Is there a visitor center on Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park? If yes, what are the opening times for this center?

According to the NPS website on Visitor Centers in Channel Islands National Park:

As of October 2005, planning is underway to open a visitor contact station in a historic house at Scorpion Ranch on Santa Cruz Island. Please check back here for updates on this project.

And, according to an unsources statement on the Wikipedia article on Channel Islands National Park:

A new island visitor center opened at Scorpion Ranch on Santa Cruz Island on April 6, 2009.

Neither information is very useful. Is there a visitor center on Santa Cruz Island? Does it have a ranger present? When?

  • If nobody here knows, the page you link has a phone number for the Ventura visitor center, which should be able to answer your question if you call during business hours. Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 6:00
  • Here's the April 6 2009 press release on the opening of the visitor centre on Santa Cruz Island. And a photo (credits: Walk Simply), with the description saying the centre's also a private residence. Especially with a campground nearby, I can only guess that means someone would be present on a regular basis. Couldn't find specific opening hours though...
    – MH.
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


With some detective work, it's possible to work it out.

Firstly, Frommer's now states that there's a visitor center at the Scorpion Ranch, so we can be pretty sure it exists.

On Yelp - there's a photo of the Visitor's Center.

So now we know that exists, and what it looks like. Another photo here

Then - is there a ranger...well...it's stated that if camping, you need to present your reservation to the ranger, and that a ranger is present on every island.

The visitor center itself doesn't look like it's liveable - it's more of an exhibition center for visitors to view. There's a gallery inside available.

So presumably there's an abode elsewhere for the ranger.

  • 2
    After having returned from Santa Cruz Island, I can confirm that: (1) rangers live on the island but not at the visitor centre (2) the visitor centre exists, is "open" during imprecisely defined hours, but the rangers do not actually lock the door, so it's possible to visit at any time — but electricity will be shut off so there will be no light, sound, video, etc.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 23:29

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