Cachuma Lake Nature Programs & Activities

Most Nature Programs have resumed and are modified to incorporate social distancing and other safety measures. Please see details below.  

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 "To-Go"

  • Due to COVID-19, the regular Junior Ranger program is being substituted with the Junior Ranger "To-Go" program. Please call (805) 688-4515 to arrange a time to pick up the park 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. 
  • The program is designed for ages 3 and up, and participants will learn about Cachuma Lake wildlife, environmental stewardship, and earn a cool badge! 
  • 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. 
  • Limited to nine participants. 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. 
  • 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 visit the Calendar of Events page to check.  

Summer 2020 Evening Programs at the Fireside Theater

  • Due to COVID-19, all Fireside Theater Programs are suspended until further notice. Please check back periodically for updates. 
  • 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, star parties, live music, storytelling, or an interactive natural history presentation by a Santa Barbara County Park Naturalist or special guest presenter. 
  • 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.
  • 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 for their children to view.
  • TBD= To Be Determined.
  Date    Event 
Friday, June 26 TBD
Saturday, June 27 TBD
Friday, July 3 TBD
Saturday, July 4 TBD
Friday, July 10 TBD
Saturday, July 11 TBD
Friday, July 17 TBD
Saturday, July 18 TBD
Friday, July 24 TBD
Saturday, July 25 TBD
Friday, July 31 TBD
Saturday, August 1 TBD 
Friday, August 7 TBD
Saturday, August 8 TBD
Friday, August 14 TBD
Saturday, August 15 TBD
Friday, August 21 TBD
Saturday, August 22 TBD
Friday, August 28 TBD
Saturday, August 29 TBD
Friday, September 4  TBD
Saturday, September 5 TBD


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 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.