Outdoor Education

Explore Santa Cruz County's coastal redwood forests, meadows, and streams! Through the use of science inquiry, games, and other activities, participants learn ecological concepts and discover the interrelationships between plants and animals!

Outdoor Education at County Parks

Learn about our outdoor education programs!

Agents of Discovery

READY, SET, EXPLORE! The Agents of Discovery mobile app game gets kids outdoors, active and engaged with the natural world at several County Parks, including Quail Hollow Ranch, Anna Jean Cummings Park and Pinto Lake County Park! Through the fun and interactive missions, kids and adults alike will be challenged and rewarded as they explore.

Nature & Science Camps

Do you have a budding naturalist or backyard explorer? Perhaps a science sleuth or tech fanatic? Check out some of County Park’s nature & science camps! Taking place at County parks and open spaces, nature camp participants will awaken their inner ecologist and learn to become stewards of the land by uncovering local ecosystems and learning about Santa Cruz County's diverse plants and wildlife. We encourage your child's inquisitive nature and teach them how to conduct their own research in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, botany and so much more!

Quail Hollow Ranch Programs

Class Field Trips

If you are looking for a way to deepen your students’ connection to science and nature, check out our five-lesson sequence, which is based on the 5 E Instructional Model and aligned with NGSS. This sequence offers teachers two pre-field trip lessons, a guided field trip, and two post-field trip lessons. It was developed in cooperation with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education Teacher Leadership Institute. The new curriculum developed for Quail Hollow Ranch County Park uses an inquiry-based approach, adopted from the John Muir Laws Guide to Nature Journaling. It is aimed at fostering curiosity and heightening observation skills.

Docent/Volunteer-Led Interpretive Programs

Are you interested in learning more about the area's natural and cultural resources? Weekends and occasional Friday evenings are the times for the general public to enjoy interpretive programs at Quail Hollow Ranch. Topics range from stargazing, sandhills hikes, journaling, snake handling, and birding, to art classes, house tours, fiber arts demonstrations and history tours. Many programs are free or low-cost, and are offered to a variety of ages. Sign up for the Friends of Quail Hollow Ranch Newsletter for the most up-to-date information!

Educational Birthday Parties

Are you looking for something new and different to do for your child's birthday? Try our unique and entertaining educational birthday parties for children ages 5 to 11. Groups of up to 15 children can learn about science, nature, or history while celebrating their birthday. Bring the food and beverages, presents, goodie bags, and the kids – we'll do the rest! Choose from nine themes!

Get Involved with Outdoor Education Programs

Learn how to get involved with County Parks!

How to Register for Camps Online
  • Create an account on ActiveNet.
  • Navigate to the Activities tab in the menu.
  • Select Nature & Science Camps.
  • Register for your desired program and complete payment.
  • Thank you for choosing to participate in County Parks programs!
How to Book a Field Trip or Birthday Party
  • We are working hard to get these offerings back up and running.
  • If you are interested, please call our recreation staff at (831) 454-7941, or email us at

Contact Us


(831) 454-7901 (General)

(831) 454-7941 (Registrations)

Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, except holidays

Email: (General) (Registrations)

Our physical office is open, but staff availability is limited.