MERL – Museum Education Resource Loan Program


Our Museum Education Resource Loan (MERL) program brings the Museum to you through specimens, kits and artifacts. Kits include resources such as activities, posters, books, charts, and DVDs. Materials are available by reservation only. Please call (831) 420-6115×10 to reserve or if you have any questions.


Ohlone Kit

The Ohlone Kit contains instructional aids such as animal pelts, tule, chert & obsidian, stone arrowheads, spear points, acorns, seashells, and animal hides to help children learn more about Ohlone culture. Suggested activities, photos, books, and a DVD slideshow are also included.

Cost: $15/week


Preschool Ohlone Kit

This kit contains visual aids such as stone arrowheads, spear points, acorns, pictures, seashells, and animal hides to help children learn more about Ohlone culture. Popular games and stories such as the Stave Game and How Hummingbird Got Fire are fun activities included to supplement teaching curriculum.

Cost: $10/week


Ohlone Mortar & Pestle

Authentic grinding bowl for grinding acorns or corn in the classroom.

Cost: $5/week


Ohlone Basket Kit

A selection of non-authentic baskets similar to those used by the native people of California. Examples of carrying, cooking, and tray baskets.

Cost: $5/week

Dinosaur Kit

The kit contains a variety of information about dinosaurs and the Mesozoic era. With plastic models, books, and a poster about geologic time kids can use these aids to visualize this amzing time period. Also included in the guide are fun educational activities according to grade level such as paper Mache bones, making dinosaur tracks, and visualizing a million years.



Rock Kit

This collection contains fifteen different rocks all from the central coast. Along with the suggested activities, the rocks can be removed from the kit for observation and study. Study the three main types of rocks and rock formation cycle with informative placards, a children’s book, and a geologic map of Santa Cruz County.


Fossil Kit

The Fossil Kit contains twenty-one fossils from Santa Cruz County. They are the remains of marine animals that have been preserved in various ways and can be removed from the kit for observaton. Using the labels, identification sheets, and suggested activities enjoy bringing the world of Paleontology to your kids today!


Tidepool Kit

This kit brings the Intertidal Zone to life with coloring sheets, an identification book, twelve animal identification cards, and cases containing various shells. See if you can identify all the shells in the collections bag!

Cost: $10/week

Honeybee Kit

Learn aout the strange and wondrous life of being a bee! Included are twelve placards, a NOVA informational video (Tales From the Hive) with corresponding video questions, and a children’s book all to help you uncover the secrets of hive life.

Cost: $5/week

Butterfly Collection

Selection of common local butterflies mounting in display case. Each is identified with its typical habitat.

Cost: $10/week

Seashell Science Kit

Seashell Science contains activity ideas for kindergarten through second grade. In addition to curriculum suggestions, the kit provides a collection of twenty-eight seashells (all local to Monterey Bay), identification cards corresponding to each shell, and two shell identification guides for further reference.


Bones Kit

Learn about body structure, skeletons, and bones of human and animal bodies. Teachers can use pictures, a skeleton model, and other aids to provoke inquiry about bones and learn about the connection we have with them. All pieces of the kit can be handled and the word search can be duplicated as needed. The bones kit guide includes suggested activities such as construting a human skeleton, mystery bones matching game, and a bones word search.

Cost: $15/week

Coastal Birds

This kit contains an introduction DVD to the coastal birds of California, two nests for visual aids, and suggested educational activities. With beautiful pictures of the bird’s size, feather pattern, wingspan, and habitat you will have no trouble identifing them the next time you spot one!

Cost: $5/week

Mallard Duck

Male duck mounted inside clear plastic box with label.

Size: 20″ x 15″ x 20″

Cost: $10/week

Shoveler Ducks

Male and female ducks mounted inside clear plastic box with label.

Size: 24″ x 18 1/2″ x 18″

Cost: $10/week

Great Horned Owl

Mounted inside clear plastic box with label.

Size: 18″ x 18″ x 24″

Cost: $10/week

Golden Eagle

(Requires two people to carry. Does not fit in standard passenger car.)

Mounted inside clear plastic box with label.

Size: 28″ x 18 1/2″ x 33″

Weight: 70 pounds

Cost: $10/week


(Requires two people to carry. Does not fit in standard passenger car.)

Mounted inside clear plastic box with label.

Size: 43″ x 25″ x 30″

Weight: 90 pounds

Cost: $10/week

Native Plants

This kit provides an introduction to the native plants of Santa Cruz County. Included is a DVD illustrating the plants beauty and diversity, as well as a way to promote more careful observation, appreciation, and conservation of them. Along with suggested activities and information cards you will be able to identify native plants from invasive species in no time!

Cost: $5/week