If you hear from any of the locals here that you should visit the "Whale Museum" they're really talking about the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. It gained its nickname thanks to its life-size statue of a humpback whale. It is a Museum that is thought of highly in the community as being a small local treasure. This is not a grand attraction with an IMAX, an aquarium, planetarium etc. But it is an excellent example of how to run a more low-key museum that can appeal to young and old alike. It is interesting and informative in its own right and can make a good stop to get out of the sun on a hot summer's day too.
Things to Do
- The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History has been in operation since 1905. Its founding collection was donated by lighthouse keeper Laura Hecox. Over the years this collection has grown to include over 16,000 specimens and artifacts which cover a range of areas.
- The history of the local area around Santa Cruz is explored in an exhibit that details what life was like for the Ohlone peoples who populated the land before the arrival of the Europeans.
- Other exhibits give visitors the chance to learn about the geology, wildlife and habitats of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History Insider Tips
- You can find parking on Pilkington Avenue and the streets surrounding it. Between April and September you can pick up a free parking permit from inside the Museum to park on these streets.
- Admission to the Museum is free on the first Friday of every month.
- The Museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays.