Cachuma Lake Nature Programs & Activities

Weekly Programs:

Programs run weekly, year-round but are subject to cancellation. Please check the Calendar of Events page to find out which programs are happening during your visit.

Guided Lake Cruises 

  • Let a Park Naturalist guide you on a 1.5-hour Lake Cruise aboard the Osprey. A 30-passenger pontoon boat with a canopy for shade and swivel style seats for easy wildlife viewing and personal comfort. The tour is an exploration of the lake as a Park Naturalist follows nature's serendipity to reveal the abundant natural and cultural riches.
  • Please Note: All Lake Cruises are canceled on Christmas Day. 
  • Click Here for complete information

Junior Rangers

  • Participants will learn about Cachuma Lake wildlife, environmental stewardship, and earn a cool badge! The program is designed for ages 3 and up. 
  • Please call (805) 688-4515 to arrange a time to pick up the activity and badge. Please allow at least 24 hours notice so materials can be assembled. Activity pick up is available Wednesday through Sunday with advance notice. 
  • Fee: $3.00 per participant and must be paid by credit card over the phone when signing up.  
  • For more information, go to the Junior Ranger Program

Nature Walks

  • (*Most) Saturdays year-round: 10 to 11:30 a.m. 
  • Due to COVID-19, Nature Walk modifications are currently in place. 
  • All participants are required to wear facial masks and keep six feet distance at all times between the Nature Walk Guide and other participants who are not of the same household. 
  • Advanced reservations are required by calling (805) 688-4515 and must be made at least 24 hours in advance. 
  • Appropriate for ages 3 and older. 
  • Free (with $10 Park Entry Fee for day use visitors).
  • This walk is an easy-paced 1/2-mile walk exploring the oak woodland and lakeside ecology. Bring water, hats and a sense of adventure.
  • Pets are not permitted.
  • Private Nature Walks can also be arranged on different days or times (depending upon staff availability) by calling the Park Naturalist at 805-688-4515 to make arrangements.
  • For more information, call the Park Naturalist Office at (805) 688-4515.
  • *Infrequent cancellations due to disc golf tournaments and inclement weather. Please call to verify.   

Crafty Camper Series

  • (*Most) Saturdays year-round: 1 to 2 p.m.
  • Learn about local wildlife by building a miniature woodrat midden that you get to keep as a souvenir. What is a woodrat? What is a midden? You will find out!
  • This hands-on activity is appropriate for ages 5 and older (kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult). Adults are welcome to participate too!
  • Advance registration is required and can be made by calling (805) 688-4515. Space is limited. 
  • Free (with $10 Park Entry Fee for day use visitors).
  • *Infrequent cancellations due to staffing and inclement weather. Please call to verify. 

Summer 2021 Evening Programs at the Fireside Theater

  • Fridays and Saturdays beginning Friday June 25 and going through Labor Day Weekend at the Fireside Theater.
  • If the program uses a screen and projector, shows typically will not begin until it is dark enough to see the projection on the screen.
  • Astronomy Nights aka "Star Party": Join guest presenters from the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit for a stellar presentation on celestial highlights.
  • Eyes in the Sky is a Santa Barbara Audubon community outreach program. It presents native birds of prey, rehabilitated from injuries in the wild, to children and adults throughout the greater Santa Barbara area. The birds' unique stories of survival educate about impacts of human actions on wildlife. The presentation starts at 7 p.m.
  • Free with $10 per vehicle park entry fee. Movie Night movies are rated PG or PG-13. Parents/Guardians are responsible for deciding if the movie is appropriate to view.
  • For more information please call (805) 688-4515. 
  • TBD= To Be Determined.
  Date    Event 
Friday, June 25, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Planes: Fire and Rescue (PG)
Saturday, June 26, 7 p.m. Eyes in the Sky
Friday, July 2, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Coco (PG)
Saturday, July 3, 8:30 p.m. Star Party
Friday, July 9, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Moana (PG)
Saturday, July 10, 7 p.m. Eyes in the Sky
Friday, July 16, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Jumanji (PG)
Saturday, July 17, 8:30 p.m. Star Party 
Friday, July 23, 8 p.m. Movie Night- The Secret Life of Pets
Saturday, July 24, 7 p.m. Eyes in the Sky 
Friday, July 30, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Sing (PG)
Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m. Eyes in the Sky 
Friday, August 6, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PG)
Saturday, August 7, 8 p.m. Star Party
Friday, August 13, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13)
Saturday, August 14, 7 p.m. Eyes in the Sky
Friday, August 20, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Finding Dory (PG)
Saturday, August 21, 7 p.m. Eyes in the Sky 
Friday, August 27, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Incredibles 2 (PG)
Saturday, August 28, 8 p.m. Star Party 
Friday, September 3, 8 p.m. Movie Night- Black Panther (PG-13)
Saturday, September 4, 8 p.m. Star Party 


Annual Events & Field Workshops

Creepy Creatures of Cachuma Lake 

Fall 2021 (official date still to be determined, please check back for updates), 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. . Location: Lawn at the Neal Taylor Nature Center. Free with $10 per vehicle Park Admission

The Cachuma Lake Recreation Area and Neal Taylor Nature Center conspire to offer this wonderfully creepy event! Fall under the spell of living owls, bats, spiders, snakes, and scorpions. Touch a collection of skulls and bones that will rattle your bones! Enjoy enchanting live music, make a mask, and get a face painting. Witches will lurk on the sidelines with punch and popcorn. This event wouldn't be possible without our special guests: Alice Abela with her menagerie of insects, snakes, and spiders; Santa Barbara Audubon's Eyes in the Sky program, including Max the owl; and Nammy Jammy and the Captain with lively acoustic music. A "Hooked on Books" book sale, which includes a variety of genres, will also be open in the Nature Center garage from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information call Santa Barbara County Park Naturalist Rosey Bishop at (805) 688-4515, or email rbishop@co.santa-barbara.ca.us.


The Neal Taylor Nature Center

  • A visit to the Nature Center alone is a worth a trip to Cachuma Lake. The Center is a private, non-profit organization full of interactive exhibits for children and adults about Cachuma Lake, the Santa Ynez River Watershed, and local cultural and natural history. Santa Barbara County Parks at Cachuma Lake Recreation Area works with the assistance of the Center on several popular programs. For full information about the Neal Taylor Nature Center, their hours and programs, please go here.