Pajaro Beach Area Attractions
Año Nuevo State Reserve
Hwy 1 between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay Recorded
Information: (650) 879-0227
For Año Nuevo guided walk reservations: (800) 444-4445
Make your reservation to view the massive 3-ton elephant seals battle for mates while females give birth to their young on the beaches of the largest mainland breeding colony in the world. Reservations for Año Nuevo start October 20th for individuals and the first Saturday of October for School Group Walks. Reservations are required December 15 – March 31.
3050 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy
Phone: (408) 840-7100
This unique theme park combines trees, flower gardens and 40 amusement park rides in a mid-20th century Silicon Valley historical setting. Open daily throughout the summer, after Labor Day to Memorial Day open some weekends in the spring and fall weather permitting. Check web site or call for current operating hours.
Elkhorn Slough Foundation, P.O. Box 267, Moss Landing, CA 95039
Phone: (831) 728-5939
National Estuarine Research Reserve established nationwide as field laboratories for scientific research and estuarine education. 5 miles of trails that meander through beautiful oak woodlands, calm tidal creeks and freshwater marshes.
Santa Cruz Harbor, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 and Elkhorn Slough,Moss Landing, CA 95039
Phone: (831) 479-1121 and (831) 724-5692
Monterey Bay and Elkhorn Slough, a kayaker’s dream. Both marine environments are home to otters, seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales and an infinite variety of birds: both shorebirds and pelagic. Let our professiona guides show you these amazing edcosystems. Open daily and reservations are required.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row, Monterey
Phone: (831) 648-4800
More than 100 galleries and exhibits devoted to the diverse habitats of Monterey Bay plus more than 300,000 animals and plants representing 571 species of fishes, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles, birds and plants. Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily except Christmas.
465 Mystery Spot Road, Santa Cruz
Phone: (831) 423-8897
It can’t be explained. It can’t be described. It can only be experienced. Stranger than Fiction — Nature’s Mysterious Phenomenon — Believe It or Not…thousands have visited since 1940. Summer hours (starting Memorial Day): 9 a.m. – last tour 7 p.m. Winter hours (starting Labor Day): 9 a.m. – last tour 4:30 p.m. Cameras and video cameras welcome!
National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street, Salinas
Phone: (831) 763-0939
The National Steinbeck Center is dedicated to unifying the diversity of the spirit that flows through Steinbeck Country, carrying his vibrancy and literary genius into the 21st century and beyond. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, and Easter.)
Roaring Camp Railroads
5355 Graham Hill Road, Felton
Phone: (831) 335-4484
America’s last steam-powered passenger railroad with year-round passenger train service providing visitors with the rare opportunity to ride back into the pages of history through some of the most beautiful and primitive scenery in the American West. Open daily throughout the summer, weekends and major holidays the rest of the year. Call or check web site for hours of operation and train schedules.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: (831) 423-5590
California’s only seaside amusement park. Featuring 28 rides including the Giant Dipper roller coaster and Looff Carousel merry-go-round, miniature golf, arcade games, laser tag arena and mile-long sandy ocean beach. Open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. Open weekends throughout the year weather permitting. Best to call for latest operating hours schedule.
Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
2601 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville
Phone: (831) 724-5671
Santa Cruz County Fair is scheduled for early September every year. Every Friday night April through September NASCAR races at Watsonville Speedway at the Fairgrounds.
Santa Cruz Wharf
Pacific Avenue & Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: (831) 724-5671
Combining the natural splendor of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with the fun and recreation of the largest working wharf on the West Coast.
Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory
End of Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz
Phone: (831) 459-3800
The Seymour Center reflects the world of the scientist portraying the labs and seawater aquaria where scientists spend their days. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday Noon – 5 p.m., Closed Monday. Ask at the front desk about the hourly lab – wide tours to view the dolphins.
Sierra Azul Nursery & Gardens
2660 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville
Phone: (831) 763-0939
Featuring plants from the five mediterranean climate zones in the world such as manzanita, ceanothus, sages, flowering currants, toyon, and iris. Retail sales and two acres of demonstration gardens. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
(9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in winter)
University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum
1156 High Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: (831) 427-2998
A unique collection of plants from Australia, California, South Africa and New Zealand. Non-lending library onsite and gift shop. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Explore the Bay on one of several boat tours out of Moss Landing. Discover animals such as seabirds, whales, jellyfish and turtles on a nature trip. Less than a 15 minute drive from Pajaro Dunes. Tickets available at our registration desk.