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About UC Elkus Ranch


Ewes & lambs graze outside Barn 2

The mission of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) San Mateo/San Francisco and Elkus Ranch is to serve the diverse needs of residents through the creation, development, and extension of knowledge in agriculture, natural resources, and human resources. 

View the Elkus Ranch Brochure

Elkus Ranch video created by Sarah Thorpe and used with permission. Thank you, Sarah!

Please Note: Though we love to share the ranch with visitors, reservations are required for all events and we are not open to the public on a daily basis. Please check our Event Calendar for the next opportunity to visit or schedule a Private Tour for your group. Thank you!

Any photography or recordings created by UC Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center at all events are, and will remain the property of UCCE and UC Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center for educational and promotional use only.

History of Elkus Ranch

UC Elkus Ranch is an environmental education center providing unique hands-on learning experiences for Greater San Francisco Bay Area youth. Elkus Ranch is the property of the University of California and was a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Elkus in 1975.

ER 1970s photo

The Elkus family envisioned that the Ranch would provide the University with an opportunity to conduct educational outdoor programs for urban, disabled and inner-city youth. By offering environmental science, California history, animal care and agricultural programs that are scheduled year round, that goal has been achieved.

Located on the central California coast in Half Moon Bay, the ranch offers diverse programs including those specifically designed for students with special needs, allowing participants to learn about the inter-relationship of the environment and themselves in a rural setting.

In addition, the Elkus family felt that the Ranch would make it possible for youth with disabilities or financial hardships to work, play and learn together with youth from different backgrounds, so that both would benefit by a new understanding of other people as well as by the learning experiences gained at the Ranch.

Each year, Elkus Ranch serves an increasing number of young people with the goal of continuing to provide meaningful learning experiences that will enrich their lives and provide opportunities for growth and development.

Elkus Ranch hosts more than 9,000 youth and adults each year from all over the San Francisco Bay area including: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. Elkus Ranch invites all children to explore the wonders of this outdoor classroom.

The Ranch offers a myriad of educational programs and activities for children of all ages and ethnicities. Individuals and groups participate in day and overnight field trips, community service projects, internships and volunteer opportunities.