Well, technically I can’t categorize them as “animals” in my categories, but I saw a sign today at Natural Bridges State Park stating that the Monarch Butterflies are making their annual migration right now!
It’s pretty amazing to see hundreds of butterflies cluster onto eucalyptus branches. It’s quite pretty! There is a nice ramp where you can stroll and see them flying about. This is a panorama I took a few months ago.
My recommendation for a day trip for those who are nature and animal lovers would be this:
Drive to the west side of Santa Cruz (Hwy1 Toward Half Moon Bay) and take a stroll through Natural Bridges State Park. The monarchs are free to view and there is a paid parking lot as well as street parking along Delaware and Natural Bridges Drive.
If you’re hungry, pop over to Iveta Cafe or Kelly’s French Bakery for a nice lunch and pastry. If you have kids and brought a picnic lunch, there are picnic benches at Natural Bridges. There is a beach there as well 😉
Then, head over to Long Marine Lab. It’s a working research center/lab and there are tanks full of sea creatures, small sharks and even a shark touch pool and area to handle starfish. Take a walk outside and see a really big skeleton of a whale!
Then, if you have time, head over North on HWY and visit Swanton Berry Farm. You can pick your own strawberries! Also, they sell delicious berry pies and fresh mini cheesecakes and chocolate dipped strawberries. Bring cash as there are no employees waiting on you. The till is “honor system” only.