RANCHO DEL OSO NATURE AND HISTORY CENTER GRAND OPENING!
Rancho Del Oso State Park
12:00 noon to 4:00pm, ribbon cutting scheduled for 1:00pm
California State Parks in cooperation with Waddell Creek Association proudly announce the grand opening celebration of the newly remodeled Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center on Saturday, April 14 from 12:00 noon to 4:00pm, with a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 1:00pm. The park is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, off Highway 1, just south of Waddell Beach.
The grand opening offers the public a first look at new interactive exhibits that share the wonders and diversity of the Waddell Valley. Located in the newly redesigned former home of Charles and Hulda McLean, The exhibits tell the story of Rancho del Oso as seen through the eyes of Hulda Hoover McLean, who moved here as a young girl and returned to raise her own family in the valley she knew and loved.
Throughout the new center, Hulda’s appreciation of the land she came to know intimately is expressed through her art, written word and collections. The exhibits encourage visitors to explore, appreciate and protect the valley. The remodeled center, with its rich, warm interior, invites the visitor to explore the “Close to the Heart” exhibit, which reflects on the family’s history in the valley. The “Seven Habitats” exhibit introduces the visitor to the flora and fauna they can see along the trails. An interactive docent desk invites visitors to investigate nature, look through a microscope, complete art projects and interact with docents and staff.
“Stewards of the Valley” encourages visitors to take on the role of today’s stewards and introduces the sensitive species that need protection. The cultural section of the visitor center explores the logging history of the park and connects the past to the present. Come find out the details and be first to explore the center. Then take to the trails and begin your journey to get to know the sights, smells and seasons of Rancho del Oso.
Hulda’s father, Theodore J. Hoover, brother of former President Herbert Hoover, fell in love with the Waddell Valley as a student at Stanford University. When Theodore Hoover first came upon Waddell Creek, he fell in love with this place and its “trout stream flowing between redwood covered heights down to the sea.” He resolved, “When my ship comes in I’m going to own this place.” That cherished plan was carried out when he bought 2500 acres of forest, hill and dale.
Hulda Hoover McLean spent her childhood in close association with the land and felt strongly about its preservation. In 1983 she began arranging for her home to become what is now the Nature and History Center.
Rancho del Oso is part of the ocean end of Big Basin Redwoods State Park and is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. Turn right before the Waddell Beach parking lot, you’ll see a sign marked “Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.” Please follow all driving and parking instructions and watch for newts and other wildlife as you pass the short dirt road to the parking area.