore the familiar California Scrub Jay with newfound appreciation through this inking workshop led by Hajra Meeks. Learn inking techniques, layout tips, and explore how adding water to an ink illustration can transform your image. Learn more.

Naturalist Night: The Stories Behind Our Murals

Thursday, August 22 | 7-8:30 p.m.
Location: Museum
Pre-registration recommended

Join local artist Ann Thiermann for an evening exploring the many murals she has created for public spaces, nature centers and our very own Museum. Learn about the research, staging, sketching, and interviews that must be done before creating natural history murals. Learn more.

Naturalist Night: Loma Prieta + 30

Thursday, October 17 | 7-8:30 p.m.
Location: Museum
Pre-registration recommended

Join local author Frank Perry, curator of the Capitola Historical Museum, for a lecture remembering the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake on the 30th anniversary of the event. We’ll explore the quake within the context of local geology, the history of earthquakes in this area, some of the curious phenomena associated with the shaking, and what the future may hold. Learn more.

Rockin’ Pop Up

Monthly, 4th Saturdays 10 a.m. – noon
Location: Museum
Free with Admission

Have a rock that needs identifying? Want to learn more about the geology of Santa Cruz? Like digging for fossils? Join Gavin and Graham — also known as our “Geology Gents” — for our monthly rock-talk days. Every fourth Saturday of the month, these PhD students from UC Santa Cruz will be at the Museum, ready to ID your local (or not-so-local) geologic finds, as well as show off a rotating collection of specimens. So get ready to talk shop with these rock jocks!

July: In addition to our pop-up on July 27, Gavin and Graham will also share information about selenology (or the geology of the moon) at our free open house celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, A Trip to the Moon on July 20.
August: There will be no Rockin’ Pop-Up in August.


Member events provide our supporters with behind-the-scenes opportunities to connect with the Museum. Join our family of Members to receive invitations to Member events and other benefits. Learn more.

Want to know more about our events or share your suggestions about potential topics? Email us at

CLICK HERE to view Past Events.