Bring Your Group
to the Nature Center!
Are you bringing a large group of people (15 or more) to the Nature Center?
- We charge a $1 fee per person for group tours and activities.
- Groups of 15 or more, school groups and summer camp groups are required to contact us and book in advance. This ensures we have enough of our volunteer docents available at that time.
- The nature center building has a capacity of 20 people at a time. If your group is larger than 20, we ask that you plan to split into smaller groups and allow 20-30 minutes for each group to explore the nature center.
- We offer special activities for groups and for kids upon request.
Group activities we can offer:
- Arts & Crafts
- Educational Games
- Workshops & Talks
- Scavenger Hunts
Trout in the Classroom
Offered January to March
The Neal Taylor Nature Center “Trout in the Classroom” is a program designed to allow visitors, including local school children on field trips, to experience raising trout in an up-close, first-hand environment. Visitors can observe raising trout from eggs to fry and Nature Center volunteers are on hand to answer questions. The result is an aquarium full of trout fry, each over one inch in length that will eventually be released to a pre-approved site by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Our January session every year spans from 2 – 4 months in length.
The “Trout in the Classroom” program is sponsored by The Santa Barbara Fly-fishers club. The club has been an active Trout in the Classroom (TIC) supporter for many years and sponsors two TIC sessions per year involving many local schools on the central coast in addition to the Nature Center. Trout eggs are picked up from the Fillmore Hatchery and personally delivered to each participating location. The result is an aquarium full of trout fry that are released into a state-approved body of water. This program’s goal is to reconnect an increasingly urbanized population of youth to the system of streams, rivers and watersheds that sustain them. It is one of the living exhibits at the Nature Center and is a favorite.
Every April at Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
The Fish Derby is a two-day annual fishing event held on a Saturday and Sunday in April. To participate in the Fish Derby, registration is required before or during the event. Cash prizes are awarded for different categories of fish caught in Cachuma Lake, and merchandise prizes are distributed throughout the event.
Participants of all ages are welcome, and there is a fee required for participation.
More information and a downloadable registration form can be found at www.TroutDerby.org
Live Animal Program
Offered in May
Each May, the Nature Center hosts an organization that offers an exhibit of live animals. Participants of all ages can learn about and have an up-close look at native animals.
“Going Batty” at the Nature Center
Every Saturday eve at dusk Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
This is a living exhibit! Learn about the local bats and watch as the bats drop out of the bat boxes to feed.
Led by a Nature Center volunteer.
Start times are at dusk and depend on the time of year.
Adult Fishing Workshop
Offered every June
The Adult Fishing Workshop offers adults the opportunity to learn the basics of fishing. The workshop begins with a short talk on fishing and an introduction of the workshop volunteer anglers. There are 5-6 stations and groups of attendees rotate in for a 15-20 minute lessons, including tying knots, types of fish in Cachuma Lake, bow fishing, saltwater fishing, casting, where to fish on the lake, and fly-fishing. Expert anglers teach this fun workshop. Attendance is limited to 30.
There is a small fee for this event.
Kids Fishing Workshop
Offered every July
Offered in July, the workshop allows kids to learn some of the basics of fishing. The program begins with a short talk on fishing in general and an introduction of teachers for the day. There are five or so stations to which small groups then rotate for a 15–20-minute lesson. Children learn about tying knots, kinds of fish in the lake, saltwater fishing, casting, where to fish on the lake, and fly fishing. Volunteer anglers participate in teaching the kids these fundamentals. Santa Barbara County Fish and Game Commission underwrites these workshops. Attendance is limited to 50 kids ages 7 – 15.
There is a small fee for this event.
Book & Treasure Sale
Offered every July
Some Saturdays starting July 4th weekend through Labor Day weekend
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Come find a special book or treasure and help to support the Nature Center!
Every October around Halloween
In celebration of Halloween, local experts showcase live snakes, scorpions, spiders, owls, bats and more. There will also be exhibits of animal bones, skulls, and preserved specimens and arts and crafts activities. Witches serve popcorn and punch and there is live music too!
Call for more information at 805-963-0691
Admission: Donation appreciated
Project Feeder Watch
October Through April
Project Feeder Watch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. As part of this program – volunteers at the Neal Taylor Nature Center periodically count the birds they see at the Center’s feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project Feeder Watch at the Cornell Lab.
The Cornell Lab is part of Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY. Feeder Watch data help scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
Volunteer With Us!
Seasonal opportunities and residential camp host positions are available. Apply now!
Come by the nature center and enjoy our exhibits, weekly and seasonal events, book sales, workshops, gift shop and more!
Hours & Info
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)