Watsonville Nature Walks
Running around town getting last-minute gifts, cooking meals for family, braving endless hours of traffic—the holidays can be a stressful time. Take a breath and return to nature with a walk through the Watsonville wetlands. Watsonville’s nature trails offer public access to 800 acres of freshwater wetlands with 7 miles of paved trails, 220 species of birds, one of the largest remaining freshwater wetlands in Central California, diverse wildlife, and 29 trail entrances for joggers, cyclists, and birders. Take a guided walk throughout Watsonville’s natural bounty—binoculars provided!
Info: 1:30 p.m. Sundays. City of Watsonville Nature Center, 30 Harkins Slough Road, Watsonville. wetlandsofwatsonville.org.
Bag of Books for $5
Who doesn’t love the gift of knowledge? That’s one you can check off your list with this year’s Grey Bears Book Store, which will be offering an entire bag of books for just $5. Browse through vinyl albums, CDs, and books on every subject including crafts, mystery, history, health, cooking, zoology and so many more for a perfect holiday gift. Book sales support the weekly delivery of food bags to seniors in Santa Cruz County.
Info: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. California Grey Bears, 2710 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz. 479-1055. Free.
Polar Express Train Rides
It all begins when the conductor punches your golden tickets and the train pulls out of the station on its way to the North Pole—the Polar Express story will come alive with the motion picture soundtrack and characters interacting with passengers. Dancing chefs will serve hot cocoa and cookies throughout the magical journey until kidlets can experience the magic of the North Pole where they’re met by Santa, of course! Grab the last seats for the final few days of the train ride during this holiday season, Dec. 21-23, and Dec. 26-28.
Info: 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. *Not all days have all departure times, please check santacruzthepolarexpressride.com. 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. 877-726-7245. $44-$89.
Animal Shelter Adoption Fair
It’s Christmas Eve and you don’t have a gift for your child, niece, nephew, grandmother, whoever. You know what gift has endless rewards? An adorable little kitty or cuddly fluffy pooch. We know, we know, we’re the worst enablers to stressed out parents right now (forgive us), but there are so many animals in this county who have been abused or abandoned just looking for their forever home. All adoptable animals can be found on the shelter’s website. Can you blame us? Just look at those faces!
Info: Noon-4 p.m. Pet Pals Discount Pet Supplies, 3660 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. animalshelterrelief.org. Free.
Tea Mixer & Chilean Documentary ‘Tea Time’
Throughout cultures and generations, tea time has allowed women to enter a private female space, where universal and intimate themes intersect. That’s why the Santa Cruz Public Libraries invite you to an afternoon of tea and cinema with Tea Time, the official selection of the 2014 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Friendship, tea, Chilean history, and feminism all in one hour: bring your favorite teacup.
Info: 5:30-7 p.m. Aptos Library, 7695 Soquel Drive, Aptos. 427-7702. hiddengemsfilmclubscpl.brownpapertickets.com. Free.