Wintertime in Sacramento is a great time to visit your favorite area museum. Here’s what’s new this winter:
1. Fast Tracks: The World of High Speed Rail at the California State Railroad Museum. If you’re a Sacramento area resident, there’s no doubt you’ve been to the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento countless times. But, have you been there lately? If not, you’ll probably want to head on over to see the Fast Tracks exhibit that was installed in late 2015 on the 2nd floor of the museum. The exhibit gives visitors a glimpse into the state’s rail future, literally. You’ll have the chance to step inside the cockpit of a series E5 Shinkansen bullet-train simulator that was imported from Japan and experience traveling at a high speed of 150 mph using interactive controls and a digital projector. Who wouldn’t love stepping inside this train of the future? Note: the museum’s website states that this exhibit is there “at least through the end of 2016”, and a call to the museum confirmed that it is still open as of January 2017…but if you really want to see Fast Tracks, it wouldn’t hurt to get over there soon!
2. Hands on History: Trappers, Traders and Treaties at Sutter’s Fort. Visitors to the fort on Saturday, Jan. 21 will step into the past through reenactments of the bustling life at Sacramento’s first settlement. Learn how animal trappers in the 1840s lived, worked and traded. Explore life at the fort for traders by examining pelts, creating documents using quill and ink, stringing trade beads, watching how flint and steel can start a fire and witness the firing of Sutter’s Russian-made cannon. 1/21, 10am to 5pm.
3. Sacramento Museum Day. This is your chance to visit one, two or three area museums…for FREE, or close to free. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 marks the 19th annual Sacramento Museum Day. This year, 24 museums will offer free admission, and two will offer half-price admission. Museums participating include the California Museum,
4. Machines in Motion at the Aerospace Museum of California. On display from Feb. 6, 2017 through Sept. 4, 2017 will be a special traveling exhibit featuring the ideas of Leonardo Da Vinci including 40 full-size replicas made from his designs and drawings. Da Vinci’s visionary inventions include flying machines, parachutes, and armored tank and a robot, spanning the use of the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. Visitors will be wowed as they have the opportunity to set the machines in motion while learning the mechanical principles da Vinci used to create each one. 2/6 – 9/4
5. Tractor Family Fest at the California Agriculture Museum. Home of the Heidrick tractor collection, the California Agriculture Museum houses a unique collections of tractors, artifacts and interactive exhibits. The museum, which is dedicated to instilling and understanding and appreciation of California’s rich cultural heritage, will host the Tractor Family Fest on Saturday, Mar. 18, 2017. Bring the family out to Woodland to enjoy the museum’s collection, live music, demonstrations and a new exhibit. Don’t forget to check out the newly expanded kids corner and climb aboard a Caterpillar 10. 3/18, 10 am to 2 pm
Grab your sleds, snow gloves and get ready for some fun! Snow play with your family is just a couple of hours away – and for the first time in several years, you can be guaranteed plenty of snow in the mountains. Whether you choose to intertube, sled, ski or snowboard, there are plenty of options for snow fun. Here is a list of our top choices for family snow play.
Boreal – Conveniently located on I-80 at Castle Peak Exit on Donner Summit, they are now open 9am-9pm, 7 days a week for skiing and snowboarding. If you would rather just play in the snow then check out Boreal Playland Tubing Park. They offer snow tubing equipped with 2 moving carpets, groomed tubing lanes and tubes to rent. Admission ranges from $10- $49. Along with other resorts in the area, they also offer ski and snowboard lessons.
Granlibakken Resort – Located off Hwy 89 near Tahoe City, this smaller snow park is perfect for families with younger children. Open 9am-4:30pm daily, they have a groomed snow play area and for $16 per person, you can rent and use their saucers and play area for the day. They also offer a season pass for $50- this is a great deal if you plan to visit the Tahoe area several times this year.
Soda Springs Resort/ Planet Kids – Planet Kids is best described as a snow playground featuring tubing carousals, tubing lanes, ski/snowboard learning areas, snow volcanoes to climb and more. This unique facility is designed specifically for children (age 7 & under) to experience winter and play in the snow. For $50, your child can ski and/or snowboard all day long. Rentals are included in the admission price as well as full access to the Snow Mountains, intertube carousel and more.
In addition to Planet Kids, Soda Springs also offers lessons, lifts and Tube Town. This is geared for children and adults 42″ and taller where a moving carpet is designed to escalate up the mountain so you can zip and zoom down the hill in your tube! $50 for an all day pass. Located approximately 1.5 hours above Sacramento and off of Hwy 80, Soda Springs makes for a perfect winter family day trip.
Tahoe Donner – Located off I-80 at the Donner Pass Road exit, they offer a groomed sledding hill with several sledding lanes and the opportunity to try out snowshoeing as they rent snowshoes to adults and children. Admission into the snow park ranges from$9-$25 for an all-day pass to tube and play. Ski and snowboarding lift tickets are an additional charge.
This is a small list of the local snow parks; you can even just pull off the road and find several hills with people sledding down (my favorite way of exploring the snow). Make sure you dress appropriately, and if you need suggestions of where to purchase or rent gear, here are some options:
392 Roseville Square, Roseville
1148 Galleria Blvd, Roseville 2425
Iron Point Rd, Folsom
1790 Expo Parkway, Sacramento
Land Park Ski and Sport
4207 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento
Clark’s Snow Sports
212 Harding Blvd, Suite N in Roseville
So gather up your warm jackets, some hot cocoa and cameras and hit the slopes with your family (don’t forget the sun block and lip balm) and make some memories in our local winter wonderland!
By Heather Crivellone
For the first time in Sacramento history, Monster Jam will be rolling into downtown for its annual competition. Beginning on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, engines will roar like thunder at the city’s newest arena, Golden 1 Center. You’ll see old favorites like Grave Digger and Scooby Doo, as well as some newer competitors such as New Earth Authority (N.E.A.) and Mohawk Warrior. In total, premiere athletes will compete in seven unique endurance competitions driving three difference vehicles: Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs. This year’s competition is sure to be one for the books!
“Unlike any other Monster Jam event, the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series is the definitive test of endurance, versatility and driving skills that showcases premiere athletes as they go head-to-head in seven unique endurance competitions driving three different vehicles: Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs; ultimately battling for points in both racing and freestyle events that push themselves and their machines to the limit.” – Atherton Public Relations
What: Monster Jam Triple Threat Series
When: Jan. 20-22, 2017
Where: Golden 1 Center
Admission: Ticket prices start at $20, pit passes are $10
WHO WANTS TO GO?! We’ve got 4 tickets to give away to one lucky reader for opening night, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Answer the following question correctly to be entered in the drawing for the tickets:
What is the approximate weight of each Monster Jam monster truck? Post your answer in the comment section below no later than Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2017 at 5pm. One entry per person, please. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2017. Good luck!
It’s winter break for most kids in the Sacramento area and some parents are wondering how to keep them busy. We have plenty of options in the Sacramento area and here is my top list of things to do with my crazy and active kids:
Sky High Sports is an indoor trampoline center located at 11327 Folsom Blvd in Rancho Cordova. They have open bounce hours, dodgeball, AIRobics, special days for those with “special needs”, family and great holiday discount packages. For the kids who are a little older and have lots of energy to burn, this is the place to take them! Admission is $12 per hour.
Bounce U has 2 locations, one in Roseville (7611 Galilee Rd) and another in Rancho Cordova (11280 Sanders Dr). Both locations offer open play sessions of bouncing fun – all with slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and more. Check their website for specific days and times each location is open. They have two different sessions of open bounce – one for the children who are 7 years of age and younger and one for all ages. This will help in making sure your little toddlers don’t get trampled by the bigger kids!
Roller Skating and Ice Skating is always a great way to burn energy indoors. Sunrise Roller Lane (6001 Sunrise Vista Drive, Carmichael) has several weekday sessions to choose from. Admission is $8 and skate rental is $3. Skatetown Ice Skating Rink (1009 Orlando Avenue, Roseville) is a premier facility that currently has both indoor and outdoor ice skating available. Holiday rates include the price of skate rental and are $15 general admission and $13 for ages 10 and under. Both roller skating and ice skating sessions have “learn to skate” times for those who may not be quite as comfortable on skates.
Check out one of our local museums: California Aerospace Museum, Sacramento Powerhouse Museum, Sacramento Kids Museum and the California Railroad Museum to name a few. Each museum has interactive exhibits and is a great way to spend time with the kids, learn a few things and stay warm during these cold winter mornings.
Get busy creating a unique masterpiece at Color Me Mine Ceramics studio. Choose a ceramics option (vase, trinket box, statue, bowl, etc) and spend hours painting and creating your own unique project. Locations are in Elk Grove, Folsom and Roseville. The cost of the items are dependent on what you choose, but the best part of painting at a studio is that the mess is contained, they do the firing and glazing of the pieces and all the cleanup is taken care of- this is my kind of art project!
So even though it may be cold outside and the kids are bouncing off the walls, you don’t have to resort to turning on the TV and playing video games all winter break. Go out, explore the city, get active and have fun creating memories with your children.
For information on SNOW PLAY, click here.
By Heather Crivellone
All the holiday presence have been unwrapped and put away, the last of the cookies are probably in the trash and the tree (if it was real) is probably dead and losing needles. Yes – the holiday excitement is over – but it doesn’t mean the fun is over!
New Years Eve is always a party, no matter the age! Sacramento has several options on how to celebrate and ring in the New Year with your family. If you are like me, we celebrate the East Coast New Year with bells and whistles and then we are all sound asleep by the time midnight strikes.
If you are looking for some alternative ways to spend the celebration and not stay up until midnight, check out this list of fun things going on around the Sacramento area:
Crocker Art Museum celebrates a “Noon Year’s Eve” at 11, 12, 1 and 2pm. Enjoy a celebration of live music, dance performances and festive art activities for the entire family. This is a fun celebration that anyone can stay awake for!
Roller King in Roseville hosts a New Year’s party with a canned food drive to help local needy families. From 7pm-1am, you can ring in 2017 on skates! Admission is $10 with a can food. If you can’t make it until 1am, then it’s only $5 from 7pm-10pm.
Sacramento Children’s Museum is hosting its annual “Who Year” daytime celebration. The museum is open from 9am- 4pm with hourly New Year’s celebrations starting at 10am. Enjoy games, arts and crafts, noise makers and a bubble stomp to ring in different countries New Years.
Old Sacramento hosts its annual New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza. Beginning at 5pm, you can enjoy live music and family friendly activities until the fireworks begin at 9pm (early enough to get those kids home and in bed!).
So grab your family and get out ringing in the New Year around Sacramento. My only resolution this year is spend more time making memories with my family- I hope you do the same!
By Heather Crivellone
Sacramento’s Free New Year’s Eve Sky Spectacular is Bigger, Better and More Family-Friendly than Ever
While celebrating New Year’s Eve in Old Sacramento with the family has always been a great idea, this year it gets even better with a change in programming that caters more to families. Traditionally, the New Year’s Eve Sky Spectacular has offered two fireworks shows – the first at 9:00 pm with a second, shorter fireworks show at midnight. However, in order to capitalize on peak draw times in Old Sacramento on New Year’s Eve, funds and resources for the two displays have been combined to create the largest fireworks program ever produced in Sacramento – at one time only, a more family friendly 9:00 pm.
While the highlight of the evening will definitely be fireworks, the FREE event will actually start at 5:00 pm with kid-friendly entertainment including music by The Hipwaders at Waterfront Park, balloon twisting and face painting and superheroes roaming the streets of Old Sacramento, available for photo ops with fans.
When: Sunday, December 31, 2016
Time: 5:00 pm, family-friendly entertainment; 9:00 pm fireworks show
Where: Old Sacramento, Waterfront Park
Parking: Sadly, not free. The entire district of Old Sacramento will be closed to vehicle traffic beginning at 4:00 pm; the Tower Bridge will be closed to traffic beginning at 7:30 pm, closed to pedestrians from 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm; limited parking is available in the Old Sacramento Garage at 2nd and I streets and the Tower Bridge Garage at Capitol Mall and Front Street. You may want to venture out and park outside of Old Sacramento and walk in. For a map of city parking garages and lots near Old Sacramento, click here.
Give the Gift of Live Theater this Holiday Season: From A Christmas Carol to A Charlie Brown Christmas, Sacramento Area Theaters are Full of all your Holiday Favorites
We may not be New York or San Francisco with a thriving Broadway theater district, but Sacramento is still rich with talented theatrical venues and art shows. I’m always amazed at how many productions take place every month in our area. From our Sacramento Theater Company downtown, to the Music Circus and all the venues in our surrounding areas, you don’t have to go far (or pay a small fortune) to see high quality performances. Especially if you have young children and want to expose them to the arts, you can always find kid-friendly shows throughout our Sacramento Valley.
This month, with the holidays upon us we have a wide selection of festive plays and musicals to put us in the holiday spirit. I have compiled a list of some local shows that you can enjoy with (or without) your kids. These are sure to put a smile on your face, a “jingle in your step” and definitely put you in the mood for some holiday cheer!
B Street Theater, located at 2711 B St in Sacramento is showing the classic A Christmas Carol through December 31 on their main stage and Robin Hood on the family stage (suitable for all ages) through December 24.
Sacramento Community Center Theater at 13 & L Streets in Downtown Sacramento, will be showing a light- hearted, silly version of The Nutty Nutcracker on December 16. And of course, the holiday classic The Nutcracker will also be performed through December 23. The holiday classic White Christmas will be showing through December 29.
Roseville Theatre Arts Academy, 241 Vernon Street in Roseville is showing A Charlie Brown Christmas through December 17.
Chautauqua Playhouse, 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael, they will be showing Alice’s Christmas Party in Wonderland through December 17.
Sutter Street Theater located at 717 Sutter Street in historical old Folsom is showing Holiday in the Hills through December 23. For the Dr. Seuss lovers- they are also showing Seussified Christmas Carol through December 24.
This is a short list of what is playing around town. Please check with the venues for pricing information, these shows can range anywhere from $8- $60.
So do something different with your kids…turn off the TV version of Rudolph and introduce your children to the world of live theater… it will be a Christmas gift they will never forget!
By Heather Crivellone