There are many opportunities to visit with or observe animals in their habitats. Check out some of the local spots to check out with your youth!
As Santa Cruz County’s only open-admission shelter, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) provides animal rescue, regulation and humane care that protect the health, public safety and welfare of people and animals in Santa Cruz County. We currently rescue and assure safe, temporary shelter, veterinary and humane care for over 5,000 stray, unwanted, abandoned, mistreated, neglected and injured animals each year.
Want to learn more about your local animal shelter and get a behind-the-scenes look at animal rescue? Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter offers shelter tours of the Santa Cruz center for groups who are interested in learning about our work with animals. The tour starts with a discussion about our services, the different kinds of animals received, and ways people can help them. We love to show our community all the wonderful things we are up to and our life-saving programs through guided tours of the shelter. These tours can be tailored to any level of interest or age group. Contact Erika Anderson at Erika.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (831) 454-7229 to schedule your tour.
Enjoy a 1-hour tour of an Exotic/Wild Animal facility. See a collection of over 100 birds, animals (Big Cats, Elephants, Bears, Monkeys, etc.), and reptiles from around the world. You will get very close to many of these animals. Learn how they are trained to work in films and what they are really like to house and maintain. Visit the gift shop after your tour. Tours are at 1 p.m. daily (including weekends); Also at 3:00 during June, July & August. CASA has an annual pass! Contact Ana at email@example.com to get tickets! 400 River Rd., Salinas, CA. Phone: (800) 228-7382 www.wildthingsinc.com
CALL THE CASA OFFICE TO OBTAIN FREE PASSES A great opportunity to see beautiful marine animals and very cool exhibits, including an interactive kids’ area and touch tank. 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. Phone: (831) 648-4800
City Limits Ranch
City Limits Ranch in Watsonville offers free horse care and riding sessions for CASA kids. We’ve have a couple youth who’ve gone several times now and they absolutely love it! Hours are Friday afternoons from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. By appointment only. Children 9 and up. Call Karin at 831-239-4057 to set up an appointment. http://citylimitsranchequestrian.webs.com/
The Redwings Horse Sanctuary
Visiting the sanctuary includes getting up close and personal with the horses and learning how they got there. You can sponsor a horse for a fee and receive a photograph of your new friend. Tours – Open: M-F 10:00. 3:00; by appt. only on Saturday Phone: (831)386-0135. 47240 Lockwood-Jolon Road, Lockwood, CA. about 2 hrs south of Watsonville (use directions off their website. not GPS) www.redwings.org
Ostrich Ranch Tours
Take a tour of an ostrich ranch to see the baby and adult ostriches in all their glory. To set up a tour (preferably in the late morning, early afternoon), give Mickey a call at 831-728-7400 and he will set up a tour for you and your youth!
Tales to Tails
Tales to Tails is a literacy program where children can sign up for a private twenty-minute slot to read to an attentive certified therapy dog at a local library. Research shows that children who have frequent reading experiences such as reading aloud become more eager, skilled readers. Studies also show that therapy dogs provide a comfortable, nonjudgmental environment for children to practice.
For a list of times and locations, click here!
UCSC Long Marine Lab & Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Touch sea stars, anemones, and an 85-foot blue whale skeleton. Learn about research in progress. Whale watching telescopes are on-hand. Tours available to see dolphins and sea lions. Daily Tours: Tues-Sun 10:00. 5:00, Closed Mondays and some holidays. Reservations for special tours required on weekends. Check website for entry fees and “FREE days”100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz. Phone: (831)459-3800 http://seymourcenter.ucsc.edu/
Riding lessons, trail rides on the beach, horse camps. get acquainted with horses of all types at this special facility. Call for a special tour or to set up lessons. 783 San Andreas Road, Watsonville (on the Monterey Bay Academy property) Director: Anne Phipps (831) 761-1142
Summer Lessons: If a child is interested in attending the summer lessons (4 lessons total) it costs $200 total. The best time to inquire about summer scholarships is March of each year. Scholarships are taken up fast, so the sooner the Advocate inquires about summer riding lessons and scholarship the better chance their child may get it. Waiting last minute won’t guarantee for the child to get the scholarship.
Over 7500 gallons of fresh and saltwater fish. FREE. Call for hours. 3660 Soquel Drive, Soquel. Phone: (831)464-8775
Fresh and saltwater fish, birds, reptiles, dogs and cats. FREE. 490 River St., Santa Cruz. Phone: (831)429-2780