Cachuma Lake Nature Program Programs & Activities


Weekly Programs:

Programs run weekly, year-round but are subject to cancellation. Please be sure to check the Calendar of Events page to see if the program is happening on the date you would like to attend.

Nature Cruises 

  • Let a Park Naturalists guide you on a 2-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 cruises are canceled on Christmas Day. 
  • Click Here for complete information

Junior Rangers

  • Saturdays 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
  • Ages 3 and up can learn about Cachuma Lake wildlife and earn a cool badge! Parents are invited to participate too. Kids under the age of ten must be with an adult. To help earn your badge, bring a bag of litter or recycling collected from Park grounds.  
  • Groups bringing over 10 participants are asked to call in advance. (805) 688-4515. Limited to 30 participants, first come, first served.
  • Fee: $3
  • For more information, go to the Junior Ranger Program
  • To schedule a Jr. Ranger session outside of the regularly scheduled time (depending upon staff availability), please call (805) 688-4515.

Nature Walks

  • (*Most) Saturdays year-round: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Infrequent cancellations due to disc golf tournaments. Please visit the Calendar of Events page to check.  
  • Occasional Sunday walks are sometimes scheduled, please visit the Calendar of Events page to check. 
  • Meet at the Nature Center 10:00 a.m.
  • Free with Park Entry Fee.
  • Join a Cachuma Lake Park Naturalist or trained interpretive guide for 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.
  • Groups bringing over 10 participants are asked to call in advance (805) 688-4515. Limited to 20 participants. First come, first served.
  • Private nature walks can also be arranged on different days or times (depending upon staff availability) by calling the Park Naturalist to make arrangements.
  • For more information, call the Park Naturalists at (805) 688-4515.

Summer 2020 Programs

  • Summer Evening Fireside Programs: Fridays and Saturdays (plus occasional Sundays) beginning, Friday June 26 and going through Labor Day Weekend plus several bonus shows (see full schedule below). Meet at the Fireside Theater at 8:00 p.m. 
  • 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.
  • We offer a variety of fun-filled evening entertainment. Join us under the stars for a movie night, live music, storytelling, or an interactive natural history presentation by a Santa Barbara County Park Naturalist or special guest presenter. 
  • Free with $10 per vehicle Park Admission
  • Astronomy Nights aka "Star Party": Join guest presenters from the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit for a stellar presentation on celestial highlights at the Cachuma Lake Fireside Theater. Telescopes will be available at the Dakota Plains for viewing the night sky after the program. For more information call (805) 688-4515.
  • Movie Night movies are rated PG or PG-13. Parents/Guardians are responsible for deciding if the movie is appropriate for their children to view.
  Date    Event 
Friday, June 26 Movie Night
Saturday, June 27 TBD
Friday, July 3 Movie Night:
Saturday, July 4 Star Party
Friday, July 10 Movie Night
Saturday, July 11 TBD
Friday, July 17 Movie Night
Saturday, July 18 Star Party
Friday, July 24 Movie Night
Saturday, July 25 TBD
Friday, July 31 Movie Night
Saturday, August 1 Star Party  
Friday, August 7 Movie Night
Saturday, August 8 TBD
Friday, August 14 Movie Night
Saturday, August 15 Star Party
Friday, August 21 Movie Night
Saturday, August 22 TBD
Friday, August 28 Movie Night
Saturday, August 29 TBD
Friday, September 4  Movie Night
Saturday, September 5 Star Party 


Saturday, May 23: Star Party

Annual Events & Field Workshops

Creepy Creatures of Cachuma Lake 

Fall 2020 (official date still to be determined), 11:00 a.m.-1:00 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 Eye's 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

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.