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UC Santa Cruz

Category: Area Attractions


1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

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Many UC Santa Cruz facilities and programs are open to the public for research, intellectual and cultural enrichment, recreation, and enjoyment. The following listing provides a brief description of each, along with phone numbers for further information.


Located on Empire Grade one-half mile west of the main entrance to the campus, the Arboretum has extensive collections of plants from the South Pacific and South Africa, other exotic flora, a rock garden, and a eucalyptus grove. Call (831) 427-2998 for more information; 423-4977 for the gift shop; or go to the Arboretum web site

Art galleries

There are two major art galleries on campus: the Sesnon Art Gallery at Porter College and the Smith Gallery at Cowell College. Open throughout the academic year, both schedule exhibitions of work by contemporary artists and important collections of historic interest. In addition, the work of faculty, students, staff, and guest artists is displayed in these galleries and a number of other spaces around the campus, including several smaller galleries at Porter College, the McHenry and Science & Engineering Libraries, the Women’s Center, the University Center, and college libraries and coffeehouses. For information about current exhibitions and gallery hours, call (831) 459-3606 (Sesnon); 459-2953 (Smith).

Farm & Garden

The 25-acre organic Farm, where the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems does much of its work, is located on the hilly slopes to the west of the main entrance road. Fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, herbs, berries, and other research crops are used to study nonchemical, organic methods of sustainable agriculture. Similar work is done at the three-acre Alan Chadwick Garden just below Merrill College. Produce from the Farm is marketed in late spring through early fall. Both facilities are open year-round. Open houses and public talks on techniques for growing plants and trees are also offered. For general information, call (831) 459-4140; for group tours, call 459-3240.

Performances and lectures

Theater, art, music, and dance programs are offered to the public throughout the school year by the colleges and Arts & Lectures. Films and public talks by faculty and a variety of entertainers and speakers. In the summer, the campus is home to the Dickens Universe and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, which also stages a family-oriented holiday show and sponsors Shakesepeare To Go, which brings Shakespeare to local schools. Call (831) 459-ARTS (during the academic year) for information on events in the Theater Arts and Music Centers and a quarterly calendar of events. Call 459-2159 for the Ticket Office. Tickets for most events may also be purchased by e-mail at (tickets subject to service charges). The UCSC events calendar is also available on the web.

Tickets to many on-campus and community events are available through (tickets subject to service charges).

Lick Observatory

A facility of UC Observatories, Lick Observatory is atop Mount Hamilton 19 miles east of San Jose. The observatory, open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, offers the public a view of the 120-inch Shane Telescope. The visitors’ center in the main building, which was built in 1888, is open from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Free guided tours of the historic 36-inch Lick refractor are offered during the visitors’ center open hours. For information about Lick activities, call (408) 274-5061 or visit the Lick web site.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory

The 43-acre Long Marine Laboratory site—at the western end of Delaware Avenue in Santa Cruz—is located on Younger Lagoon at the edge of the Pacific three miles from campus. Learn about marine life in Monterey Bay and the Pacific through aquaria and other exhibits, including the skeleton of an 85-foot blue whale. Tours offer glimpses of research projects involving bottle-nosed dolphins, California sea lions, elephant seals, and harbor seals. For more information, call (831) 459-3800 or visit the Seymour Center web site.

University Library

The McHenry and Science & Engineering Libraries house the impressive collection of UCSC’s University Library, which includes approximately 2 million volumes, over 27,500 periodical titles (including online journals), over 650,000 microforms, and more than 430,000 nonprint items, including maps, slides, and audio and video recordings. Most of the library’s resources may be used by the public; circulation privileges are available through membership in the Friends of the UCSC Library. During the academic year, the library is open every day except holidays. Special Collections at McHenry Library contains rare, valuable, and often fragile materials that do not circulate but can be viewed by appointment. Holdings include local history, 20th-century literature, book arts, and the archives of Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, poet Kenneth Patchen, composer Lou Harrison, the Grateful Dead and others. For library hours, visit the University Library’s web site or call (831) 459-4000. For more information, call 459-2711 (McHenry Library), 459-2886 (Science & Engineering Library), or 459-2547 (Special Collections).