These are the questions we are asked most: What are the best places for families to do sports, arts, music, theater and take care of their health with the best doctors, dentists and clinics ? Well, we have the answers right here in our annual Family Guide. This is a great place to start your quest for the best of Santa Cruz. You can cut out the guide and post it on your refrigerator or, realizing we are in a new century, turn to it on our website, growingupsc.com, where all of our guides are posted year round.
Adventure Sports Unlimited
303 Potrero Street, #15, Santa Cruz
We teach infants through adults the joys of water and adventure. Our ocean programs introduce families to our magnificent marine environments with camping trips to Santa Cruz Island and Big Sur. We explore the world-renown underwater landscape of Monterey Bay through our Open Water Scuba courses. Come play with us!
Alison K. Jackson, DDS
7545 Soquel Dr, Aptos
We provide comprehensive dentistry in a caring environment for children of all ages. We are preventive-dentistry oriented and very thorough in our evaluations and consultations. We have a pediatric anesthesiologist on our premises and are able to treat special, challenging children safely and comfortably under a general anesthesia. We have a 24-hour emergency service available for all of our patients.
Be Natural Music
740 Water St, Santa Cruz, CA
Be Natural Music is a Jazz & Rock Music School based in Santa Cruz, with a satellite studio in Corralitos, and a new location in Cupertino serving our community over the hill. Our schools offer private music lessons, Real Rock & Jazz Band classes for youth and teens, workshops, and music camps. We offer musical instruction on voice, piano & keyboard, guitar, bass, drums & percussion, saxophone, clarinet, ukulele, harp & beginning DJ lessons.
Boulder Creek Recreation & Park District
13333 Middleton Ave. Boulder Creek, CA
Boulder Creek Recreation & Park District’s mission is to provide quality programs and services through the provision of facilities, parks, and activities that enriches and improves the quality of lives of people living in our community. BCRPD runs KBCZ 98.3FM, Community Tool Shed, Bear Creek Community Center, BC Recreation, Junction Park, Garrahan Park, and Barbara Day Dam Park. We strive to create space and community gatherings for people within the surrounding communities through people, parks, and programs.
Birth Network of Santa Cruz County
We provide parents and professionals with information, education, and advocacy for safe, empowering, joyful birth. Visit birthnet.org for an extensive listing of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum-related service providers. Learn about the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative and become a more informed healthcare consumer. Find registration information on our Upcoming Events webpage for Meet the Doulas and other virtual events. Due to COVID19 recommendations, events such as Bellies, Birth & Babies will be delayed until in-person events are safe. Keep in touch with our local birth and parenting community with Birth Network Santa Cruz on Facebook and Instagram.
Encompass Community Services – Mental Health Counseling for Youth and Young Adults
Health is more than just something we get at the doctor’s office. The path to better health includes nurturing your mental, social, and emotional wellbeing, which can be especially challenging for adolescents and young adults who are already facing so much. If a young person in your life could benefit from counseling, call Encompass Community Services. We offer comprehensive low-cost mental health counseling services to all Santa Cruz County youth and young adults ages 12-20 and their families. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to receive professional support at a cost the fits your budget. Our experienced counselors offer group, individual, and family sessions including telehealth and in-person services.
First 5 Santa Cruz County
First 5 Santa Cruz County promotes the healthy development of children from birth to age 5. Parents and caregivers of newborns can contactFirst5 to receive a free “Kit for New Parents” with parenting videos, children’s books, information on caring for babies, and local resources.First5 also offers parenting support through the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, a world-renowned program that strengthens families by building positive relationships. To find Triple P classes or quick tips, visit http://triplep.first5scc.org or www.facebook.com/triplepscc
The Gan Jewish Preschool
We recognize that each child has an entire world of thoughts and emotions, talents, and interests. Through providing a calm, loving, and joyful environment, we encourage children to express themselves, helping them to learn and grow through their experiences. With our Montessori-inspired curriculum, we believe that teachers play the role of facilitators. We promote an environment where children can develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills for a successful and meaningful life. A warm, safe, and loving environment, fostering self-confidence, individuality and infused with Jewish values, songs, and crafts.
Gateway School, K-8
255 Swift Street, Santa Cruz
831.423.0341 ext 302
Located on the west side of Santa Cruz, Gateway School provides students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade with an exemplary education. Small class sizes and programs in Art and Technology, Music, Spanish, and Life Lab complement a robust academic curriculum grounded in Social Emotional Learning. We value collaboration, creativity, and a love of learning, and encourage our students to become compassionate and responsible citizens. Gateway School is the only K-8 school in Santa Cruz accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Its mission is to inspire children to lead lives of purpose and compassion through scholarship and citizenship, and all are welcome. Learn more by visiting gateways.org.
Jim Booth Swim School
Santa Cruz at Harvey West Pool and Watsonville at Duncan Holbert Pool
Be a water wonder! From our Little Otters class for parents with babies to Aquaphobics, our adult beginner class, the whole family splashes together at Jim Booth Swim School. Little Otters beginning at age 4 months is a gentle introduction to our 94-degree pools that make you confident that you are guiding your infant to a happy water experience. Our lessons emphasize quality swimming in an exciting class taught by our caring, well-qualified teachers. The whole family swims at Jim Booth Swim School.
3910 Portola Drive, Suite 2, Santa Cruz
JuneBug’s Gym is a place where your child can experience a fun-filled adventure in movement. We have a caring, respectful, and supportive staff that encourages every child in their growth of large motor skills and gymnastics along with social, emotional, and cognitive development. Our goals for our students are to help them feel control and empowerment in their bodies, to build self-esteem through success, to open up imaginations, and to feel confidence and joy in their exploration of movement.
International Academy of Dance
320 Encinal Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Our studio offers premier dance classes for dancers of all ages and experience levels. Because we are located right here in Santa Cruz, we are conveniently located and easy to access. If you’re interested in dancing with us, you can learn more about our expert instructors, state-of-the-art studios, and our vision, mission, and goals on our about page at iadance.com.
Live Oak Acupuncture & Healing Arts
6892B Soquel Avenue
Santa Cruz , CA
Marcia is passionate about helping women and girls find and own their resilience through each stage of life. Relying on various styles and traditions of acupuncture, herbs/supplements, meditation, and nutritional recommendations, she helps her patients awaken and reconnect with their own sense of healing and vibrant health.
Mount Madonna School
491 Summit Road, Watsonville
MMS nurtures students’ love of learning and intellectual inquiry while cultivating a sense of belonging. Featuring Montessori-influenced preschool and kindergarten classes, an academically vibrant middle and high school, and environmental education on a 375-acre, redwood-forested campus. MMS is CAIS and WASC accredited and offers small, personalized class sizes. Transportation available, with bus stops throughout Santa Cruz County. Courses include life skills, marine biology, oceanography, first through twelfth grade Spanish, music, technology, engineering and art. Since 1979, the school supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity.
Mountain Music School
(Formerly known as B Sharp)
216-A Mt. Herman Rd, Scotts Valley CA 95066
(831)201-9605 (text or call)
Mountain Music School has brought fun, quality music lessons to the Santa Cruz Mountains since 2017. Learn to play piano, guitar, ukulele, drums, voice, and more! Students and their families enjoy an enthusiastic, lighthearted atmosphere brought by our qualified instructors. Our philosophy is that lessons should be fun!
Music Together/MusicalMe, Inc.
Locations throughout Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County
Our classes (both outdoors and online) offer the very best in early childhood music learning for ages Birth to 8 years: 1) Music Together®: A music enrichment program for children birth to age 5, and the grownups who love them. Enhancing children’s learning in multiple domains (mentally, physically, socially, etc.), increasing family engagement and, adding richly to each family’s “toolbox”. Siblings are welcome, especially infants who may attend free if they are 8 months or under. 2) Canta y Baila ConmigoTM: A unique curriculum for young children (ages Birth to 5 years) with dual, complementary goals of music education and language immersion. Designed for beginners and native speakers alike, CyBC creates a playful, interactive atmosphere where language learning is integrated naturally and organically in the musical experience. 3) Rhythm Kids®: A drumming, music, and movement, program for children ages 4–8 years. Classes naturally support children’s rhythm development and help them prepare for formal music lessons. Contact us today to try a free class and bring the joy of music into your family’s life.
Nursing Mothers Counsel
831.688.3954 (Santa Cruz)
650.327-6455 (Bay Area)
Nursing Mothers Counsel, Inc. is a non-affiliated, non-profit organization whose goal is to help mothers and their babies enjoy a relaxed and happy feeding relationship. Our help is provided by telephone, text, Zoom, email, Facebook, FaceTime, and in-home visits. We provide hospital-grade breast pump rentals and grants. NMC services are provided without fee or obligation. Counselors are available from 9:00am – 9:00pm. If you would like to become a certified breastfeeding counselor please register for our trainings. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.
Orchard School K-6
2288 Trout Gulch Road, Aptos
Orchard School, established over 30 years ago, provides a unique, yet comprehensive K-6 education. At Orchard, we weave together the magic of an extraordinary faculty, a 14-acre campus, and a down-to-earth philosophy that nourishes and honors the natural growth and development of children. Small class sizes, an organic garden, and an animal farm create enriching “whole child” learning experiences that are hands-on and individualized. We provide Strong Core Academics, Excellent Science Curriculum, Art, Music, Physical Theater/Circus Arts, Electives, Ceramics, Archery, Swimming, Leadership, Field Trips, Drama Productions, and more.
Grades 6 through 12
Kirby School empowers students to shape their futures with confidence. Our independent, coeducational middle and high school has been preparing students for college and beyond for over 25 years. In classes averaging 12 students, teachers are responsive to each learner’s strengths and interests. Our rigorous academic and arts curriculum, intensive study paths, and inspiring faculty challenge each student based on their interests and readiness, rather than grade level. Kirby graduates go on to attend excellent four-year colleges and universities.
REDYPER (Formally EarthBaby):
The World’s First Compostable Diaper Service
REDYPER (formally EarthBaby) is the World’s First Compostable Diaper Service! REDYPER delivers fresh new compostable diapers and wipes right to your doorstep. Soiled diapers are collected weekly, professionally composted, and turned into nutrient-rich topsoil in just 14-16 weeks. Did you know that the average baby will go through 5,500 diapers? Disposable diapers are the 3rd largest contributor to US landfill sites. By using REDYPER, you can enjoy the convenience of disposable diapers without the negative environmental impact. Sign up new and expecting parents within our delivery zone and they will receive 1 pack of compostable diapers, 1 pack of compostable wipes, and 1 month of REDYPER delivery. Pick up, and composting service for FREE! Use code ‘GROWINGUPINSC’ at earth-baby.com
Santa Cruz Gymnastics Center, Inc.
2750 B Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz
We at Santa Cruz Gymnastics Center understand how important physical movement is in developing a healthy brain in children. Healthy brain development leads to proficiency in learning and overall confidence to lead a successful life. Our gymnastics instructors take pride in offering gymnastics training packed with a lot of fun in every class! Each lesson offers a wide range of sensory integration activities through the usage of our gymnastics equipment on the floor, bars, balance beam, vault, trampolines, and foam pit. We offer a range of classes from preschool to competitive teams. Check our website to see what is available for your child today.
Santa Cruz Montessori
Ages 18 months – 14 years
Main Campus (Primary and Elementary)
6230 Soquel Drive, Aptos
Winston Campus (Young Children’s Community and Jr. High)
244 Cabrillo College Drive, Soquel
Established in 1964, Santa Cruz Montessori is a non-profit school serving children 18 months to 14 years. Our beautiful classrooms and outdoor environments engage the children’s senses as they learn. Based on a deep understanding of child through adolescent development, our programs meet the interests and needs of our students, engaging and challenging them to do their best. We offer a supportive community of learners and an exciting Montessori curriculum including humanities, math, sciences, and arts. Our mission: as a Montessori learning community, we inspire life-long learning and a more peaceful world by nurturing the natural development of the whole child.
Spring Hill School
250 California Street, Santa Cruz
We are a community of educators and families who inspire curiosity and a love of learning by creating a supportive and welcoming school experience. Our approach develops inner confidence and encourages a willingness to risk imperfection. With our small class sizes, each teacher comes to know each student, and we can prioritize effective communication with families. Students leave Spring Hill with a strong preparation for middle school both academically and on a social emotional level. With a focus on developing the tools to take on the world, a Spring Hill experience is designed to last a lifetime.
Yoso Wellness Spa
740 Front St. Suite 110, Santa Cruz, Ca
We aim to treat our clients with a clinical holistic approach to skin and body care. Yoso, meaning ‘raw elements’ in Japanese, reflects both the organic, eco-friendly products used in our treatments, as well as the diverse spa services offered utilizing natural elements which fits into our whole body well-being philosophy. Yoso is a space you are empowered with internal and external personal wellness so that you exude confidence, radiance and are educated to achieve your skin and body goals. Offering the ultimate client experience from the moment you call, to creating your own custom blueprint at your appointment, to let you know we are fully invested in you as a unique person.