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Colouria Media/Alamy

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

With its hybrid terrain of coastline, redwood forests, and mountains, the college town of Santa Cruz is a natural magnet for families thanks to an old-fashioned amusement park on the boardwalk. But it’s also home to the century-old Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, set above Seabright Beach. Stop in for the touch pool—with living, local inter-tidal plants and animals—and then visit the live honeybee exhibit or the Ohlone exhibit that shows life in the pre-colonial Central Coast. (Bonus: Admission is free for kids.)