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The Nature Center is housed under the City of Watsonville’s Public Works and Utilities Department. As part of our Conservation Outreach and Education Program, the Nature Center plays a dynamic role in educating and inspiring residents and visitors alike about our local wetlands, as well as many conservation issues and local environmental services.

The Nature Center is a great place to bring the whole family! Beautiful interactive and educational exhibits are appropriate for all ages. Our Kid’s Corner is filled with bilingual books, arts and crafts, and nature activities. Sunday afternoons feature free outdoor bilingual guided nature walks on our award winning trails. Check the events calendar to keep up to date on our special event days throughout the year that focus on different conservation themes with special activities.

Nature Center Open Hours:

Saturdays and Sundays
March-October 11am-5pm
November-February 11am-4pm
Closed:  4th of July, Easter, Christmas Eve & Day, New Year’s Eve &  Day
 

Free Admission!

Guided Nature & Birding Walks : Sundays 1:30pm

Group Visits & Trail Tours by Appointment (831) 768-1622.

Watsonville Wetland Trails open to the public every day!

Trail Map (pdf)

Guided Family Nature & Birding Walks – Sundays at 1:30

Come experience the wetland wonders with the whole family!

Nature Walk 07

Join us for a bilingual guided nature walk and birding along the wetlands trails. Learn about the amazing bird species that live here and the plants that make this habitat so special and what the City is doing to protect and restore this unique treasure.

The walk ranges from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the groups interests and needs. Binoculars are provided. Bring water, sunscreen, comfortable shoes and dress for weather. Meet at the City of Watsonville Nature Center. Free and no reservations required. All ages welcome!

Group Visits & Trail Tours by Appointment

Bring your teen or adult group for a free guided tour! Visits include Nature Center exploration and a guided trail walk.  Your group will experience first-hand the beautiful birds and plants living in our local wetlands, and walk away knowing why and how to protect these essential habitat.MT on MBBF Walk 01

Visits are tailored to fit the needs and interests of your group. Bilingual education staff available. Offered to teen and adult groups by appointment. Binoculars are provided. Bring water, sunscreen, comfortable shoes and dress for weather.  Meet at the Wetlands of Watsonville Nature Center. To register please call (831) 768-1622 two weeks in advance with a minimum group size of 8.

Nature Center Exhibits

Displays and exhibits are for all ages, in both English and Spanish. 

Upon entering, you will notice a topographic map of Watsonville, showing a bird’s eye view of the City’s wetland trails and its surrounding areas.

Watsonville is home to a variety of interesting mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.NCexhibit

  •  Take a walk around our native animal exhibits.
  •  Get a close up look to our local birds and discover how to identify them by their sounds.
  • There are skulls, nests, and eggs to see!
  • Check out how the wetlands have changed over time  depicted on our beautiful wall murals.

Get the kids out of the house and into nature! We have a kid’s discovery corner full of fun things to do.

Mom & Children Reading

  • Kids story books and wildlife puppets
  • Arts and crafts activities
  • “Please touch” nature table with objects to feel and look under a magnifying glass.

 

 

Our household conservation exhibits will teach you how to protect our environment and save money!

  • Learn effective ways  to conserve water & come take the pledge!
  • Want to make less waste? We’ll teach you the do’s & don’ts of composting
  • Families can play & learn through our Recycle Right Interactive Game
  • Got hazardous waste?  Be safe & learn how to properly dispose of them!NCexhibit2

Our bilingual friendly naturalists can assist you with any questions you have about the City of Watsonville, our local wetlands and trails whether you are a resident or just visiting.  

  • We have maps and brochures to many different attractions in both Santa Cruz and Monterey County if you’re looking for things to do in and around Watsonville.
  • Please grab our Wetlands of Watsonville trail map guide on the way out, and have a great time!

City of Watsonville Nature Center

30 Harkins Slough Rd.
Watsonville, CA 95076
(In the back of Ramsay Park)
Phone: (831) 768-1622
Fax: (831) 768-1622
 

Directions

Coming South on Highway 1:

  1. Take the Main Street/Highway 152 exit.
  2. Turn Right on Green Valley Road.
  3. Turn Left on Harkins Slough Road, before crossing over the highway.
  4. Travel over Harkins Slough Bridge and past Ohlone Parkway.
  5. Turn Left into parking lot, just past the great white dome.
  6. Look for Nature Center signs.

Coming North on Highway 1:

  1. Take the Green Valley Road exit, immediately turn Right on Harkins Slough Road.
  2.  Travel over Harkins Slough Bridge and past Ohlone Parkway.
  3. Turn Left into parking lot, just past the great white dome.
  4. Look for Nature Center signs.

Coming South on Highway 101:

  1. Exit on CA-129 west toward Watsonville.
  2. Turn Right at CA-129 w/ Chittenden Road. Continue to follow for 12.5 miles. Chittenden will turn to CA-129 Riverside Road.
  3. Turn Right on Main Street.
  4. Turn Left on Ohlone Parkway.
  5.  Turn Left into parking lot, just past the great white dome.
  6. Look for Nature Center signs.

 

 Watsonville Nature Center – 30 Harkins Slough Road – Watsonville, CA 95076  Phone: (831) 768-1622              Fax: (831) 768-1622