Travel into the sand dunes while hundreds of elephant seals are on shore to give birth and mate at the spectacular Año Nuevo State Park rookery. On Saturday and Sunday, January 26 & 27, 2013, the Coastside State Parks Association (formerly the San Mateo Coast Natural History Association) and California State Parks will host Seal Adventures, a special fundraising event to support educational and interpretive programs at Año Nuevo State Park and other state parks along the San Mateo coast.
For these two days only, visitors will have extraordinary access, enabling them to linger for an entire morning (8:30-12:00) or afternoon (1:00-4:30) to view the elephant seals at the peak of the breeding season. This is a rare opportunity, one that can be enjoyed by everyone—from families to avid wildlife photographers.
Seal Adventure tickets will be available for sale online (www.CoastsideStateParks.org), starting November 24. Tickets are $50 per person, with a state-mandated $10 per vehicle parking fee (day passes are valid). The number of tickets is limited, so we suggest you register early.
Seal Adventures are CSPA fundraising events. All money from ticket sales will be used to support interpretive and educational programs at Año Nuevo and other state parks on the San Mateo county coast. Coastside State Parks Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and $30 of the cost of Seal Adventure tickets is tax deductible.
The adventure includes a 4-mile walk over bluff trails and rolling sand dunes to the elephant seal viewing area. On the way, visitors will be able to enjoy views of the ocean and Año Nuevo Island, observe birds and other wildlife, and hear the guttural sound of the elephant seals in the distance.
Arriving at the viewing area, you will have a memorable experience surveying the beach crowded with hundreds of elephant seals—the males sparring among themselves and females giving birth and nursing their newly born pups. Volunteer naturalists and park staff will be available to direct you to the best viewing areas, where you can observe the elephant seals for as long as you like during your viewing time period, and can answer questions about the seals and the park.
Before and after observing the seals, you can explore historic ranch buildings dating back to the 19thcentury, visit the Año Nuevo Bookstore and Marine Education Center, and enjoy free refreshments in an old Horse Barn that now serves as a classroom and meeting area.
Año Nuevo State Park is located on State Route 1, between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, about 1.5 hours south of San Francisco.
Seal Adventures will be held rain or shine. Visitors should prepare for an outdoor hiking adventure that may include wind, rain, and cold. Recommended clothing includes hooded rain gear, layered clothing, and sturdy walking shoes. For safety reasons, umbrellas and baby strollers are not allowed.
The first Seal Adventure was held in January 2012, and it sold out completely. Be sure to purchase your tickets early, so you won’t miss out!
The Coastside State Parks Association, established in 1990, is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports 15 state parks on the San Mateo County coast, between Gray Whale Cove and Año Nuevo. Membership in CSPA is open to all and members are treated to special behind-the-scenes tours and activities, discounts, and news about the coast. Opportunities are also available for qualified individuals to join the CSPA Board of Directors. More information is available at www.CoastsideStateParks.org.