Santa Cruz County offers a number of free and low cost summer events, programs and activities in our local parks. These family friendly options include everything from free movie nights, to picnic locations with ocean views, short and easy hikes in the redwoods and even free family swim days.
Events and Activities
Free family-friendly movie nights will be held on the third Thursday of the month (until October) at Heart of Soquel Park. Films begin at 8 pm (or dusk) and you are welcome to show up early to bring a picnic to enjoy. While parking is limited, there is free parking at the public parking lots nearby. More information is available on the Parks website at scparks.com
Looking for a family swim day? While the pool open year-round there is an upcoming free swim day later this summer at the Simpkins Swim Center in Live Oak. Use the water slide, climbing wall, inner tubes and more in the warm water pool. September 3 from 12 – 4 p.m.
For those looking to take a short hike and learn about the diversity of birds in our area, there is a free beginning birding class at Quail Hollow Ranch on Sunday, July 15 from 8 – 10 a.m. All ages are welcome.
If your kids want to do a camp or class there are a number of options including two-week day camps in art and science. While these do have a fee they offer half-day programs in science exploration and art. Have you ever wanted to launch a rocket? Are you curious about how our muscles work, or the difference between acids and bases? You could do all this and more at the science exploration camp.
The art camp is designed to introduce various media to participants, build drawing and painting skills, and instill a life-long love for creating art. Students will have a chance to express themselves using a variety of techniques and explore different art forms, including drawing, painting, printmaking and collage. More details can be found by contacting the Parks Department.
Over the last few years, significant investments have been made to parks throughout the County. The park improvements have focused on options for all age groups — with new tot lots for the younger kids to climbing equipment and bike pump tracks for the older kids. All local parks are admission free and a great opportunity to explore.
Enjoy a picnic and ocean view (and the new playground equipment) at Seascape Park in Aptos. The older kids might enjoy the climbing equipment (also with an ocean view) at Seacliff Park in Aptos and families of all ages can enjoy the BBQs, climbing equipment and large slides at Anna Jean Cummings Park in Soquel.
In the near future there will be a new option for kids looking to ride their bikes. A new a bike pump track is slated for construction at Pinto Lake County Park. A pump track is a small, elevated bicycle path designed for riders of all ages and skill levels featuring a series of rollers and berms constructed using compacted dirt. Construction should be underway by September and completed before the end of October.
There is still more to be done to improve our parks. We are looking to find the final financing for the first all-inclusive playground in the county (LEOs Haven) and we do have a number of unmet needs in local parks including a permanent restroom at Seacliff Park, upgrades to Hidden Beach Park and more.
If you have any questions about parks or activities in the County, you can contact County Parks (831) 454-7901 or visit their website at scparks.com
If I can be of any help to you feel free to give me a call at (831) 454-2200.