Trolley Spotting in Santa Cruz!
All Aboard the Santa Cruz Trolley!
When driving around town, I often hear my kids call out the different vehicles they see on the road: "School bus!" " Yellow taxi!" "Fire truck!" Their latest excitement can be summed up in one word: "Trolley!"
We love spotting the Santa Cruz trolley en route to either downtown or the beach. It's hard to miss, with its vintage 1930s streetcar looks, polished wooden trim and shiny green exterior. At just twenty-five cents, who could resist such a fun and classy ride?
My family's trolley adventure began at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center
, located across from the entrance to the Wharf. We brought our four kids and their friend to check out the interactive exhibits featuring our very own Monterey Bay underwater sanctuary, one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Educational experiences are not hard to come by in Santa Cruz, but the center's free admission was a plus.
From there, we waited for the trolley outside the Sanctuary Exploration Center and passed the few minutes people-watching and repeating to the kids that we weren't going to the Boardwalk, the arcade, the beach, the bowling alley, or to the end of the wharf to watch sea lions. Who could blame them for knowing all the fun things to do around here?
Our trolley announced itself with a clang and a ding, and after the kids each deposited a quarter, we settled into the comfy wooden benches toward the back. Along the way, we looked out the windows, checked out the digital display of local business ads mixed with visitor information, and listened to our friendly driver answer a few questions from visitors. The best part of the ride? Not worrying about parking.
Once downtown, we headed straight for ice cream
because, well, five kids, right? A little walking around, a few pauses to listen to live musicians sprinkled throughout Pacific Avenue and we were ready to head back. On our way to the trolley stop, I stopped at the Downtown Association's information kiosk and learned that they are a proud sponsor of the trolley and therefore had free one-way passes to hand out. Score! Check out the complete list of sponsors here
The Santa Cruz trolley provides daily service between the Downtown and the beach area Memorial weekend through Labor Day.
The trolley is perfect for attending summertime concerts at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or downtown, followed by dinner at a local eatery!
Our trolley adventure was short and sweet, but gave me a glimpse into the possibilities and convenience of traveling between the action at the beach and shopping and dining downtown without a car. Not only does the trolley service help minimize traffic during peak season, it runs on compressed natural gas making it the most stylish and environmentally-friendly ride around.
- Shuttles between Downtown and the Beach/Wharf/Boardwalk area
- Runs daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Memorial weekend through Labor Day. The trolley continuously runs every 20 minutes weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends.
- 2 Downtown stops to choose from: Del Mar Theatre and Locust Street Garage
- The beach stop is in front of the Sanctuary Exploration Center at 35 Pacific Avenue, near the Wharf.
- Check website for information on trolley stops and departures, as well as Fall Weekend-only service and off-season rentals (think wedding pictures!)
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