Day Trips

The Parks Department offers a wide variety of trips for older adults and seniors. We utilize luxury motor coaches (with a restroom onboard) for all trips. Included in the registration fee for each trip is bus transportation, tour guide, and entry fees; lunch is included only when specified.  Register NOW by calling  454-7941, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  You may also register on-line by clicking the program number (e.g. #13356).    

Monterey Zoo & National Steinbeck Center

Did you know we have a zoo in our backyard?!  Tour this fascinating facility, formerly known as Wild Things, which is currently in the process of converting to a full-fledged zoo.  See the new enclosures that house professionally & humanely trained wild/exotic animals for film, television, live productions, education and much more as well as offer sanctuary to many rescued animals.  After visiting the lions, tigers, and other beautiful and intriguing animals, we’ll have an opportunity to feed carrots to a very grateful elephant!  After washing up, we’ll stop for lunch on your own nearby. 

Next, we’ll board the bus and travel to the National Steinbeck Center, which houses the largest collection of Steinbeck archives in the United States, with various exhibits on his body of work and philosophy. There is also a wing dedicated to the experiences of agricultural workers in the United States, a topic that Steinbeck was passionate about.  This will make for a great day with a friend and/or grandchild!

Monterey & Salinas – Age 7+
Sat     4/28/18     8 AM–4 PM     $61 / $67     #17803


Discover Sausalito

Enjoy a pleasurable day as we journey to San Francisco Bay.  The fun begins aboard a ferry on a relaxing voyage complete with marvelous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and other Bay area attractions.  Disembark at Sausalito, a charming waterfront community often compared to the French Riviera because of its Mediterranean flair and breathtaking views.  Dine at one of the many open air cafés, waterfront restaurants, or pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in a picturesque setting.  Browse through unique boutiques and view the artwork displayed at various galleries throughout the downtown!

Pier 41 & Sausalito, CA – Age 30+
Thurs     5/10/18     7 AM–5 PM     $52 / $57     #17804


Ferry Building & Hornblower - Champagne Brunch Cruise

The first destination will be the Ferry Building Marketplace, where you can explore shops filled with local goodies and browse at the renowned Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Next, we will embark on a Hornblower Champagne Brunch Cruise, a nice 2-hour getaway featuring: free-flowing sparkling wine and bottomless mimosas; a brunch buffet stocked with classic breakfast dishes, mouthwatering lunch entrées and delectable desserts; live background music; and views of the San Francisco Bay.  Trip fee includes transportation, cruise, champagne brunch and brunch service fees.  The only drawback?  You have to get up a little early to make it happen.  Come on, you’ve got this!

Ferry Building & Pier 3, SF – Age 30+
Sat      6/16      7 AM–4 PM     $136 / $150     #18959


SF Giants & Oakland A’s Battle of the Bay Game

See the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics faceoff in one of the Bay Bridge Series bouts.Bring a friend or grandchild with you to enjoy this special day in the city.  Pack a lunch or grab a bite after we arrive at the park, where you will have a variety of food and beverage options to choose from. Fee includes transportation, shuttle from parking lot, and entrance to the game.   

SF Giants & Oakland A’s Battle of the Bay Game
Sun 7/15 8:30AM-6PM $145 / $160     #18960


Treasure Island’s TreasureFest

TreasureFest is a unique monthly festival that showcases the best of the bay area featuring: Over 400 curated vintage, antiques, craft and art vendors; more than 40 food trucks and tents; seasonal cocktails, local wines and craft brews; music and entertainment; and great views!  July’s TreasureFest theme is Hawaii.  Nau wale no!   

Treasure Island, SF - Age 30+
Sun 7/29    8AM-4PM      $43 / $47      #18961


Oakland Zoo’s New California Trail Exhibit & Chabot Space Center

Oakland Zoo’s California Trail exhibit is slated to open this summer and will feature eight native species in large, naturalistic habitats in a park-like setting.  Visitors to the park can now ride the gondola, stop by the San Francisco Bay Overlook and pause to reflect on the breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and six Bay Area counties, and enjoy chef-inspired cuisine and breathtaking views at The Landing Café.  Next, we will travel to the nearby Chabot Space and Science Center, where we will enjoy a guided tour of fascinating space-related artifacts and a Planetarium show.

Oakland Zoo, Chabot Space & Science Ctr., Oakland – Age 7+
Sat 8/11 8AM-6PM $76 / $84 #18962


Chardonnay II Cruise

Join us for a 2-hour cruise aboard the beautiful 70’ sloop, Chardonnay II on Thursday, September 6, from 12:30-2:30 p.m.  This FREE event is made possible by the generosity of Chardonnay Sailing Charters. This trip is open ONLY to seniors age 55+, who have NOT participated before; reservations will not be accepted from those who have previously attended. To make your reservation, please mail-in or walk-in your name, address, and telephone number by August 17, 5:00 p.m. to: Jessica Beebe, 979 17th Ave., Santa Cruz, 95062. Please neatly PRINT all of your information!  One entry per person. A drawing will be held on August 20 to choose the lucky winners for this year’s cruise.  A wait list will also be created. Winners will be notified via mail.  If you don’t hear from us it is because your name was not selected. 

CA Academy of Sciences & Golden Gate Park

The Academy of Sciences features a 4-story tropical rainforest, a fully-immersive digital screen by which to fly to the farthest reaches of the Universe, the deepest coral reef exhibit in the world and much more!  The 412,000 square foot structure is not only physically impressive, but is the greenest museum on the planet, with a 2.5-acre Living Roof, an expansive solar canopy, an extensive water reclamation system, and walls insulated with recycled blue jeans.  While in Golden Gate Park, you’ll have some time to explore on your own.  Recommendations include: dahlia garden at the Conservatory of Flowers, de Young Museum’s Hamon Observation Tower, affording 360-degree panoramic views, Japanese Tea Garden, or catch a free park shuttle and have lunch at Beach Chalet!  Trip fee includes transportation and entrance to the California Academy of Sciences.

Golden Gate Park, SF – Age 30+
Sat     8/25          8AM-6PM        $75/ $83        #18963


Jack London Square & SF Bay and Bridge Lights Cruise

The fun will begin in Jack London Square, where you’ll have time for dinner on your own and browsing in the shops and at a new biweekly event offering unique clothing and jewelry vendors.  Next, join the beloved River Dolphin crew for a 2.5-hr. narrated cruise and experience part of the San Francisco Bay from an entirely different perspective.  Discover the natural and cultural history of the waterfront and islands as you can only from the water, viewing Treasure Island, part of the Oakland Estuary, San Francisco City Front, Yerba Buena Island and lighthouse, and McCovey Cove near AT&T Park!  See the new construction and deconstruction of the Bay Bridge, and take a step back as you realize the breadth and magnificence of this bay and its attributes.  As darkness falls, we will enjoy views of The City lighting up as well as the Bay Bridge Lights Art Project, a 1.8-milewide and 500-foot-high never repeating, dazzling display of 25,000 LED lights.  Please note: we will return to Santa Cruz County after sunset.  Will this be a late night out? Yes, but it is sure to be well worth it! 

Jack London Square & Berkeley Marina – Age 30+
Sun     9/16     12:30PM-11:30PM      $99/ $109        #18964


Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

Do you want to experience the festivities of the season without the fuss?  Travel with us and enjoy the picturesque view along the coast on your way to the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival with no concerns about finding parking when you arrive!  Don’t miss the massive, mind-boggling champion pumpkins on display, the mesmerizing “Picasso of pumpkin carvers” sculpting and shaping one-of-a-kind masterpieces, harvest-inspired crafts by America’s top artists, festive food and drink and the Great Pumpkin Parade.

Half Moon Bay – Age 7+
Sat           10/13            7:30AM-4:30PM        $39/ $43         #18965


Director’s Choice Tour!

Join Santa Cruz County Parks Director Jeff Gaffney for our inaugural Director’s Choice Tour.  Jeff grew up in the Gilroy area exploring the outdoors both locally and throughout California. He became a Park Ranger for the County of Santa Clara and later held various positions with California State Parks.  His passion for the region and knowledge of unique locations to explore is sure to lead to an informative and adventurous day! These Director’s Choice Tours have an air of mystery about them. But you can rest assured they’re designed with you in mind and will be implemented similarly to the other trips that we offer. This year’s adventure features a tour of the magnificent and historic Grand Island Mansion and includes a lovely brunch on the grounds.  You will have to join us to discover what else is in store!

Walnut Grove & more! - Age 30+ 
Sat         10/20           8AM-7PM       $129 / $142         #18970


Golden Gate Fields

Join us in an exciting outing to Golden Gate Fields where we will enjoy a day of thrilling Thoroughbred racing and a lavish luncheon buffet in the Turf Club. The expansive viewing area offers a close-up view of your favorite rounding the turn, heading toward the finish line. Don’t miss out on action packed horse racing, a mouth-watering meal and a chance to taste victory!  Fee includes transportation, admission, reserved seating, racing program, and luncheon buffet.

Golden Gate Park, SF – Age 30+
Sat         10/27           9AM-6PM           $85/ $94          #18966


Port Chicago Tour by Land and Water

The water portion of our tour will begin in Vallejo, home to Mare Island, a prominent naval shipyard dating back to the early days of California.  Once aboard the River Dolphin, we will be treated to a narrated cruise down the Carquinez Strait, past Benicia and under a number of bridges.  Lunch will be served onboard as we approach Port Chicago from a distance and begin to unfold its intriguing and historically significant past. Next, we will travel by bus to the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial for an opportunity to dive deeper into the 1944 Port Chicago disaster.  Learn how the explosion and its aftermath led to the largest Naval mutiny in US history and how the subsequent trial became a major catalyst for the United States Navy to desegregate following the war.  Trip fee includes: transportation, narrated cruise, lunch and guided tour of memorial.

The last day to register is October 12.  Because the memorial is located on an active base, identification information for each participant must be submitted in advance.

Vallejo Marina & Port Chicago, CA – Age 30+
Sa   11/3    6:30 AM-4:30 PM    $128 / $141    #19122

Port Chicago, CA – Age 30+
Sat        11/3         6:30AM-4:30PM          $117 / $129         #19122


Mamma Mia! & Carmel

The day will begin with a beautiful drive to Carmel-By-The-Sea, where you will have time to browse and enjoy lunch before traveling by bus or, if you choose, walking to the nearby historic Golden Bough Playhouse.  There you will be treated to professional theatre company Pacific Repertory Theatre’s presentation of Mamma Mia!, brought back by popular demand and sure to delight!

Carmel-by-the-Sea – Age 30+
Sun           11/18         8:30AM-5:30PM        $75 / $83         #18967


San Francisco Shopping & Vasona Park Festival of Lights

The fondest childhood memories of the holidays often involve viewing festive holiday light displays.  Join us for a fun outing, beginning with an amazing shopping experience in downtown San Francisco. The bus will drop us off in the heart of Union Square, where you will be able to choose from a variety of stores and restaurants. If you like, you may choose to stay in one location and enjoy shopping at the Westfield San Francisco Centre. The Centre is home to the second largest Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s in the country as well as over 170 specialty stores and exclusive boutiques for an awe-inspiring blend of commerce, couture, cuisine and culture.  On our return trip, we’ll stop off at Vasona Park’s very popular Festival of Lights, where the bus will meander through a 1.5-mile path of themed light displays. Please note: we will arrive back in Santa Cruz County after sunset.

Union Square/Westerfield Ctr., SF & Vasona Park, Los Gatos - Age 30+

Tues 12/4 8:30AM-7:30PM $49/ $54 #18968


Hamilton February 2019 & Hello Dolly! Feb./Mar. 2019

Hamilton is returning to the Orpheum in San Francisco in winter 2019.  We will make an attempt to acquire group tickets if they are available.  Hello Dolly! has been revived and is breaking box office records, receiving rave reviews!  Call 454-7941 to be placed on interest lists for these shows and we’ll notify you when information becomes available.

Holidays at Filoli

Experience honored family traditions at the historic Filoli House, featuring a story of Christmases from 1917 to 1975 with lush and beautiful décor in every room. After a guided house tour, meander through the gardens, adorned with special holiday touches.  Enjoy festive entertainment, grab a bite in the Quail’s Nest Café and indulge in holiday shopping in a setting reminiscent of European Christmas markets.

Filoli, Woodside - Age 7+
Sat         12/8       8AM-3PM         $65 / $72      #18969


Fairmead Fossils, Air Force One & Pea Soup Andersen’s

Did you know that Columbian mammoths, camels, giant ground sloths and dire wolves once roamed the San Joaquin Valley floor?  Tour the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County and learn about one of the largest fossil sites on the West Coast, its contents and how it was discovered.  Next, we will travel the short distance to the Castle Air Museum.  In addition to a guided tour of fabulous aircraft displays and war-time memorabilia, we will be treated to a tour of Air Force One, the VC-9C that served the administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush! Lastly, we will stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s for a mouthwatering buffet dinner.  Bring the whole family for a fantastic intergenerational opportunity!  Trip fee includes transportation, museum entries, Air Force One tour, dinner and dining service fees.

Chowchilla, Atwood, Santa Nella - Age 7+
Sat        4/27/19        7:30AM-6:30PM          $120 / $132       #18972



Santa Cruz County Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services
979 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
General Information (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)
Phone: (831)