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Round Up the Family and Hit the Streets of Sacramento for a View of All the New Artwork Going Up Around the City

August 18, 2017

If you haven’t already heard, read or seen, Sacramento is currently hosting Wide Open Walls, a huge 10-day mural festival that includes 40 local, national and international artists who are carefully applying their art in a huge way, on various buildings all over the city. The mural festival began Aug. 10 and runs through the weekend, ending on Aug. 20. Even if you aren’t a big “street art” fan, there is something for you to see and enjoy. In fact, few of the murals have that gritty, spray-painted street art look. The many artists vary in style, medium and concept for their art piece. Some works are soothing and beautiful. Some make a loud social statement, while others are fun and playful. What you can be sure of is that each artist’s mural is a planned out masterpiece with purpose and meaning, and sometimes, a history. You’ll want to do your research – learn about the artists, their style and meaning behind their work. Get your kids involved for even more fun!

There are a few different ways you can view the city’s new murals.

  1.  Self-guided tours. Print out the list and map (or pull up on your phone) at the Wide Open Walls website and hit the streets on your own.
  2. Walking and running tours. Don’t feel like navigating the streets on your own? Call in an expert. Sac Running Tours offers running and walking tours of the city’s murals (they also offer other city tours featuring historic landmarks and city highlights.)

Here’s some highlights from this year’s festival – some are complete, many are not. But you can still enjoy!







11 Surprising Ways to Immerse your Kids in Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Culture this Fall

August 15, 2017

What makes Sacramento the Farm-to-Fork Capital of the world? A year-round growing season and ideal climate for, oh, just about 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches growing over 160 crops! But did you know that there’s a cornucopia of ways in which families and kids can dig into all this Farm-to-Fork fun? And the time is ripe since September is Farm-to-Fork month!

1. Explore Farms at the Crocker

The Crocker Art Museum is hosting several events in celebration of all things Farm-to-Fork. One particularly youth-focused affair is the Kids & Company Gallery Adventure, which is a museum tour where farms are discovered and explored through art. (They might not even notice how educational it is). Dates are: Sundays, September 3 & 17, 2017, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

2. Attend the Farm-to-Fork Festival: September 23

The Farm-to-Fork Festival brings us face-to-face with the people who are feeding our region and beyond. Meet farmers and ranchers, enjoy interactive booths from local grocers, and check out live cooking demonstrations. Sample some goods, sip some local beer, and listen to live music. A kids’ zone rounds this one out quite nicely. Capitol Mall.

3. Eat Out During Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Week: September 8-18

Is your kid a foodie in the making? Well, here are 10 days of special menus, deals, and events at restaurants within and around Sacramento. Meet local chefs, learn where the food comes from, then indulge in the final product. A portion of all proceeds is donated to ProStart, a two-year culinary arts and hospitality management program for California high school students.

4. Head to Apple Hill

The farms within the foothills of apple country are loaded with fun things to do for kids of every age!  You’ll find tractor rides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, pony rides, craft stands, farm tours, you-pick farms, gold panning, gold mines, rubber duck races, nature trails, farm animals … and, well, Christmastime is charming too. Think holiday shopping and crisp air, hot cider and baked goods, Santa sightings and Christmas tree farms.

5. Watch a Film About Food and Family: Tampopo, September 7

Tampopo is a funny film about food for the whole family that’s also been dubbed “one of the best food movies of all time.” It is co-presented with Slow Food Sacramento in honor of farm-to-fork month at the Crocker Art Museum.

6. Shop at Neighborhood Markets

Corti Brothers retains the old-fashioned corner grocery charm with sandwiches and ravioli that are legend among locals. In fact, true to the original recipe, their ravioli are the oldest continuously produced food product in Sacramento.  5810 Folsom Blvd.

Selland’s Market Café has been committed to the principles of Farm-to-Fork cuisine for 20 years, with many of their products and ingredients sourced locally. Monthly specials showcase pizza, salad and sandwiches. East Sacramento, Broadway and El Dorado Hills locations.

Taylor’s Kitchen features a seasonal menu with a focus on the fresh local foods found at Taylor’s Market. Desserts are created in-house by their own pastry chef and reservations are accepted. 2900 Freeport Blvd.

7Go on a Farmers Market Picnic

The Wednesday farmers’ market at Cesar Chavez Park downtown is a one-stop shop for lunch al fresco. Purchase some fruit, nuts and bread for a Mediterranean-inspired picnic near the fountain. Still hungry for more? There are plenty of cafes nearby, including Farm-to-Fork bar & restaurant, La Cosecha, which is in the park itself. 10th & J.

8. Try Some Comfort Food

Dad’s Kitchen in Land Park is family friendly and locally sourced with organic chicken, grass-fed beef, homemade mac ‘n cheese, local greens, and craft beers. Pick your poison and grab a seat on the patio. Fun Fact: Dad’s was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives! 2968 Freeport Blvd.

9. Tour and Taste Some Old-Fashioned Ice Cream  –  Sundae FunDay

Old fashioned ice cream parlors are still beloved around these parts, and include Vic’s, Gunther’s, Burr’s, and Leatherby’s. Bonus: You can schedule a tour of Leatherby’s cream room and deep freezers where they make and store all of their ice cream and sauces. Arden Way, Citrus Heights and Elk Grove locations.

10. Take a Scenic Drive – Sacramento River Delta

If you have a hankering for exploration, cruising the Sacramento River Delta (along Highway 160) truly overflows with sensory delights. Wineries and breweries abound, as do olive oil and vinegar sampling stops, swimming and fishing spots, historic towns, bridges and farm equipment. How about Farm-to-Fork eateries, family farms and produce stands, pumpkin patches, and just general all-around gorgeous scenery?! Get a super handy and detailed map at

11. Play Chef – Family Recipes

Want to take home a little slice of the proverbial Farm-to-Fork pie? Find family friendly recipes here:

Bon Apetite!

By Melanie Noel Light

Day Trip to Sugar Pine Reservoir

August 11, 2017

sugar pine

For most kids in the Sacramento area, school has either started or will be starting up any day now. If you are hoping to get out of the city one last time before the hustle and bustle of back-to-school sets in, then take a quick day trip to Sugar Pine Reservoir. Located approximately an hour outside of downtown Sacramento, the Sugar Pine Reservoir is a perfect day trip to a quiet lake for some fishing, hiking, biking or water play activities.

We visited the reservoir on a Friday afternoon, and my children and I enjoyed the 3-mile walk around the lake (we didn’t actually finish all 3 miles, as they decided they wanted to play in the water instead). The paved trail winds around the lake, in and out of the forest with plenty of shade and lake views. It’s great trail for those with younger children in strollers or those who like to ride bikes or scooters. It’s not a strenuous hike, so you could even do it in flip-flops (although, I really wouldn’t recommend walking 3 miles in flip-flops).


If you enjoy fishing, water sports, biking, hiking or just having a relaxing picnic with your family and friends, then this is a great spot to visit. The Sugar Pine Reservoir is located in the Tahoe National Forest, just above Foresthill. From Sacramento, take Hwy 80 East towards Lake Tahoe and exit onto Foresthill Road. Once you pass the town of Foresthill, you will come to Sugar Pine Road on your left. Follow the road for approximately 8 miles and you will find the Sugar Pine Reservoir boat launch area. This is a paid parking area ($5), so bring cash.

So if want to take a day trip and relax in the mountains, this is the perfect place. No crowds, just you, your family and the great outdoors.






Local August Food Festivals Will Provide Fun for the Whole Family

August 10, 2017

Grab your Chiquita banana hat and sombrero and enjoy delicious treats at Sacramento’s upcoming food festivals.

This weekend, August 12-13, join banana-loving families at the 8th Annual Sacramento Banana Festival.   Located at William Land Park (1401 Sutterville Road), the Sacramento Banana Festival is a family friendly multicultural celebration of the diverse cultures that use the famous fruit.  Enjoy live entertainment, exhibits, dancing, fashion shows, multicultural art, music and so much more. Kids will be entertained with crafts, carnival rides, inflatable, music and of course, plenty of banana cuisine. Admissions into the event is $8 in advance and $10 at the door, children ages 5 and under are free.  Festivities will begin at 10am and end at 7:00 pm.

If bananas aren’t your thing, and you are feeling a bit more “spicy”, then mark your calendar for Saturday, August 26 for Sacramento’s first ever Nachos Festival. From 2:00 pm-6:30 pm at Cesar Chavez Park (910 I Street) in downtown Sacramento, you can enjoy all things covered in cheese! With over 40 different nachos recipes (barbecue nachos, vegan nachos, spicy nachos, Oreo nachos….to name a few), you are sure to find something to please your taste buds! Families will enjoy live entertainment, music, vendors and games at this event. Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

So if you are feeling festive and want to try out some local grub, then check out one of these fun, family friendly events.  Just as I always tell my kids, everything is better with melted cheese!

Make the Most of the Last Days of Summer with these 10 Activities and Events

August 4, 2017

For many of us, this weekend marks the last free days of summer before school begins for the kiddos. Wondering how to make the best of it and end your summer with a bang? Here are 10 fun events and activities you can participate in this weekend.

1. SCREEN ON THE GREEN: Lego Batman at Glenn Hall Park (8/4) and North Natomas Park (8/5). Bring your chairs, blankets and pillows and enjoy a movie and popcorn under skies. Screen on the Green Friday, 8/4 and Saturday, 8/5 at Glenn Hall Park and North Natomas Park. Admission is FREE.

2. SATURDAY SAFARI at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Join a naturalist on a short hike around the nature preserve. Bring your binoculars to catch a better view of the animals and plants along the American River while you learn all about them. Saturday, 8/5 at 10:30 am at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Admission is FREE but registration is required.

3. FUN ON THE FARM: Bees, Butterflies and Bugs at Soil Born Farms. Perfect for kids ages 3 to 9 years who will get to explore the Youth Garden and American River Ranch while participating in fun activities. Participants will make a fresh farm snack, meet the farm animals and create something to take home. Saturday, 8/5 at 9:30 am at Soil Born Farms. Admission is $15.

4. ANIMAL OLYMPICS Puppet Show at Fairytale Town. Enjoy magician and ventriloquist Tony Borders as he presents Animal Olympics where animals learn their amazing abilities in the Children’s Theater. Saturday, 8/5 at 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm at Fairytale Town. Admission is $1 for members, $2 for members in addition to park entrance fees.

5. MAKE YOUR OWN KITE at Sacramento’s Franklin Library. Join presenter Anwar Khan from Old City Kites in Sacramento as you make your own kite while learning the rich and multicultural history of kites. Saturday 8/5 at 1:00 pm at Franklin Library. Admission is FREE, but registration is required.

6. HORSING AROUND  at the Old City Cemetery. Meet ranchers, wagon makers, blacksmiths, horseshoers and a modern Pony Express rider at an unexpected place – the cemetery. Saturday, 8/5 at 10:00 am at the Old City Cemetery. Admission is FREE, but donations are appreciated.

7. FESTA ITALIANA at the Croatian American Cultural Center. Enjoy fun, dancing, games, live entertainment, folk dancers, delicious Italian food as well as other activities for kids. Saturday 8/5 at 11:00 am and Sunday 8/6 at 11:00 am at the Croatian American Cultural Center. Admission is $12, but youth ages 15 years and younger are FREE.

8. GUIDED GOLD FEVER TOUR in Old Sacramento. “Relive Sacramento boom days when gold ruled and you were always an eye blink away from triumph or tragedy. You’ll become one of the real-life rascals who scratched and clawed to make this the center of the Gold Rush.”  Saturdays and Sundays through December at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm daily at the Sacramento History Museum in Old Sacramento. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for youth, and kids 5 years and under are FREE.

9. SUMMER EXCURSION TRAIN RIDE along the Sacramento River. Join the Sacramento Southern Railroad for an excursion train ride aboard the Granite Rock No. 10 steam locomotive as it meanders along the Sacramento River near Old Sacramento. Trains depart from the Sacramento Southern Railroad Station on Saturdays and Sundays through September, every hour on the hour from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tickets start at $12 for adults, $6 for youth, with children ages 5 and under FREE.

10. FLOATING OBSTACLE COURSE at Wake Island Waterpark. Swim, wakeboard, paddleboard, cruise the lake in a paddle boat, be challenged on a floating obstacle course or just hang out at the soft sandy beach and swim. Cool off at the West Coast’s largest waterpark resort, Wake Island Waterpark. Open through September and entrance to the park is FREE. Each additional activity will cost you.



The Crocker Art Museum Unveils New Art Spot PL!NK, and Kids Love it!

July 28, 2017

Sacramento is a wonderful family town with a plethora of events, activities and venues for children and families. Perhaps one of the most surprising places in Sacramento to welcome children is the West Coast’s oldest public art venue, the Crocker Art Museum. While the Crocker has welcomed children for years, they have really stepped up their game within the last several, opening exhibit after exhibit and offering class after class geared towards children of all ages as well as their parents and caregivers.

In an effort to better understand what kids enjoy and how they learn, and with funding in part from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and First 5 Sacramento, the Crocker developed an experimental Art Spots program that features four experiential installations designed for children ages 5 and under. The first Art Spot, Gato – a mellow, but mesmerizing exhibit featuring a giant cat – opened in May.

The museum’s newest Art Spot exhibit PL!INK opened just a few days ago. While Gato is housed in the museum’s historic building, PL!NK is perfectly situated in the light and airy Teel Family Pavilion, the museum’s modern addition. Comprised of more than 100 tetrahedron clusters of mirror and colorful plexiglass, PL!NK is meant to be an immersive experience where children can experiment, explore and even create their own shape-based, interlocking sculptures to add to the colorful collection that shines with light reflected from the windows of the room.

The artwork isn’t just something to see, it’s interactive as well. Guests have the opportunity to insert themselves into the artwork as tiny cameras capture and magnify their images and display them in a real-time video playback effect as if a kaleidoscope within the artwork. They also can hear their experiences play back to them by talking into a storytelling station that voice-records their stories about what they see, hear, do, touch, feel and create within PL!NK. What kid doesn’t love to hear their recorded voice play back to them in a fun and creative way? It’s pretty awesome. PL!NK will be on display through Oct. 29, 2017.

What’s up next for the Crocker’s child-centric Art Spots? The very popular Tot Land will soon be completely revamped and a new creation by Bay Area artist Martin Webb unveiled. The new Tot Land will feature a life-size wooden boat that will allow children to hop on board and let their imagination soar. Tot Land will close briefly at the end of August and re-open on Sept. 10, 2017. And opening in Nov. 2017, the last Art Spots exhibit will be open to the public. Wingding will be yet another interactive exhibit that lets children learn through play, experimentation and creative collaboration.

What: Art Spots: PL!NK

When: Now through Oct. 29, 2017

Where: Crocker Art Museum, Teel Family Pavilion

A Ten-Year-Old’s Perspective on Visiting Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo

July 26, 2017



If you want to get out of town for some excitement and thrills, then take a day trip to Northern California’s biggest theme park – Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, just a short hour drive from Sacramento. My daughter wanted to be a guest blogger and explain to everyone why Six Flags is a fun and entertaining day trip. From the perspective of a 10-year-old:

Six Flags is a great place to visit. It has something for everyone including rides, animals, food and more!

If you like animals, there are a lot of cool ones to see. Dolphins, seal lions, sharks and tiger, to name a few. You can see an animal show or just walk by and watch them play throughout the day.

If you like roller coasters and rides, they have lots of choices.  For those who are younger, then visit Looney Toons Town and ride the smaller kiddie rides.

My favorite ride is the Tasmanian Devil. It’s a super fast ride that spins you almost upside down. I love this one because it spins fast, but doesn’t actually go upside down. And my mom will ride it with me! My little brother’s favorite ride is Cobra – a fast, but not scary roller coaster.

For the bigger and scarier rides (I’m not ready to ride these yet- and my mom refuses to go on anything that goes upside down), they have several to choose from.
If you are brave enough, Superman is a really scary upside down roller coaster and the Joker is a wooden roller coaster that seems scary from the ground, but everyone says its fun.  I’m going to have to take their word for it!

On hot summer days, you may need to cool down on the water rides. Monsoon Falls is a log ride that seems harmless enough, but with a steep drop and lots of water, you are sure to get wet! White Water Safari is a rafting ride that takes you under waterfalls and you will definitely get wet on that one!

When you get hungry and need a snack, I recommend the churros. They are delicious!

My family had a great time at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom – it is a fun place for everyone!

By Siena Crivellone