Beaches, Family Activities, Museums & Aquariums

Museum of Natural History & Seabright Beach Review

If you’re looking for a fun, educational and cheap activity for your family while you’re visiting Santa Cruz, check out my real life Museum of Natural History & Seabright Beach Review review below!


Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Phone: (831) 420–6115

Mailing Address: 1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA  95062


About MNH

Per the MNH website “We strive to fulfill our mission of connecting people with nature and science to inspire stewardship of the natural world through an array of educational programs and exhibits focused on the natural and cultural history of our region.”

Permanent Exhibits

The museum has the following permanent exhibits:

  • Santa Cruz Naturalist Exhibit (touch pool): You’ll be able to touch some of the plants and animals of found along Santa Cruz’s rocky shores.
  • Native Peoples of Santa Cruz Exhibit: Through the Ohlone village mural and other artifacts, you’ll learn how the Ohlone people lived off of the natural resources found along the Central Coast. Real mortar and pestles are available for young and old to try their hand at grinding acorns. 
  • Ecosystems and native animal exhibits: View the live honeybee and “chocolate phase” king snake displays. Also, there are stuffed animal displays and information such as birds, reptiles, etc. displays.


Admission fees are very reasonable. $4 Adult  |  $2 Seniors (over 60)  | $2 Students |  Free for Youth (under 18). Be sure to call the museum to verify hours and admission prices, as well as current parking situation.


Street parking is available, be sure to read the parking signs. From April-September you must get a free parking permit from inside the Museum to park on the museum-side of Pilkington Ave.

My Thoughts

It’s a nice quaint museum with interactive exhibits for young kids. Our kids enjoyed our visit, they liked the touch pool, looking at the stuffed animals and playing with the corn grinding tools. What I liked about MNH is that it wasn’t busy/crowded, fees are inexpensive and it is located across the street to one of our favorite Santa Cruz area beaches, Seabright State Beach. What is also nice is that you can obtain a free parking pass during certain times of the year from MNH so you can park on the street and after you visit the MNH, then you can walk across the street to Seabright State Beach.

Seabright State Beach

15 E Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (You can access the beach at this address or use the Museum of Natural History address because there is beach access across the street.)

Not Listed on the California State Parks Website

What’s weird is that I could not find any information about the beach at the website. But, as you can see from the sign in the picture above Seabright is a state beach. And, it allows dogs and has restrooms. Above is information about the beach that I found on Google since the California parks website does not have any information about the beach.


Parking is available on the street, but it is limited because it is in a residential neighborhood. Read the parking signs for rules. See my comments above about the Museum of Natural History parking for tips.

My Thoughts

Pictures below are from a winter visit to the beach. Beach was empty (which is how I like it) and overcast.

At one end of the beach there is a cool cave/pass through that enables you to see the other side of the wall, see picture below.

At the opposite end of the beach is a light house (can you spot it in the picture below) and a man made barrier next to the light house. I believe the light house was not open for tours when we visited it.

Kids love this beach and when we visit it during the summer they enjoy playing in the water.

Hope you enjoyed my Museum of Natural History & Seabright Beach Review!

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