“Outdoors & Recreation in Santa Cruz, CA”
Año Nuevo State Park is one of the largest mainland breeding colonies in the world for the northern elephant seal. A Natural Preserve has been established to protect the elephant seals along with many other animals such as otters, California sea lions, coyotes, cormorants, terns and more. Native plants and an untouched intertidal ecosystem also find shelter inside the Natural Preserve. Elephant seals can be observed here year round either on a docent lead tour or through a self guided permit system. Elephant Seat Guided Walks - December 15 to March 31 During the breeding season daily access to the Natural Preserve is available only via guided walks. Visitors who hope to see the elephant seals during this season are urged to get their reservations early through Reserve America. This is the time when male elephant seals battle on the beaches for the right to mate and the females give birth to their pups on the dunes. Most of the adult seals are gone by early March, leaving behind the weaned pups who remain through April.
I visited this park when I was young. I don’t remember much about that single visit other than a brawl between two bull elephant seals. It was loud and bloody and frightening and amazing and it broke my young head that I could see something so wild so close to the house I lived and slept in.
I look forward to visiting again in the near future.
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Ano Nuevo State Reserve
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
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