The fascinating history of Old Sacramento and the California Gold Rush can be relived by visiting the Sacramento History Museum, admiring the buildings that were constructed in the 1800’s, strolling down the cobblestone streets (although, be prepared if you have a stroller…it can get quite tricky to maneuver through the streets and sidewalks), and especially by visiting the California Railroad Museum.
Kids of all ages will enjoy a visit to what is regarded as North America’s finest and most popular railroad museum.This museum really is quite spectacular. There are more than 20 restored locomotives and railroad cars., along with a variety of exhibits. And for the kids, an entire floor devoted to toy trains, displays and “Thomas the Tank Engine”.
My children (ages 3 and 19 months) had a blast playing at all the train tables and watching “Thomas” chug along the tracks!
As a mom with two young children, I knew they would be excited to see the “choo choos”, but it meant more to me to take them since my grandfather and his father worked on the railroad. To me, it was a piece of our family history. But to the kids…it was “Thomas and James”. I guess when they get older they will understand the importance of our history. But for now, the excitement of the whistles and pushing the buttons throughout the exhibits is enough to keep them entertained.
If you are planning a trip to the railroad museum, strollers are welcome, but note that many of the exhibits are literally “in” the cars, so you will be going up and down several steps… and if your children love stairs like mine- bring extra band aids just in case (we had a couple tumbles going up the stairs…but there is nothing like a princess band aid on a non-existent wound to keep the tears away!).
The museum itself is very kid-friendly, but as a mom- I was disappointed to see that in the restrooms they didn’t have toilet seat covers. Just one of those things that can drive a mom crazy when their kids have to use a public restrooms every 30 minutes!
And if you happen to be visiting during the holiday season, there are plenty of activities and events to keep your family busy and in the holiday spirit. Mark your calendars for November 24th as Old Sacramento prepares for the holiday season with the annual Tree Lighting Festivities.
The evening will begin at 6:00pm and will include street performers, a visit from Father Christmas and the Salvation Army Brass Band.
Along with the tree lighting, the Old Sacramento Theatre of Lights will run two 20-minute light shows throughout the holiday season Thursdays through Sundays at 6:00pm and 7:30pm.
Now if museums and history isn’t your “thing”, you can still have a great time in Old Sacramento. There are plenty of store, eateries, candy shops and even a great hands-on kids’ nature/craft store to keep the kids entertained (Trail Mix).
Bring plenty of quarters for the metered parking, let your kids visit the candy shops first (so they can burn off those sugar highs) and let yourself go back into time and enjoy a day in history!