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Things To Do

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!

  • 830 Dorothy Rd, Aromas, CA 95004
    Youth and their CASAs are able to visit once a week, appointments are required. While there, they spend time with the horses and are able to groom and play with them, spend time in the arena with them, and even do a bit of riding.

    Appts offered each Saturday of the month. Appointment times are scheduled as a "flexible" hour while we get up and running, stay from 12-3 if nobody else has filled the spots. We operate on horse time!

  • 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 or call (831) 454-7229 to schedule your tour.

  • Free passes offered through the Santa Cruz Public Library Shelf to Shore Program. 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.

  • 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)

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Pet Pals

    Over 7500 gallons of fresh and saltwater fish. FREE. Call for hours. 3660 Soquel Drive, Soquel. Phone: (831)464-8775

  • Pet Smart

    Fresh and saltwater fish, birds, reptiles, dogs and cats. FREE. 490 River St., Santa Cruz. Phone: (831)429-2780