June Library Round-Up

Well….the kids are out of school!  It’s time to start planning what you are going to do with them over the next couple of months.  In addition to our June list of Sacramento Public Library events, don’t forget about the Summer Reading Program, which is such a great way to keep your kids reading through summer.  Each  branch has it’s own summer reading kickoff day near the beginning of the month, so check with your local branch to find out more!

6/6  Constellations t-shirts and Dream Interpretation at McClatchy Teen Program – What’s your sign? Mine’s Scorpio. Show off your sign with a constellation t-shirt! We’ll share some good snacks and do some dream interpretation while you paint your Zodiac sign onto a t-shirt. Tshirts will need to dry overnight in the library. You can pick them up the next day! You bring your dream memories, we’ll provide all other materials. This program is part of Sacramento Public Library’s Dream Big – Read! Summer Reading Series.  6-7:30pm.

6/7  Magic, Illusions and More with  Dan at North HighlandsSchool Age Program – Magic Dan presents a fun-filled and educational magic show for kids of all ages. He will delight and entertain with the message of Dream Big! 4-5pm.

6/9  Kids’ Garden Club at Colonial HeightsSchool Age Program – How does your garden grow? Help us maintain our garden and enjoy some garden-themed crafts at the library. Part of the Sacramento Public Library Summer Reading Program – Dream Big, READ! 2-3pm.

6/12  Family Puzzles at MLK Jr.  – Family Program – Join us in the Community Room for lots of fun with family, friends and puzzles. All are welcome to attend.

6/14  Journey to Bubble Land with the Bubble Lady at Sylvan Oaks School Age Program – Rebecca Nile, the Bubble Lady presents lots of fun with bubbles in an interactive, creative bubble show. A Drem Big-Read summer program.

6/16  Juggling Tornado at North Sacramento Family Program – Be amazed and astonished by Mark Bunnell, the Juggling Tornado! This is a Summer Reading program.  2-3:45pm.

6/19  Dances of the Hawaiian Islands with the Ohana Dance Group at MLK Jr. – Family Program – The Ohana Dance Group presents the music and dance of the Hawaiian Islands. Join Summer Reading and Dream Big READ at Martin Luther King, Jr. Library!  4-5pm.

6/21  Uncle Jer’s Traveling  Bee Show at Rio LindaFamily Program – Program will be held at the Rio Linda Depot Park building, 6730 Front Street. Uncle Jer will bring observation hives, large mounted photo cards or slide show, and frames of wax and honey. You will learn about the many jobs of a worker bee – and get a taste of the honey!  Summer Reading 2012.  3:30-4:30pm.

6/22  Stuffed Animal  Sleepover at North Natomas School Age Program – Inspired by the Dream Big summer reading theme, kids will bring their stuffed animals to the library for a sleepover. Join us for a program of crafts and stories. Kids will tuck their animals into bed before leaving them at the library for the night. What will the animals do overnight at the library? Return on Saturday morning to find out! (On Saturday, June 23rd, the library opens at 10am.) Pajamas are optional – for people and stuffed animals!  5-5:45pm.

6/27  Rocketship Origami with Artworks at Elk Grove Family Program – Travel to places we only know about because of books. We’ll create large size posters of those travels in this fun program with ArtWorks!  3:30-4:30pm.


Take a break from cooking since Sacramento area restaurants offer several “Kids Eat Free” nights!

By Heather Crivellone

The warm Sacramento days of summer makes it hard to think about food…and especially cooking for an entire family!   If you are a typical mom (on a budget) like I am, then you know that eating out is a luxury and not an every week occurrence.

And, if you are visiting from out of town with little kids- it’s always nice to find places that are cheap/free and family friendly.  I have found that we have many local restaurants that offer a “kids eat free” night, and I have updated the tab on our website to make it easy for you and your family to find somewhere to dine with the kids.

You could actually find a place every night of the week that offers free and/or cheap kids meals here in the Sacramento area…  So go ahead and put away your apron tonight and hit the town for an evening out!  As always, I would double check with the restaurant of choice in your area to make sure the offer is still valid.  And if you are visiting a local eatery and find they have a great deal, please let us know so we can update our site.  Happy Dining!

Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael is a great place to introduce your children to the “Great Outdoors”

By Heather Crivellone

Our beautiful Sacramento weather makes it hard to stay indoors. And with inquisitive little youngsters, it’s always a joy to take them into nature and let them explore the world around us. Luckily for us who live in Sacramento, we have the advantage of being surrounded by so many opportunities to get into nature. With rivers, lakes, hiking and biking trails galore- there is no reason to be cooped inside during this time of year!

Now if you have littler ones who may not be up for the “High Sierras” quite yet- or, if you are just looking for a simple day outing with your family, then check out the Effie Yeaw Nature Center located in Ancil Hoffman Park in Carmichael.
With a 77 acre nature preserve and smooth hiking trails through the riparian woodlands along the American River, this makes for a wonderful family outing.

Recently, my kids and I revisited the nature center for an afternoon outing and had an absolutely wonderful day.  They enjoyed the hike down to the river and we were all in awe as we watched over twenty caterpillars scamper across the trail.  My little guy oohed and awed as he examined the furry things and my daughter was delighted to be able to “help” them across the path so they could be “safe” and turn into beautiful butterflies.  We also had the opportunity to view (up close and personal) an owl, turtles, deer, wild turkeys and many toads (we dared my daughter to kiss one of them to turn into a prince- but, she didn’t think it would happen).

With plenty of picnic areas and shade, it was the perfect “hike” to get my kids (ages 3 and 4) ready for our summer camping adventures.
One thing to keep in mind on the hikes is that there is plenty of wildlife…snakes included. Be prepared to teach you little ones that if they hear “rattle”, it’s not a baby toy making that sound!

The center offers a variety of activities for children and adults. Educational programs, guided walking tours and interactive exhibits to name a few.   They also have a wonderful educational center with hands-on exhibits for the children to learn about nature.
During the month of June they will be hosting talks on butterflies, raptors, snakes, deers, the gold discovery and more.  They will also have a Campfire Sing-a-Long on SAturday the 23rd, River walks, Nature Storytimes, and will be hosting a summer concert series on Friday evenings.

During the summer they also will have a kids Summer Camp for children K-6th grades. This would be a great way to get those kids out of the house (away from those video games) and into nature with their friends during the summer break. Check the website for more information.

The American River Natural History Association (ARNHA) and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center are dedicated to bringing awareness of the beauty and diversity of the natural world to children, families, and the community through education initiatives that foster appreciation, enjoyment, and stewardship of the unique natural and cultural resources of the Sacramento region.

This is a non- profit organization and all you have to pay to enter the preserve is a $5 parking fee.
If you visit the center, I suggest bringing a picnic lunch and spending the entire day. They do have clean restrooms and sell “light” snacks and drinks in the gift shop.
Enjoy your outing in the “Wilderness”.

Memorial Weekend Family Fun

It’s Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial beginning of summer.  We hope you get a chance to get out and take advantage of some of the wonderful events going on this weekend.  Whether it’s an actual Memorial Day event you are looking for, or something fun like the Sacramento Music Festival, you are bound to enjoy this weekend with your family!

5/24-28  – Sacramento County Fair – “Let’s Eat, have Fun, and Celebrate the Red, White and Blue” at the Cal Expo this weekend.  The Sacramento County Fair is a small scale version of it’s bigger sister the State Fair, but you’ll enjoy much of the same food, games and rides.  Admission for kids 12 and under is FREE, adults are $5.  Can’t beat those prices!

5/25-27 – Roseville Greek Food Festival – Do you like gyros? There’ll be plenty of them at Roseville’s Greek Food Festival on Memorial Day weekend. Come enjoy Greek food, music, and dancing. Enjoy fresh & tasty authentic Greek food and drinks; Greek DJ Pete Stamas and dancing, along with free dance instruction; outdoor venue, vendors, and eating area; Orthodox Christian history, talks, and tours of the Church.

5/25-28 –  Sacramento Music Festival – Now in its 39th year, the 2012 Sacramento Music Festival has a new name and many new styles of music in response to popular demand!  As always, it’s one GIANT PARTY in Old Sac and surrounding hotel ballrooms pulsing with the rhythms of jazz, swing, blues, zydeco, rockabilly, bluegrass, Latin music and more.  There will be dancing in the streets! Music will be running morning, noon, and night. We’ll offer specialty concerts and events, like the Saturday Parade, evening lineups of dance and party bands, and a Memorial Day Salute to Service. We’ll also have world class guest artists that you don’t want to miss. There’s plenty to do all weekend long.

5/27 – Reading of the Names at the Vietnam War Memorial in Capitol Park – Please join in honoring and remembering those California Vietnam Veterans who were killed in the Vietnam War, as well as Veterans from all wars, all services, and those currently serving at this Reading of the Names in honor of Memorial Day. Vietnam Veterans, family, friends, and the public are all invited to attend.

5/28 –  Memorial Day Parade in North Highlands – VFW Post 4647 is proud to present the 46th Annual Memorial Day Parade honoring all those who gave their lives in defense of our great country. This is one of the longest running parades in the area, and always well attended by community residents. The parade is sponsored by VFW Post 4647.

5/28 –  Military Appreciate Day at the River Cats – Players will wear special camouflage uniforms as the River Cats honor the military members who protect our freedom. Military members and their families will take part in between-inning fun.

25+ Free Or Nearly Free Sacramento Summer Activities For Kids

By Alyssa Green

Summer vacation is nearly upon us…what are you going to do with the kids?!  Well, Sacramento is a great place to be during the summertime.  There is a lot to do and see.  However, keeping your kids entertained throughout the summer can often get expensive.  That’s why we have come up with a list of 25 activities that won’t break the bank.  Take a look at our list of FREE (or nearly free) activities that will keep your kids busy this summer.   Have a good one!



1 – Mad Science Summer Kickoff – Kickoff summer vacation with the mad scientists launching rockets, making green slime and more.  June 9th  11am-3pm. Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled. 

2 – Pops in the Park, East Sacramento -Family-friendly outdoor concerts,  every Friday evening in June.

3 – Juneteenth Festival –  2-day festival celebrating freedom, parade, talent show, fishing derby, food and music, June 16th.

4 – Luis Palau Sacramento Festival – Family friendly Christian festival with live music, food, children’s area, professional skate boarding demos and more. June 16-17


5 – Wells Fargo Wednesdays at the Sacramento Zoo – up to 4 children receive free entrance into the zoo with 1 paying adult, plus free train and carousel rides.  July 11, 18 and 25.

6 – Free kid’s day at the State Fair – Kids receive free entrance into the California State Fair each Tuesday, July12-29th.


7 – Screen on the Green, Outside family movies, various parks – August 4th & 18th.

8 – Kikkoman Factory Tour – starting up again this month after a hiatus, reservations required.

9 – Gold Rush Days – The past comes to life at this 4-day event in Old Sacramento, August 31-September 3rd.

10 – Banana Festival – Celebrate the banana at William Land Park with food, shopping, entertainment and family fun, August 10th.

11 – Crocker Holiday Monday – Target sponsors free entrance into the Crocker Art Museum on 4 holiday Mondays throughout the year, the last being Labor Day.


12 – Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum – open all year long, your kids will love experiencing school as it was during the gold rush.

13 – Wells Fargo History Museum – learn the history of the company that offered banking services to gold rush pioneers.

14 – Old Sacramento Scavenger Hunt – download the form and help your kids learn about Sacramento’s gold rush history.

15 – State Capitol Tour – Learn the history and procedure of California law, free tours available every day on the hour.

16 – Sacramento Public Art Walk – these self-guided walking tours will help introduce art to your kiddos.

17 – City Water Intake Facility – a boat shaped structure offering spectacular views of the Sacramento River and also a way to cool off in the intermittent water fountain the kids can run through.  Turns out the fountain doesn’t run anymore, boo hoo.  Still a fantastic place to visit and get a good look at the river and it’s beautiful surroundings. 

18 – Bike the American River Parkway – one of the most scenic parkways in the nation, you’ll see fabulous views of the river and it’s surrounding wildlife.

19 – California Raptor Center – this UC Davis education and research facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured or orphaned birds of prey is open to the public on weekdays and Saturdays.

20 – Bohart Museum of Entomology – UC Davis Entomology lab is open to the public and boasts an amazing collection of insects.

21 – UC Davis Arboretum – 100 acres of beautiful gardens, open 7 days a week, tours available.

22 – CSUS Aquatic Center – While the summer camps, classes and equipment rentals have fees, parking and use of the beach and picnic area doesn’t.

23– Big Spoon Yogurt Story Time – On the 3rd Thursday of each month, kids enjoy story time and a free yogurt creation.


24 – Regal Summer Movie – Kids and family movies just $1, Tuesdays and Wednesdays @ 10am.

25 – Funderland  Amusement Park –Small scale, old fashioned amusement park for kids 2-12 years.  Free entrance, rides $1.75 each.

26 – Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Wildlife presentations and nature walks along the American River Parkway, free entrance, parking $5.

Kids Have Fun With Physics At The California Aerospace Museum

By Alyssa Green

Last weekend we had the opportunity to visit the Aerospace Museum of California, located at the former McClellan Air Force Base in North Highlands.

Now, I have two sons, so we have been to this particular museum a number of times.  We have not, however, visited since they have added two new exhibits targeted specifically to children.

The first is the Aeroplay Kids Zone, for children 5 years and younger.  Located upstairs, this is a great play area for the little kids with aerospace themed toys and games as well as a storytime each Friday morning.

The second new kid-friendly exhibit is called Fun With Physics and is located on the main floor.  The exhibit consists of many different “stations” of interactive play that focus on physics.  Things to build, puzzles to solve, etc.  Some were easy, others more difficult…even for me.  Luckily there were docents on hand to help us!  We spent quite a bit of time at this wonderful hands-on exhibit.

In addition to these two new exhibits, there is of course the main attraction:  
the airfield full of both military and civilian aircraft, flown by the United States Air Force and Navy from 1940 to 2000.  Many of which are open for visitors to climb inside and take a look around.

You’ll also find plenty of eager docents lying in wait to share their abundance of knowledge not only of the museum, but of each aircraft as well.  For instance, we learned that our docent Bill, an Air Force Navigator during the Korean War, had actually navigated in one of the planes on display.  Cool, right?

And although all aircraft is grounded, kids can get a feel for flying and how it’s changed through the years by hopping inside the Flight Simulator.  A bit like being on an amusement park ride, it was both fun as well as educational.  And my son LOVED it!

Now, you may be thinking that this museum can only capture the interest of your sons…but not so fast.  Plenty of girls enjoy the Aerospace Museum too.  They will especially be interested in the history of the WASPs (Women Air Force Service Pilots from WWII) or  “Women in Aviation and Space.”  And let’s face it.  Who doesn’t enjoy, even a little bit, climbing inside real live airplanes from the past?  Even the girliest girl can find that interesting, I did!

Tomorrow, Saturday May 19 is Armed Forces Day and Open Cockpit Day at the
museum.  A perfect time to visit.  And don’t forget to stop by the playground next door at Freedom Park on your way home.  They have THE coolest play structure your kids have ever seen.  They’ll think they have died and gone to space.

A Day on the Farm to Learn, Eat and Celebrate at Soil Born Farms this Sunday, May 20th

By Heather Crivellone

What’s better than fresh fruit and veggies? How about teaching your children the importance of healthy eating through local, organic means while learning about our impact on the environment?
At Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova, their mission is “to create an urban agriculture and education project that empowers youth and adults to discover and participate in a local food system that encourages healthy living, nurtures the environment and grows a sustainable community.”

Located at American River Ranch, next to Hagan Park in Rancho Cordova (2140 Chase Drive), Soil Born Farms has been developing community education programs to teach adults and children all about the importance of organic farming, gardening, and even cooking.
And this Sunday, May 20th from 10am-4pm they are hosting “Day on the Farm”, an educational event for the entire community.
There will be hands-on events throughout the day for adults and children, including: cooking classes, farm tours and nature walks, face painting and photo booth, community education, kid’s garden activities, live music and dancing, arts and crafts. You will also join the team at Soil Born Farms to learn about gardening, composting, raising chickens, beekeeping, the American River’s native plants and more.
Entrance into this event is only a $5 donation.

Soil Born Farms also hosts a variety of classes throughout the year, including summer camps and farm outings for the kids. They will learn everything from farming, gardening, harvesting and cooking. They will take part in nature explorations, community service projects and so much more than just sitting by the pool all summer vacation! Check out their website for more information and how to sign up your 1st-12th graders.

I’m looking forward to visiting the farm and taking my children to learn more about where their food comes from…. I’m even more excited for my husband to see that raising chickens isn’t as intimidating as it may seem- and hopefully I’ll get that chicken coop I’ve been begging for (probably not- but, a girl can dream can‘t she?).