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State Parks in Santa Cruz County


(Site Photos) Fishing.jpgSummer Explorations

    My brothers and I grew up in a very small town in the country, exploring  brooks, streams, rivers, woods, caves, swamps and hills within about a mile radius of home base.  We often packed a picnic lunch in bandanas tied on a stick and took off for the day.  We weren’t allowed to swim in the river, a rule we selectively obeyed.  Looking back, it’s a miracle we survived.  From those youthful idyllic summer days I’ve retained a love of nature and an appreciation of its restorative qualities anytime I need re-balancing.


    Right here in Santa Cruz County we can get out of the house and into nature in less than 10 minutes.  This is good for us and very good for our children.  We are blessed with many state parks offering structured presentations by docents, guided or independent and easy to challenging(Site Photos) StateParkCastleRock.jpg walks/hikes, with a diversity of terrains: beaches, tide pools, sloughs, meadows, mountains, redwoods.  Local state parks have brochures and maps at their entrances or visitor centers.  Lots of information is available at Santa Cruz State Parks

and also at That's My Park.


    Another great resource for the family that wants to spend time hiking is The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book, available at local bookstores.  It has maps, photographs and illustrations covering 120,000 acres of parks in Santa Cruz and other nearby counties as well as camping and natural history information. 


Hike Now with Toddlers

Reap the Rewards When They Are Teens


Our friends Anne and Dave, experienced hikers, started family hiking before the kids were born and continue now with their teens.  They have progressed from long hikes “before kids,” to little 100 yard hikes with toddlers, to hikes where they're challenged to keep up with their teens and their friends.  Diane Cornell of Outdoor Science takes teens on co-ed hiking tours in Europe.  We asked her how she keeps them from fooling around, “Easy, I keep them moving all day.”  Imagine!

If you’re “hiking” with babies, bring more supplies than you think you’ll need, especially diapers, but we’re not telling you anything new.  With toddlers, expect a lot of stop/explore pauses and be content with short hikes.  Start early when the energy is high.  Soon your toddler will ask to carry his own backpack, like yours!  Children easily become enchanted with(Site Photos) StateParkWaterfall.jpg minutiae while you want to move!  Relax, enjoy their discoveries.  It’s all new to them and admit it, their delight in a worm or moss-covered stick can treat you to the refreshing views of little people.  Bribery with food is a great technique for moving them along, “When we get to that tall tree, let’s eat some carrots.”

As you go along, introduce good safety habits.  Teach them about not touching poison oak, picking up sticks (might be a snake), avoiding cactus.  Let them carry their own water bottle --one with a cap that defies spilling when dropped-- and stop for water sips frequently.  Teach them about the whistles you will all be wearing around your necks. Three sharp blows is the universal call for help.  Explain to them that if they get lost and cannot see anyone in their group, to stay in one spot and use the whistle.  Don’t allow playing with the whistle at home or on a walk/hike, although pretend/practice at home is recommended.  Wear good shoes and bring extra clothes.

Let them help plan the snacks: fruit, crackers & cheese, nuts, energy bars, carrots, celery, trail mix, etc.  Look through bird and animal books before hikes so they can be watching for them.  Often park brochures will have illustrations of local critters.  Let them pack their own backpacks to wear on a walk around the block.  Could be they will change their minds about how much to put in it.  Of course bring along a container for packing out trash.  Lastly begin with a near-at-hand park!

 Bonne nuit! Brownie           




(Icons/Graphics) LadyDetectives.jpg            Events for Your Pleasure! 


Full Calendar


Weds 6/18 6-8pm Wednesday Night Twilight Concert Esplanad Park Capitola


Thurs 6/19 9-noon Plein Air Event, tour house and watch artists, Quail Hollow


Fri 6/20 6:30 & 8:30 Boardwalk Summer Concert: 20 - The Romantics - “That’s What I Like About You” & “Talking In Your Sleep”


Sat 6/21 6:30-9am Tide pooling with John Pearse


Sat 6/21 9-5 Smart Gardening Faire


Sat 6/21 All day, Japanese Cultural Fair


Sun 6/22 12-3pm Mushroom Farm Tour and Picnic, Slow Food


Sun 6/22 10:30-1 Kids Music Concert, Carnival & Cookout

Oren and the Hiccups

Full Calendar

Mon 6/23 11am Story Time with Billie Harris, Capitola Book Cafe


Mon & Tues 6/23 & 24  after 5pm Boardwalk "Locals" Specials: 75 cents or one ticket/ride


Mon & Tues 6/23 & 24 Aikido Free Visitor Days


Mon-Fri,6/23-27 MAH Summer Art Week

Students will sharpen their drawing skills through the use of pencil, charcoal and pastel to create beautiful pieces that capture their spirit. Individual expression and style is encouraged! Taught by Gina Garcia, Santa Cruz County SPECTRA artist. Grades 2-5. 9am - 2pm.  Scholarships are available.

Win A Lands End $100 Gift Card!

Lands' End is one of those companies that really values moms' opinions.  Here's a way to have your voice heard and really make a difference when it comes to preparing your children for the upcoming school year.

Please take a few minutes to complete the Lands' End Back-To-School 2008 Survey. The survey consists of 18 multiple-choice questions. Upon completing the survey, your name will be entered to win one of five $100 Lands' End Gift Cards. To be eligible to win, you must complete the survey by midnight (CST) on Wednesday, June 25.

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    Moms are the most powerful consumer group in the world. Companies like Lands' End each day try to connect with you with marketing messages, product information and brand promises. Some do it well while others fall short.


    BSM Media offers a variety of ways to engage with companies. They are fun, educational and empowering and allow you to share free samples with friends, host in home parties or review the newest products for moms. Best of all, YOU get to choose the programs!  Click on MomSelect to explore this opportunity.

Adventure Sports

Weekend Adventures

for Families

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Stillwater Cove

Tomales Bay

Adventure Sports Unlimited

Swimming Lessons AND Water Adventures

303 Potrero #15


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...where you create meals in minutes!

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9600 Hwy 9
Ben Lomond

 Connect with the
Find Sitters
Offer sitting
Trade Play Dates

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Where Locals
Shop for
Great Meats,
Cheeses, Produce
and Wines
Banciforte and Soquel 
Santa Cruz

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Summer Programs

Santa Cruz Spanish

Summer Languages Fun

Learn Spanish or Chinese

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Check out our A-Z Camp List.
If you know of a program that is not listed with us, let us know!

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Weekly Summer Camps

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Thank you so much for your many emails. We love hearing from you and learning about what's important to you.  Be a friend and tell a friend about us! We just happen to have a variety of new books and CD's that we want to give you.  Tell a friend to put your name in the comments section and you will both win. 

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Santa Cruz, CA