A weekly guide to what’s happening.
Monarch Butterfly Tours
The monarchs are coming, the monarchs are coming! Okay, technically they’re already here, but they won’t hang out long. Every year, thousands of monarchs flock to the Natural Bridges eucalyptus trees. They migrate all the way from the Rockies—that’s more than 800 miles for their little wings to flap. We don’t blame them for taking a breather and getting a little lovin’ before they turn around and go back. They’ll probably be here ’til January, but now is the best time to see them in all of their glory.
INFO: Tours held at 11 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Natural Bridges State Beach Visitor Center, 2531 W Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. 423-4609. parks.ca.gov. free, $10 day use parking.
‘Lay of the Land’
The Museum of Art and History’s latest exhibit is all about Chile native Rodrigo Valenzuela, who was waiting for work at Home Depot as a day laborer 10 years ago. Today, he is a professional artist and UCLA professor. While his abstract landscapes may seem to be of familiar places like Joshua Tree, his work is actually a mish-mosh of American and Chilean landscapes, with some foosball and film for good measure. The work portrays the obstacles immigrants face in making the United States feel like home.
INFO: Show runs through Sunday, Feb. 17 with an artists talk on Thursday, Jan. 17. Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. 429-1964. santacruzmah.org. $10 general admission, free on First Fridays.
Mission Building Game
They say board games never go out of style, and this proves it. Mission Building is a board game set in the 18th century, where you spend Spanish real coins and roll the sheep’s knucklebone to determine the fate of your own mission. The game is geared for ages eight and up, and happens rain or shine.
INFO: 3-4:30 p.m. Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School St., Santa Cruz. 425-5849. parks.ca.gov. Free.
Birding For Beginners
Anyone can do birding anytime, anywhere—can’t say that for much else in life. Some of the benefits of birding include not only a greater awareness of wildlife, but also new friends, both literally and figuratively. (Birds are friends, right? Or is that fish?) Either way, there are plenty of experienced birders in and around Santa Cruz to lead the way in birding etiquette, Jim Williams being one of them. Williams will talk about birding in Henry Cowell State Park, and answer any and all flying friend-related questions. Bring a water bottle and comfy footwear.
INFO: 8 a.m. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, 101 N Big Trees Park Road, Felton. 335-7077. thatsmypark.org. Free, $10 parking pass.
Hampton Sides ‘On Desperate Ground’
New York Times best-selling author Hampton Sides is coming to Santa Cruz to talk about his new book that details acts of heroism by marines in the Korean War. Also an Outside magazine editor and National Geographic contributor, among many other things, Sides is a narrative nonfiction expert. On Desperate Ground tells a war tale as old as time, but still terrifying relevant.
INFO: 7 p.m. Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 423-0900. bookshopsantacruz.com. Free. Photo: Kurt Markus.