Rancho del Oso recently opened a nature and history center, part of Big Basin California State Park, located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz (past Davenport) at Wadell Creek.
The ranch got its name from the Grizzly Bears that once frequented the valley and who killed Mr. Wadell, Wadell Creek's namesake. "Oso" means bear in Spanish. They've got a sad-faced stuffed Grizzly in the visitors center. The park is lovely, with wildflowers, marsh, and ocean views.
The new visitor center is open on Saturdays and Sundays 12-4. The drive up the coast from Santa Cruz is gorgeous, and there's plenty of parking at the park. Bring a picnic to enjoy at their picnic tables with a view.