Did you know that the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History has connected people to history for over a century? That's pretty impressive!
Now, it can be your turn to explore the rich and fascinating history of Santa Cruz and what makes the region unique, from the diverse plant, animal and human communities that stretch from the Monterey Bay shoreline to the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains!
The collections at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History are the very heart of the museum. The meticulous presevation of ethnographic, biological and historic artifacts mean that the exhibits you'll experience at the museum will offer an amazing learning experience. More importantly, it's these exhibits that act as a window into the past, and also preserve this history for generations to come!
The current collection of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History contains over 16,000 specimens and artifacts, however only a small percentage are on show at any one time. This just means you'll have to keep going back to see more!
From fossils to shells, to minerals and even animals and insects within the Natural History collection, to fine arts, ethnography and even a Surfing Museum, there is so much to see and learn!
Keep an eye out for events that the museum hosts across the year, you might not want to miss out!
Parking is available on Pilkington Avenue or in surrounding streets. Be Green! Consider walking, biking, or carpooling to visit the Museum. Bike parking available. Plan your trip on the bus. 1 hour parking permits will be issued to visitors if parking on the Museum-side of Pilkington.Get directions
Free under 18 years
Free for members
Admission is FREE the first Friday of every Monday, with special hours of 11am - 8pm!
The Museum Store is a great resource for unique nature-themed gifts, scientific illustration, and natural history books and field guides. 100% of your purchase supports our mission to connect people with science and nature! There is also an online store if you want to pick up some items remotely
The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is a leader in environmental education in Santa Cruz County, serving more than 30,000 children and adults each year! There are field trips, from K thru High Schoo, as well as self-guided group visit opportunities. You can also request a lesson plan online!
The Museum’s exhibits exist on one floor and can be accessed via ramps with no obstacles. Stools, chairs and benches are spread throughout the galleries. The grey whale statue can be reached via a gravel path through our Coastal Terrace garden at the front of the Museum. Trained service animals are permitted inside the museum, but therapy or emotional-support animals (or pets) aren't
Photography is welcome in the galleries! Consider tagging the Museum on social media (@santacruzmuseum). Artists may sketch museum specimens on exhibit, and they are happy to provide chairs or stools for your use.