Cachuma Lake Nature Program Programs & Activities

Click here for the Monthly Nature Program Flier    

Weekly Programs:

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

  • Saturdays year-round: 10 to 11:30 a.m. 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.

Arts and Crafts: Nature Sun Prints

  • Specially scheduled dates (check the Calendar of Events page to check) or by appointment, call (805) 688-4515 to set up a date and time. 
  • Meet at the Nature Center picnic tables.
  • Free with Park Entry Fee.
  • Native plants and other objects will be discussed, gathered and arranged on photosensitive paper to make a print. 
  • Appropriate for ages 4 and older. 
  • The activity size is limited to 20 participants on a first come, first served basis. 
  • For more information call the Park naturalist office at (805) 688-4515.

Summer 2018 Programs

  • Summer Evening Fireside Programs: Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. Friday June 22- Sunday Sept 2, 2018, at the Fireside Theater. See the full schedule below.
  • 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 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.
  Date     Event 
Friday, June 22 Movie Night: "Rango" (PG)
Saturday, June 23 Live Music: "Vineyard Byrds" (7-9 pm)
Friday, June 29 Movie Night: "Planes: Fire and Rescue" (PG)
Saturday, June 30 Live Music: "Sweater Vest" (7-9 pm)
Friday, July6 Movie Night: "The Incredibles" (PG)
Saturday, July 7 "Star Party"
Friday, July 13 Movie Night: "The Secret Life of Pets" (PG)
Saturday, July 14 Live Music: "Pancho and Lefty" (7-9 pm)
Friday, July 20 Movie Night: "Finding Dory" (PG)
Saturday, July 21 Star Party
Friday, July 27 Movie Night: "Sing" (PG)
Saturday, July 28 Star Party
Friday, August 3 Movie Night: "Moana" (PG)
Saturday, August 4 Star Party
Friday, August 10 Movie Night: "Coco" (PG)
Saturday, August 11 Live Music: "Wilbee Heard" (7-9 pm)
Friday, August 17 Movie Night: "Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope" (PG)
Saturday, August 18 Live Music (6-7:30 pm) followed by a Star Party (8 pm)
Friday, August 24 Movie Night: "Epic" (PG)
Saturday, August 25 Live Music: "The Lucky Ducks" (7-9 p.m.)
Friday, August 31 Movie Night: "The Secret Life of Pets" (PG)
Saturday, September 1 Star Party
Sunday, September 2 Live Music: "America's Apostrophes" & SPARKMAN" (7-9 pm)


Saturday, September 8: Movie Night, "Sing" (PG) at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 15: Movie Night, "Planes: Fire and Rescue" (PG) at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 22: Star Party, with the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit at 8:00 p.m.

Annual Events & Field Workshops

Creepy Creatures of Cachuma Lake 

Date: Saturday, October 13, 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; Todd Baron the magical Balloon Man, and Nammy Jammy and the Captain with lively acoustic music. A mini-garage sale, which includes a variety of small treasures, including used books, will also be open in the nature center garage from 10:30-1:30. For more information call 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.