Kids2Parks

Ensuring State Parks Access For Youth

The 2021/22 application period is now closed

Kids2Parks is an innovative park-equity program to bring students from Title 1 schools on State Parks field trips. The program, a partnership between California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, increases the number of students who have visited a state park or beach by reducing barriers to access.

The program offers field trips to select Title 1 schools in Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Find out if your school is eligible for free bus transportation to a field trip!

The application window for the 2021/22 academic year is now closed.

Teachers may apply for as many field trips as they are eligible for, but will only be selected for up to one trip. Teachers/schools are responsible for arranging transportation to the park. A limited amount of funding is available to cover transportation costs. Read the complete FAQ here.

2021 UPDATE In-person field trips are on hiatus due to COVID-19.  Classes enrolled for this academic year are participating in virtual field trips through interactive videoconferencing allowing the students and teacher to interact with the California State Parks interpreter in real-time. All field trips continue to meet the Common Core state standards for the subject being studied.

Kids2Parks Frequently Asked Questions


Field Trips

Registration for the 2021/22 academic year is now closed.

Although in-person field trips are on hiatus due to COVID-19, the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks is offering live interactive videoconference programs to educators teaching remotely for the 2021-2022 school year. These virtual field trips are aligned to academic content standards, customizable to teachers’ needs, and available on any videoconference platform, although Zoom is recommended for the best experience.


Castle Rock State Park

Field trip description: Students learn about the natural wonders of Castle Rock State Park with a focus on the park’s distinctive geology during this program but will also be introduced to other subjects including Native American peoples, local wildlife, and modern human impacts to our ecosystems.

Grade Levels: 4-7 (can be customized for other grade levels)

Next Generation Science Standards: 4 ESS1-1 | 4-ESS2-1 | MS-ESS2-2 | MS-ESS2-3

Programs Available: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 2 pm

Eligible schools: Select San Jose-area Title 1 elementary schools. Check school list.


Castro Adobe State Historic Park

Field trip description: This program introduces students to the four periods of California history with a focus on the Mexican Rancho Era, sometimes called “the time of the Californios,” that lasted from 1821 to 1850 by examining the history and architecture of the 170-year-old Castro Adobe located on Rancho San Andres. The program explores the Rancho’s timeline starting with the Ohlone Indians (pre-mission), the Spanish arrival, the Mexican period and the early California American period.

Review the Teacher’s page for more information and education resources connected to the Castro Adobe.

Grade Levels: 3-4 (can be customized for other grade levels)

History/Social Studies and Common Core Standards: History: HSS-3.3.1 | HSS-4.2.5   Math: 3.NF.1 | 4.NF.1   Art: 3.MA:Cn11 | 4.MA:Cn11

Programs Available: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 am – 1 pm

Curriculum: Bilingual curriculum that supports this field trip is available. The lessons are appropriate for all grade levels but are ideal for 3rd grade (local history) and 4th grade (California history).

Eligible schools: Title 1 schools in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Check school list.


Half Moon Bay State Beach

Field trip description: In this program, students will virtually visit Half Moon Bay State Beach and learn about the many animals that inhabit the diverse, interconnected ecosystems of the coast with three modules to choose from:

  • Geology of the Rocky Shore: Learn how scientists uncover the long and active history of the earth by studying rocks and the formations we can see along our coast.
  • Tide Pool Invertebrates: Examine the many species of invertebrates that live in the intertidal zone that cannot be found anywhere else, and the adaptations they need to survive in this harsh and constantly changing environment.
  • Animal Habitats and Adaptations: Investigate how State Parks protect many animals from the beaches to the ocean, how they are adapted to their environment, and what we can all do to help preserve their homes for the future.

Grade Levels: K-5 (program customized by grade levels)

Next Generation Science Standards: K-ESS3 | 1-LS1 | 2-LS4 | 2-PS1-1 | 3-LS3 | 3-LS4-1 | 4-LS1 | 4-ESS1 | 4-ESS2 | 5-LS1 | 5-LS2 | 5-ESS2 | 5-ESS3

Programs Available: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9 AM – 2 PM

Eligible schools: Select Title 1 schools from San Mateo County and surrounding areas. Check school list.


Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Field trip description: This program covers all things redwood, including coast redwood life history, physiology, adaptations, ecosystems, and more!

Grade Levels: K-4, middle school, and high school (can be customized for other grade levels)

Next Generation Science Standards: K-ESS2-2 | K-ESS3-3 | K-LS1-1 | 1-LS3-1 | 2-PS1-2 | 2LS2-1 | 2-LS4-1 | 4-LS1-1 | MS-LS1-6 | MS-LS4-4 | HS-LS2-7

Programs Available: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9 am – 2 pm

Eligible schools: Select Title 1 schools from Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. Check school list.


Natural Bridges State Beach

Field trip description: There are thousands of different species of butterflies and they live on every continent. In this program, students will learn about the unique characteristics, life cycle, and migration pattern of Monarch butterflies.

Next Generation Science Standards: K-LS1 | K-ESS3 | 1-LS1 A,B,C | 1-LS3-1 | 2-LS2 | 2-LS4 | 3-ESS2 | 3-ESS3 | 3-LS1 | 3-LS4 | 4-LS1 | 5-PS3 | MS-LS1-4 | HS LS2-7 | HS-ESS3-4

Programs Available: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 10am, noon, and 2pm

Additional Digital Resources: Natural Bridges Flipgrid |Monarch Butterflies Padlet | 360 Park Tour

Eligible schools: Select Title 1 schools from Santa Cruz County. Check school list.


Rancho Del Oso

Field trip description: Explore the seven ecosystems of Rancho del Oso and witness the adaptions which allow the plants and animals to survive in this ever-changing landscape.

Grade Levels: 3-5 (can be customized for other grade levels)

Next Generation Science Standards: MS-PS1-3 | MS-LS1-1 | MS-LS1-5 | MS-LS1-6 | MS-LS2-1 | MS-LS2-4 | MS-LS2-2 | MS-ESS3-3

Programs Available: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 am – 2 pm

Eligible schools: Select Title 1 schools from Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties. Check school list.


Seacliff State Beach

Field trip description:  This program introduces students to the diverse marine life, past and present, at Seacliff and examines why it’s a wildlife hotspot with four modules to choose from:

  • Seafloor to Seashore: Investigate how fossils from the seafloor ended up in our cliff, and what that tells us about California’s prehistoric past. Best for 2nd–4th grades.
  • Float a Concrete Ship?: Examine the physical forces that determine what floats and what sinks using Seacliff’s concrete ship as a primary example. Best for 2nd–4th grades.
  • Avian Adaptations: Learn how adaptations of birds allow them to make themselves at home in almost any habitat, including some surprising places at Seacliff. Best for 2nd–4th grades.
  • Marine Sanctuary Exploration: Explore the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and other marine protected areas with a look at what does and doesn’t belong in safe places for marine life. Best for K–1st grades.

Grade Levels: K-1, 2-4 (can be customized for other grade levels)

Next Generation Science Standards: TBD

Programs Available: Thursdays and Friday, 10 am – 1 pm

Eligible schools: Select Title 1 schools from Santa Cruz County. Check school list.


The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

Field trip description: Situated in Aptos, The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park boasts over 10,000 acres of second-generation redwood trees, as well as a rich history that is deeply engrossing. This program offers an in-depth look at what makes this redwood forest unique and how the adaptations found in redwoods have helped this forest survive throughout the years.

Grade Levels: 3-6 (can be customized for other grade levels)

History/Social Science Standards:1-LS3-1 | 2-LS4-1 | 3-LS1-1, 3-LS4-3

Programs Available: Thursdays and Fridays, 10am – 4pm

Eligible schools: Select Title 1 schools from Santa Cruz County. Check school list.


Wilder Ranch State Park

Field trip description: Living on a dairy ranch in the year 1900 took a lot of hard work and required working together as a team to be successful. This program explores some of the chores that children would have been expected to help with.

Grade Levels: 2-4 (can be customized for other grade levels)

History/Social Science Standards: 2.4.1 | 3.2.2 | 3.2.4 | 3.3.1 | 3.3.2 | 3.3.3 | 3.5.1 | 4.2.1 | 4.2.5 | 4.2.6 | 4.2.6 | 4.2.7 | 4.2.8 | 4.3.2 | 4.4.2 | 4.4.3

Programs Available: Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 am – 4 pm

Eligible schools: Select Title 1 schools from Santa Cruz County; 3rd grade classes only. Check school list.

Additional Digital Resources: Wilder Ranch Flipgrid | Wilder Ranch YouTube Channel