May Library Round-Up

May is a busy month at our Sacramento Public Libraries!  There is the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month and Cinco de Mayo/dia de los ninos.  There are things to make and do for Mother’s Dayas well as many more fun and educational activities for kids, teens and families.  Click here to find out what’s happening at your nearest library.  

5/2  Mother’s Day Crafts Family Program – Create beautiful Mother’s Day crafts and cards with ArtWorks!  Elk Grove.

5/2   Origami & Kirigami School Age Program – Celebrate Asian/Pacific Heritage month with the traditional paper crafts of origami (paper folding) and kirigami (paper cutting). We’ll provide the supplies and a demo of each style; you can use your imagination to create your own works of art!  North Sacramento/Hagginwood, 4-5:45pm.

5/3  Music Around the World –  Special Program – Celebrate El Dia de Los Ninos. Make and play musical instruments such as drums and guitars. Kids will receive free books!  North Highlands, 4-5pm.

5/3  Feathers, Fetishes and other things Teen Program – Every culture creates beautiful adornments to wear. Explore jewelry making from various continents.   A Dia de los Ninos event at Del Paso, 4-5:15pm.

5/5   Huichol Yarn Art – School-Age Program – Huichol yarn paintings originated in north central Mexico, and the artistic expressions continue today. Join us for this fun activity, and take home a beautiful piece of art. Children will also take home a free book for keepsies. This program is part of Sacramento Public Library’s Dia de los Ninos.  Ella McClatchy, 12-3pm.

5/10  Book Bingo – School-Age Program – Celebrate Children’s Book Week at the library! Our Bingo game will feature books and book characters. The first person to complete a row wins. BINGO!!!  North Natomas, 3:30-4:30pm.

5/10  Mother’s Day Crafts School-Age Program – Make a lovely gift basket for the first lady in your life.  McKinley, 3-4pm.

5/12  Asian Pacific Heritage Month Special Program – The Elk Grove Chinese Association will present Chinese dances for this special program. Everyone is invited to celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage at this program.  Valley Hi, 2-3pm.

5/18  Mask Making CrafternoonSchool-Age Program – Join us to create and decorate storytelling masks.  South Natomas, 4-5pm.

5/24  Mae Lin and the Magic Brush School-Age Program – The Puppet Company brings to life the Chinese tale “Mae Lin & the Magic Brush”, the story of a girl whose magic brush can make anything that she paints come to life. Celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month at a show with a traditional dragon dance, authentic Chinese music, and lots of surprises!  Rancho Cordova, 3:30-4:30pm.

5/24  American Red Cross Disaster Party – Family Program – It’s a Disaster Party and You’re Invited! Join the American Red Cross for an upbeat afternoon of quirky disaster-themed games, activities, and snacks to verse yourself and your family in three simple steps to be Red Cross Ready!  Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven, 3:30-4:30pm.

5/26  Garden Tea PartyFamily Program – Wear your fanciest sunhat; it’s garden tea party time! We will be sharing tea and treats outdoors, if the weather permits.  North Sacramento-Hagginwood, 12-1:45pm.

*For more Sacramento Public Library events, click here.


Weekend Family Fun For April 27-29th

Despite the rain we had earlier in the week, it looks like it’s going to be yet another beautiful weekend here Sacramento.  Here’s just a few of the many area events going on this weekend.  Enjoy!

4/28-29  Alice in Boogie Wonderland at Fairytale Town – The Fairytale Town Troupers begin their 5th season with Alice in Boogie Wonderland, a retro-campy send up of the classic Lewis Carroll tale filled with energy, music and plenty of dancing! Little Alice stumbles into Boogie Wonderland in pursuit of a White (suited) Rabbit and finds a mystical dimension populated by the oddest assortment of characters imaginable—including the Disco Queen of Hearts!  Showtimes are at 12:30pm and 1:30pm.

4/28  California Maritme Academy tours of the Golden Bear – Visitors will be welcome on the Golden Bear – the 500-foot teaching ship of the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo – when the ship visits the Port of West Sacramento on Sunday.  The vessel will arrive around 1:30 p.m., and free tours will be offered from 2-4 p.m.  See previous post for more information

4/28  23rd Annual Kids Day in the Park – It’s a great day to be a kid as the annual Kid’s Day in the Park returns to Hagan Park, 2197 Chase Drive, in Rancho Cordova. Fun starts at 11 a.m. and continues to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. FREE ADMISSION! Celebrate our “Water, Water Everywhere” theme at the Bobble Lagoon, Finding Nemo playscape and more. Petting Barn, train rides, fabulous children’s entertainment on our Kid’s Stage, food trucks, jump houses and rides – all for kids and their parents. Get free health screenings and parent resources at dozens of exhibitors each hosting a free activity for kids. Kids complete our PAL Bike Safety Rodeo and are eligible to win one of 100 bikes. Woo-Hoo! Visit or call 273-5704 for more information.  FREE.

4/28  March of Dimes March For Babies – March of Dimes March for Babies is the longest-running and most widely recognized walking event in the nation, generating more than $1.5 billion for the March of Dimes over its 42-year history. This fundraiser incorporates thousands of volunteers participating in a fun-filled day of walking to raise money to support lifesaving research and programs to make sure every baby gets a chance for a healthy start in life. Each walker raises money from friends, family and business associates, and then enjoys the festivities at one of our many California locations.

4/29  Festival de la Familia at Cal Expo – Festival de la Familia offers a wide range of family friendly, safe events.  This annual multi-ethnic Festival celebrates more than 20 Latino cultures.  Food, arts and crafts, art exhibits, shopping, live music.  10am – 6pm.

Tour the “Golden Bear” at the Port of West Sacramento this Sunday (for FREE)!

By Heather Crivellone

This weekend, if you are searching for something fun and educational to do with your family, then head out to West Sacramento for an opportunity that doesn’t come around every day.   The “Golden Bear”- a 500 foot teaching ship of the California maritime Academy will be visiting the Port of West Sacramento and will be open to the public for FREE family tours.   Below is the article from the West Sacramento  News Ledger that gives the details and who to call for more information.  
I’m looking forward to this fun outing with my children especially since they get excited seeing the “big ships” coming into the port…and this weekend, we will have the opportunity to actually visit one up close.

 Visitors will be welcome on the Golden Bear – the 500-foot teaching ship of the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo – when the ship visits the Port of West Sacramento on Sunday, April 29.
The vessel will arrive around 1:30 p.m., and free tours will be offered from 2-4 p.m.
Other agencies and community groups will be on hand, including the West Sacramento Fire Department Prevention Trailer, the local police, chamber of commerce, River City Rowing Club, Washington Outboard Club, and the local chapter of the Sea Scouts.
Children must be accompanied by an adult, and adults must have government photo identification (driver’s license/veteran ID, city badge, university card, etc.). A bus will take visitors from the port parking lot to the ship.

The port is located at 2895 Industrial Boulevard at Harbor Boulevard. For more information, call Amy Cameron at the port, 617-4733.


Weekend Family Fun For April 20-22nd

With this summer-like weather, I bet you are going to want to get out and do something fun this weekend.  From Earth Day, to Sutter’s Fort Trader’s Fair to the SactoMoFo Festival, there are plenty of events to choose from.  Have a good one! 

4/20-22  Sutter’s Fort Trader’s Fair – The Annual Trader’s Fair brings the hustle and bustle of pioneer trading days back to life. Vendors selling pioneer goods, musket and cannon demonstrations, and artisans creating goods for sale will have the Fort full of activity for the entire family. During this three-day event, everyone will have opportunities to make their own crafts, haggle with traders, make dolls, hammer square nails, and shop for gifts and crafts.

4/21  Movie Night: How to Train your Dragon – The City of Davis hosts this FREE family movie night at the Veteran’s Memorial Theater at 6pm.  Entrance is on a first come, first served basis.  No outside food or drink.  Door open at 5:30pm. 

4/21  SactoMoFo 4:  Mobile Food Festival – Join SactoMoFo and 27+ fantastic mobile vendors, including Sacramento’s best & some of the most interesting from all over Northern California, as well as all your favorites from San Francisco.

There will be activities for kids and families (and don’t forget, Southside Park, and the best public playground in Sacramento, are just across the street to the north of the event location), including crafts and facepainting, and enough choices of food and drink to satisfy even the pickiest eater.  Three live bands will perform, including a reggae performance from Mystic Roots and there will also be tables and chairs that can seat 500.

4/21  Storytelling Festival:  Spring Into Stories – Storytelling, dance, music and poetry all meld together to create Sacramento’s 1st Storytelling Festival: Spring into Stories. Sponsored by Fenix Drum and Dance Company, this festival features the talents of tellers from all over the Sacramento region. A liars’ contest, story slam, three story concerts, and open telling keep the stories rolling. Vendors, crafts, and jugglers all contribute to make this a true festival.

4/22  Governor’s Day Living History Event – The State Capitol will be turned back to the years 1899-1917, with volunteers costumed in attire of the period portraying Governors Henry Gage, George Pardee, James Gillett, and Hiram Johnson and their wives re-enacting important events from their administrations. Experience living history in action and learn about California’s pressing issues during the turn of the 20th century.

State Capitol visitors will see re-enactments of important events from past governors and their respective administrations. Each of the notable politicians will passionately discuss the issues and events that defined his terms of office, such as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, as well as the era of the Southern Pacific Railroad abuses. Surrounded by living history re-enactments to put California’s past in perspective, visitors are sure to wonder what the history books will say about today’s pressing economic struggles and social issues.  Guided tours run every 15 minutes.

For Earth Day events, click here

Hidden Falls Regional Park in Auburn is a great place for the family to hike on a sunny spring day!

By Heather Crivellone

The weather is finally feeling like springtime here in Sacramento.  And to take advantage of these nice, sunny days our family likes to spend every possible moment outdoors! My kids are (just about) to the age where we can take them on day hikes and not worry too much about if they can manage the distance or not.

Luckily for us, here in Sacramento we have many trails that are suitable for hiking, biking, jogging and just strolling around and exploring nature. There are several places that you can take children for an afternoon outdoor adventure (Effie Yeaw Nature Center, American River bike trail and Folsom Lake are just a few that come to mind).
But this past weekend we decided to “head up the hill” to Auburn and visit Hidden Falls Regional Park. If you haven’t had a chance to experience this part of Northern California- I highly suggest you put it on your “to do” list.

First of all, Auburn itself is a charming mountainous town with restaurants, wineries and “mom & pop” shops galore.  But, it was Hidden Falls that we were interested in visiting this time around.  The nature park is a 221-acre open space located at 7587 Mears Place, north of Mt. Vernon Road between Auburn and Lincoln. The park is host to groves of woodlands, 7 miles of natural trails that are suitable for hiking, biking, running and horseback riding. It’s also home to Coon Creek, Deadman creek and a 20-30 foot high waterfall that runs year round. Activities include fishing, hiking, picnicking and wildlife viewing- a great way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!
There are several different trails that you can take- we chose one that was about 3 miles roundtrip and was easy enough for both my 2 and 4 year olds to hike. They had a blast skipping along the trail, spotting their favorite wildflowers, finding butterflies and hopping over a few piles of horse excrement ( or as my children were yelling out “Big Poop”!) Once we arrived at the waterfall, it was a perfect stopping point for a snack and some great family pictures. My kids were troopers and made the hike in and out with minimal complaining (we were also bribing them with a stop to the ice cream parlor on the way home).

I highly recommend this park and the trails to the waterfall for families with kids of all ages. It’s never too early to get your kids out into nature and exploring. Plus- everyone can use a little calorie burn with their family fun!  And if you have the energy when your done- check out Old Town Auburn and some of their shops and restaurants. Or, if wine tasting is your idea of fun- then check out Auburns wine trail, some vineyards are even family friendly to bring the kids along.
But again, a trip up to Auburn ( about 45 minutes north of Sacramento) and a hike to Hidden Falls is well worth your Saturday (or any day) afternoon!

Five Things We Love About Traveling Amtrak With Kids

By Alyssa Green

Amtrak, where have you been all my life?  Seriously.

If you have kids, you are well aware of how stressful car travel can be.  Even if you are only driving a couple of hours away, you’ve got to think about meals and snacks, bathroom breaks, and bringing along fun things to keep the kids occupied. And heaven forbid you get stuck in traffic, or have a flat tire.  So many issues to think about and prepare for.  Any one of these issues can make traveling with kids a nightmare.

Well, believe it or not, you can dial down travel-related stress by taking the train.  Yep, I’m talking about Amtrak.  For the first time ever, my family recently hopped on Amtrak in Sacramento for a day trip into San Francisco.  I can’t believe we waited this long to do this!  It was comfortable, convenient, surprisingly, easy and definitely stress-free.

We boarded the Capitol Corridor right downtown at the Sacramento Amtrak Station.  We enjoyed a comfortable ride into Emeryville, at which point we made a quick and smooth transition to a clean and comfortable Amtrak bus, which then took us the rest of the way into the city.  Twenty minutes later the bus dropped us off right in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf.  No dodging pedestrians, circling the parking lot waiting for someone else to leave, and no parking fees.

We spent the day learning about sharks at the Aquarium of the Bay, watching the famous Pier 39 Sea Lions soak in some sun, shopping (and eating) at Ghiradelli Square and enjoying the beautiful weather while playing on the beach at Aquatic Park.  After a fantastic dinner at the Fog Harbor Fish House at Pier 39, we headed back out to the Amtrak bus stop just a few steps away and boarded the bus for home.  It was all so very nice and easy.  We will definitely make this trip again and recommend that others do so as well.  Not only is it a perfect way for locals to travel to the Bay Area, but it’s even more perfect for out of town visitors who don’t have a car or who simply don’t want to navigate the Sacramento to Bay Area traffic.

Here’s what we loved most about taking Amtrak with our kids:

1 – Freedom.  My boys, ages 8 and 11 were absolutely ecstatic about not having to wear seat belts.  They could stretch their legs, move around and even get up and walk around, whenever they wanted to.  They also loved sitting at a table where they could take out the Legos they brought (snuck into their backpacks without my knowledge) and spread them out for the duration of the ride.

2 – Restrooms.  No more making unexpected potty breaks!  It was so nice to have access to a bathroom whenever my boys needed one…especially considering all the water and soda they drank throughout the day.  Boy was I glad we didn’t have to make all those stops while in the car!

3 – Meals and Snacks.  We brought our lunches with us, but it was nice to know that there was a snack car on board, just in case we got hungry on the way back. I absolutely loved having the option!

4 – Free Wifi.  Bring your laptop (ipad or iphone will do) along and your kids will be occupied for hours due to Amtrak’s free wifi access for passengers.  Amtrak even has travel games for kids to play on their website at Amtrak Kids Depot.

5 – Relaxation.  We got to relax and have fun, too.  Yep, I know it’s almost undeard of, but when you are letting someone else do the driving (so to speak) you don’t have to worry about a traffic jam, accident, or car trouble, all of which we witnessed on the highway beside us somewhere along the way.  I have to admit that I felt just a little bit smug about being able to race on by all those “poor” people stuck on the freeway.  I just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed spending some quality time with my family.

So, next time you are planning a vacation, whether you are going somewhere far away, or fairly close by, consider taking Amtrak.  Our Sacramento Amtrak station location can’t get much more convenient.  Located just off I-5’s J Street exit, with Historic Old SacramentoWestfield’s Downtown Plaza, the California State Capitol and plenty of shops, restaurants and hotels nearby, it’s perfect for outbound and inbound travelers.

I’m already planning our next trip…and I think this time it will be aboard the Coast Starlight heading down to Southern California.  I hear the views are spectacular as it coasts alongside the Pacific Ocean.  I Can’t wait!

Weekend Family Fun For April 13-15

What a crazy week for weather, huh?  Are you ready to get your kids out of the house?  Well it looks like it’s going to clear up and be a beautiful weekend – perfect for enjoying some fun family activities.  Here is just is just a taste of what’s going on this weekend….

4/14  1/2 price admission to the Heidrick Ag History Museum – receive half off regular admission prices on Woodland Museum Day.  Families will enjoy cookies and coloring books while supplies last.

4/14  Art Spark at the Crocker Art Museum – Families are invited to an exciting day of arts experiences celebrating children and youth with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Enjoy performances, dancing, art-making, gallery tours, and hands-on “fun stations” designed for visitors of all abilities.

4/14-15  Dangerous Dilophosaurus at the Discovery Museum – You’ve heard of a T-rex and a Velociraptor, but what about the Dilophosaurus? This predatory dinosaur roamed North America during the Jurassic Period. For this weekend only each child receives a free poster of a Dilophosaurus (while supplies last). What a great souvenir to take home from a fun day in our Blast from the Past exhibit! There’s also a dinosaur craft for kids to construct and take home.

4/15  Wildflower Walk at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – From poppies to grass pinks to brodiaea, join a naturalist on a search to see what is blooming.

4/15   Zoo Zoom at the Sacramento Zoo – Join the stampede as thousands of runner raise funds to benefit the Zoo. Races include a 5K, 10K and Saucony “Run for Good” Kids Fun Runs.

4/15   Jackie Robinson Day with the Sacramento River Cats Baseball at Raley Field – The Sacramento River Cats take on the Reno Aces in this baseball game. The River Cats honor Jackie Robinson, the Hall of Fame second baseman who broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  It’s also U.S. Bank Sunday Funday with kids where they can run the bases & get autographs.

To see more Sacramento events happening this weekend, click here.