Kids2Parks

Ensuring State Parks Access For Youth

The 2022/23 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 2022/23 academic year is now closed. Please email with questions.

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.

Spring 2022 Update: At this time, Kids2Parks plans to offer in-person field trips for the 2022-23 school year. If COVID safety restrictions prohibit in-person participation, State Parks’ staff will work with teachers to schedule virtual class visits.

Kids2Parks Frequently Asked Questions


Field Trips

Registration for the 2022/23 academic year is now closed.


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: 4-6 (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 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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. You will learn about the history and architecture of Rancho San Andres, the 170-year-old Castro Adobe, and the family that built the two-story hacienda. This program also 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 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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 visit Half Moon Bay State Beach, Pescadero Marsh State Natural Preserve, Bean Hollow State Beach or Montara State Beach and learn about the many animals that inhabit and depend on the diverse, interconnected ecosystems of the coast with six modules to choose from:

  • Birding at Francis Beach: Explore our sandy beach habitat and its birds on a guided walk along the Coastal Trail while learning how to use binoculars and to identify birds in their natural habitat. Best for students in grades 3-6.
  • Geology of the Rocky Shore: Experience the excitement of discovery like real geologists, and learn to identify key geologic features of our coastal area! Best for students in grades 2-5.
  • Marine Mammal Adaptations: Discover which marine mammals live along our local shoreline and learn how these species are adapted to live in ocean and beach habitats. Best for students in grades K-6.
  • Montara State Beach/Gray Whale Cove: Come explore both history and science along the California coast, as we witness unforgettable views of the Pacific coast and learn about the many historic land use changes over time. Best for students in grades 3-6.
  • Pescadero Marsh Wildlife: Explore the largest coastal wetlands in our area on a guided walk through the Pescadero Marsh. Best for grades 2-6.
  • Sandy Beach Habitat: Students will explore the ecology of the sandy beach habitat and learn about tidal zones and the animals and plants that call the beach home. Best for grades K-6.

Grade Levels: K-6 (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: Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to noon

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! The topic and theme of the program will depend on the grade level of the interested class.

Grade Levels: K-4 (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 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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


Natural Bridges State Beach

Field trip description: Natural Bridges is famous for its tide pools and Monarch Butterfly sanctuary.

  • The monarch field trip, offered in October and November, has grade-specific programs focusing on topics including life cycle, migration or survival adaptations.
  • The tide pool field trip, offered March to May, has grade-specific programs focused on survival adaptations, food webs, tidepool zonation and how animals meet their needs in a challenging environment.

Grade Levels: K-6

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: Monarchs — October & November, weekdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon; Tide pools — March to May, every other week at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Additional Digital Resources: Natural Bridges FlipgridMonarch Butterflies Padlet 

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 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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


Seacliff State Beach

Field trip description: Students learn about the natural wonders of Seacliff State Beach with an emphasis on a 2.5- to 3-million-year-old secret: fossils. They will also be introduced to how a ship made out of concrete can float and how it serves as a habitat for many animals.

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

Next Generation Science Standards: TBD

Programs Available: Thursdays and Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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 1900 took a lot of hard work and required working together as a team to be successful. These programs engage students in the typical tasks of a ranch kid in 1900 and also allow them to interact with the farm animals at Wilder Ranch.

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: Fridays, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

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