This year, locals and visitors will celebrate the 30th annual return of the Monarch Butterflies to Natural Bridges State Park. The park is the only State Park Monarch Preserve in California. On Sunday, October 10, 2010 Welcome Back Monarchs Day will honor the return of the butterflies with music, interpretative tours, games, information, activities for the family, and superheroes Monarch Man and Monarch Woman. Adjacent to the grove, the park’s Visitor Center highlights local natural history.
A new Haunted Castle ride graces the landscape of the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Opened Memorial Day Weekend the 10,000 square-foot attraction features a unique design twist: riders will board the ride at Boardwalk level then spiral down backwards into the haunted basement. Riders then glide through dimly lit rooms filled with spooky special effects. The location of the new Haunted Castle has been home to a number of “dark” rides over the years, starting with “Dante’s Inferno” in 1935. The Haunted Castle, a $9 million project includes new basement space, new game and retail and office space.
Mapping your path to art displays, nature dioramas and historical exhibits is now easier, thanks to a free countywide map. The Santa Cruz County Museum Map features nearly 30 history museums, nature museums and art galleries from Watsonville to Davenport, and points in-between. The map features the three categories of museums and galleries as a color-coded legend, and includes the seven state park interpretive centers at Wilder Ranch State Park north of Santa Cruz, Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, the Pacific Migrations Center at New Brighton State Beach in Capitola, Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton, Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek, and Mission Adobe State Park in Santa Cruz. The map also provides museum and gallery hours, phone number, website, and admission fee, if any. The map is available at various locations throughout the county.
Seamlessly blending Japanese traditions with the California lifestyle, Well Within Spa in Santa Cruz is celebrating 25 years of calmness. Complete with private outdoor enclosures with spas on a deck open to the sky and saunas, Well Within also boasts an Onsen Retreat Room: a Japanese-style soaking tub and Cedar-lined sauna. Specialty massage treatments include hands-on energy healing techniques, Reiki, Cranio Sacral, and Shiatsu. A Monarch Body Wrap utilizes a full body “cocoon” mask of Moor Mud or Sea Clay like the Monarch Butterflies in our coastal forests who experience revitalizing rebirths each year. High quality organic herbal and aromatherapy products utilize ingredients like calendula, neroli, rose water and chamomile.
The Bonny Doon Vineyard Cellar Door Café, located in the tasting room premises Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Vineyard winery, is a unique café dining experience. Offering a selection of small plates, matching the eclectic array of Bonny Doon wines, the Cellar Door is modeled on the form of a chambered nautilus and largely constructed from recycled wooden wine barrels and tanks. Evening brings a family-style, three course, daily prix fixe changing dinner menu served at communal tables. Local superstar Iron Chef David Kinch and Executive Chef Charlie Parker have created a wholesome, health-conscious menu, featuring locally grown organic and biodynamically grown fruits, vegetables and fish.