Memories of childhood vacations are in the making in Sacramento. There’s something for every child (and their parents too!) in this family-friendly city, whether they be a sports fanatic, history buff, fascinated by fantasy or a future scientist.
Educational Fun: Old Sacramento, Museums & Sutter’s Fort
Blending education with fun is always a winning combination, as demonstrated in Old Sacramento. As you enter the 28-acre town of historic buildings constructed in the mid 1800s, you’ll step back in time to the California Gold Rush era. Wooden sidewalks, horse-drawn carriages, old-fashioned candy shops, and Mississippi-style riverboats offer a hands-on introduction to early American history; think of it as the Williamsburg of the west. Children of all ages will love the interactive experiences, such as riding on a steam train, peeking inside a one-room schoolhouse, or dressing in period costumes for an “old-fashioned” family photo. With “Living History” volunteers roaming the town in period costume from the 1850s, Old Sacramento is the perfect setting for a disguised history lesson.
Old Sacramento is also home to the California State Railroad Museum. While the Railroad Museum has the most comprehensive collection of trains and other related artifacts in North America, what is even more impressive is its digestible presentation style. Children will not be overwhelmed by this museum, but instead will get to climb aboard, listen to re-enactments, learn about how a steam engine works and interact with the incredibly knowledgeable docents. Don’t miss the $1 million toy train collection! You’ll also find this kid-friendly style next door at the Sacramento History Museum, where kids are invited to try their luck at panning for gold.
With special presentations of the Gold Rush, newspaper and agriculture industries, the Sacramento History Museum offers yet another opportunity for your family to learn about California history together. Outside of Old Sacramento, the learning continues. At Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, kids will love the chance to make believe they’re pioneers stopping at the trading post for supplies. The Discovery Museum Science & Space Center brings out the curiosity in all of us with planetarium shows, an amazing space program called the “Challenger Learning Center”, a nature trail, nature discovery room with live animals, and geology and fossil exhibits.
Sacramento offers countless new and fun ways to bring out the athlete in your child. For example, practice bike riding or roller-blading on part of the smooth and safe, 32-mile long American River Parkway; check out the miniature golf courses, bumper boats, racecars and batting cages at Scandia Family Fun Center; hit the bowling alley at Country Club Lanes; beat the heat at Golfland/Sunsplash Entertainment Park, where the whole family will love the waterslides, Wave Pool, laser tag and arcade; explore Old Sacramento on tandem and four-some bikes that are big enough for the whole family; adventurous white-water rafting trips are only a short distance away; and don’t forget to cast your fishing pole into the beautiful American River followed by a leisurely float downstream. Whew!
Just when you thought that the family activities couldn’t get anymore exciting, the Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town and Funderland in William Land Park offer three more city treasures. The Sacramento Zoo has been remodeled, expanded and now features more than 140 native, endangered or threatened species, in a lush park environment. The Zoo has an intimate quality that allows close observation and promotes appreciation for animals and the earth’s ecology. Best of all, the Zoo is the perfect size and presentation style to hold the attention of even small children while impressing visitors of all ages. Across the street, younger children will feel transported into a dream world at Fairytale Town. For 50 years, this unique setting has brought nursery rhymes and fairytales to life with puppet shows, dress-up days, group activities and scaled-down play lands. Visit with Peter Rabbit and friends, meet kings and queens, ride giant slides and enjoy the petting zoo. Or for good ole’ fashioned amusement park fun, head across the way to Funderland, were kids can ride the dragon-coaster, teacups and airplanes or all-aboard the Funderland Train. The Sacramento Children’s Museum is the newest addition to family entertainment.
This is only a sampling of all the great family activities the area has to offer, so make your next trip to Sacramento one the whole family will remember fondly for years to come
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