Natural Bridges Migration Festival
Natural Bridges State Park
11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Fly, swim, waddle, walk, bike or drive as you migrate to Natural Bridges State Beach for the 28th Annual Natural Bridges Migration Festival on Saturday, February 8, from 11am to 4pm. The event celebrates the migration of whales, butterflies, birds and the many creatures that travel. Over 20 organizations will share the science and wonder of the migratory journeys of our region’s diverse wildlife, there will be habitat hikes, active games and crafts for children, face painting, butterfly garden tips, along with live music by the Mystic Troubadours, Marty O’Reilly, and the nature-loving 5M’s Band.
The event is part of a year-long celebration of California State Park’s Sesquicentennial; marking 150 years of California State Parks from 1864 to 2014. California’s state parks are welcoming way-stations, providing a safe path and essential habitat for animals in migration. You can make new discoveries about our region’s many migratory animals and more and wish a fond farewell to monarch butterflies leaving Natural Bridges at this year’s Migration Festival. This event is FREE and fun for the whole family!
The event begins at 11am with a ribbon cutting sponsored by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks to mark the completion of new water-wise landscaping, milkweed demonstration garden and a series of wayside exhibits that orient visitors along the monarch butterfly boardwalk, Moore Creek Trail and Tidepool areas. Native, drought-resistant plants replaced the grass lawn in front of the visitor center, “The new landscaping makes the entry to the visitor center more attractive and it’s a great benefit to have several areas with benches where groups can gather,” says Martha Nitzberg, lead interpreter at the park. “A lot of time went into constructing solid granite rock retainer walls so they would withstand all the school groups that come to visit the demonstration garden,” adds Chris Pereira, Trails Supervisor. The park’s butterfly demonstration garden contains milkweed and other plants that support the lifecycle of monarchs and other butterflies.
The new panels interpret the tidepools, wetlands, monarch butterflies and the park in general, telling the story of the unique plants and animals that inhabit the park. A tour of these 14 new signs will be conducted immediately following the ribbon cutting starting with the monarch boardwalk. Winding your way down the wooden boardwalk in the park’s monarch preserve, visitors are greeted by a series of 6 new interpretive signs. Youngsters are drawn to the colorful signs that include a “nature notebook” section with illustrations contributed by 7-year-old Evan Marie Hyland. It’s wonderful to watch families interact with the signs, “They are such a conversation starter. Kids read the signs to the parents and vice versa. I see them discussing the concepts and creating a connection that fuels their sense of adventure and discovery,” says Jodi Apelt a park interpreter and contributor to the project. Wildways Illustrated produced the signs and landscaping was installed through a joint effort by the Santa Cruz District Trail Crew, Wilder Ranch Maintenance, and the California Conservation Corps (CCC). The project was led by Elizabeth Hammack and Linda Hitchcock of California State Parks.
Natural Bridges State Beach is located at the end of West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. Take Swift Avenue west from Highway 1, or follow West Cliff Drive north along the in-town bluffs until it ends at Natural Bridges. For more information, call the park at (831)423-4609.