Sacramento’s Favorite Ice Rink Opens This Weekend

By Alyssa Green

I know it’s hard to believe, but the time has arrived for you to dust off your ice skates and head downtown for one of the most anticipated holiday activities of the season.

Westfield’s Downtown Ice Rink opens up on Friday, November 2nd with a day of FREE skating from noon to 10pm.  Located at St. Rose of Lima Park at 7th and K Streets, the downtown ice rink has provided Sacramento families a taste of a white Christmas for years.  Once on the ice,  as you glide peacefully with the wind at your back, you just might feel like you are in New York City’s Rockefeller Center.  Only the warm sun shining down on your face will remind you that you are actually in sunny California.  The ice rink gives you the best of both worlds!

If you can’t make it on opening day, you’ll have plenty of time work in one or two trips before the rink closes on January 21, 2013.  Meanwhile, here is a list of theme days for you to plan your visits around:

MONDAY: Date Night 4 pm – 8 pm – Bring a receipt from any downtown restaurant and get a FREE skate rental

TUESDAY: Family Skate Night 4 pm – 6 pm– For one adult admission and skate rental receive a FREE child admission and skate rental

WEDNESDAY: Sacramento Downtown Plaza Wednesday – Bring a receipt from any store and get a FREE skate rental

THURSDAY: DJ/Theme Night – DJ night at the Ice Rink. Dress in the theme from 6 pm – 8 pm and receive a FREE skate rental. Post a Picture on Facebook, twitter or Instagram and receive  a FREE skate rental

Calendar of Events:

  • Friday, November 2th | Free Skate Day
  • Wednesday, November 7th | Outward Night/Drag Queens on Ice
  • Monday, November 12th Veteran’s Day | Free Skate rental with Military ID
  • Friday, November 23th Black Friday | Free skate rental with proof of purchase from Sacramento Downtown Plaza
  • Saturday, December 8th |  The Yule Logs Perform 6:00pm – 8:00pm

For a complete list of special theme days, click here.  Happy Skating!


Weekend Family Fun

A tall historic ship docked in old Sacramento, a harvest festival at the YMCA, a pumpkin smash at the Ag History Center and trunk or treating at the Automobile Museum are just a few of the fun activities going on this weekend before Halloween.

10/26 – Harvest Festival at the Sacramento YMCA – Join the YMCA for some fall family fun. There will be a bounce house pumpkin carving/painting, snacks, crafts, apple bobbing, carnival games swimming, and more!

10/26 – Night of 1000 Pumpkins at the Folsom History Museum -This one of a kind event features a large display of lit up carved pumpkins up and down Sutter Street, trick or treat at local merchants, and family friendly Halloween movies under the stars on a giant movie screen.  Also, drop off your carved pumpkin at the drop off table on the sidewalk. You will receive a raffle ticket for every pumpkin dropped off.

10/27 – Midtown Trick or Tread & Pooch Parade -This year the 3rd Annual Pooch Parade and “Yappy Hour” is sure to bring out 100s of pooches in their Halloween best. Pooches and their owners will try to capture one of the 8 coveted Pooch Parade Awards including: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Overall; Midtown Spirit; Cutest Costume; Spookiest Costume; Best Duo; and Funniest Costume Award.

In addition to trick-or-treating throughout the district, there is a variety of free family friendly activities brought to you by The Sutter District, including pumpkin decorating, face painting, caramel apples, and carnival games. This year the event has been moved to Marshall Park in order to accommodate more children and their families.

10/27 – 7th Annual Craft & Boutique Fair  at River’s Edge at Campus Commons – You and your family are invited to join once again for a fun-filled day of browsing and shopping in a festive atmosphere. You’ll find everything you need
to complete your holiday shopping list including jewelry, artwork, candles, food, purses, clothing, soaps, music, and so much more!

10/27 – Pumpkin Smash Bash at the Heidrick Ag History Center – The Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland presents the Pumpkin Smash Bash! The museum comes alive on Halloween weekend for guests to enjoy adult trick or treating (beer tastings), a pumpkin smashing contest, brats, sweet treats, and costume contest. Plus, one lucky raffle winner will get to smash a pumpkin from
a helicopter 100 feet in the air!

10/27 – Whooo’s Awake at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center -Owls awake! Find out when owls are most active, what an owl pellet is, and more. View a Nature Center owl up close and discover the secret to silent flight.  All ages welcome.

10/27 – Trunk or Treat at the California State Automobile Museum – Trunk-or-Treat and a Dare to be Scared haunted house will be available to all visitors. Trunks of cars will be full of candy and available for all trunk-or-treaters at this all ages event. Kids in costume can enjoy all the perks of trick-or-treating a few days early while getting a chance to learn a little bit about vehicle history. Free tours will be available for all visitors. This will be a great opportunity to see the new exhibit, 1968, at a discounted price. On the exhibit floor, kids and parents can participate in creating their very own trick-or-treat bag and fill it plump full of candy and treats.

Thru 12/9 – Hawaiian Chieftan Tour – The topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftan is scheduled to arrive at the historic Sacramento riverfront for her annual schedule of K-12 education programs and public tours.  The tall ship will tie up just upriver of the Tower Bridge near 1210 Front St. Throughout the ship’s visit, the general public is invited to tour it Tuesdays through Fridays, 4 p.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  Crew in 18th century costume will answer questions and discuss her education programming.  $3 donation per visitor is appreciated.

For a list of more Halloween activities going on in and around Sacramento, click here.

The 19th Annual “Run to Feed the Hungry” is just around the corner.

By Heather Crivellone

The weather is proving to us that fall is officially here!  And with November right around the corner, we know that here in Sacramento we can be guaranteed cooler temperatures, gorgeous fall colors and an annual tradition that seems to grow year after year.  With only four weeks to “prepare”, go ahead and lace up those jogging shoes and get ready for the 19th Annual “Run to Feed the Hungry”.

The Run to Feed the Hungry race has become a family tradition for thousands of local residents. It is also one of the largest and respected races in the United States….with close to 27,000 participants each year!

On Thanksgiving morning (November 22nd), join others at the entrance to the Sacramento State Campus and choose between the 5K or 10K courses to run/walk through the beautiful tree-lined streets of East Sacramento.

All proceeds from the race will benefit the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (SFBFS). This is the largest fundraiser for the SFBFS and if you are not familiar with the organization, click here to find out about the amazing things that they accomplish each year. Besides offering food assistance, clothing, baby supplies and more to local in need residents, they also offer adult education, daycare and a youth academy to those families who are in need of such assistance.

The organization does wonderful things for the community and with the help of the thousands of volunteers and participants in the annual Run to Feed the Hungry, they can continues to offer these great programs.

So, if you would like to participate or help out at this annual run, register online and/or contact the SFBFS to volunteer. I have done this run for several years and am looking forward to having my children join me this year (strollers are welcome).

I can’t think of a better way to start out my Thanksgiving holiday…my family, the beautiful colors of fall in East Sacramento, a chance to give back to my community and burn some calories before the turkey feast begins!

We hope to see you and your family out there on Thanksgiving morning… and with any luck, it will also become a family tradition in your home.  And of course, if you already have plans for Thanksgiving morning, but want to be in “the know” for other races and running/ walking events that are in the area check out our link for local Runs and Walks.  We update the site monthly, and if you are an avid runner and don’t see your favorite race listed, please let us know-  there are so many in our area that it’s hard to keep up.

So again, enjoy the beginning of the “holiday season” and “lace up” for a great cause!

Weekend Family Fun

Events this weekend include Open Cockpit Day at the Aerospace Museum, Day of the Dead activities at the Sacramento History Museum, a Scarecrow Festival at Denio’s and much more!

10/19  – Monster Bash at the Sacramento Children’s Museum – Come one, come all to the Sacramento Children Museum’s Monster Bash! Get those costumes ready for Halloween with a night of music, dancing, refreshments, and museum play.

10/19 – Two Rivers Elementary’s Harvest Festival – Dress up in your costume and bring the entire family to the Harvest Festival! There will be carnival games, a cake walk, a haunted house, BBQ, cotton candy, giant slide, bounce house, and much, much more. Last year over 1000 people attended. Don’t miss out on the fun this year as the tradition continues. It’s a fundraising event for the whole community.

10/20 – Halloween Haunt at Safetyville USA – The 21st Annual Halloween Haunt benefits the youth safety & health education programs at Safetyville USA. The miniature village takes on a harvest festival theme and provides activities and fun for the entire family in a safe environment.  Entertainment includes a magic show by Trevor Wyatt and a maze. Enjoy a family safe Halloween with food, games, stage shows, & fun.

10/20 – Family Activity: Amazing Salmon at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center -The incredible Chinook Salmon have arrived! Discover the amazing life cycle of these impressive fish and hike to the river in search of these kings of the river.  All ages welcome.

10/20 – Midtown Arts Festival -The Midtown Business Association (MBA) is proud to present the 2nd Annual Midtown Arts Festival, in conjunction with Sacramento’s ARTober: Fall for the Arts celebration, which will showcase the various arts in the region for National Arts and Humanities month in October.  There will be live music and performances from local arts organizations, in addition to the performances, attendees of all ages will have the opportunity to explore a variety of innovative art processes that will be demonstrated during the festival. The festival will also highlight local artist and craft vendors, and a Kid’s Arts Area. 

10/20 – Open Cockpit Day at the Aerospace Museum – Come see an open cockpit with a special admission of $5 (but museum members, active duty military, and children 5 and under are still free)!

10/20 – Decorate Frames & Candles for Day of the Dead at the Sacramento History Museum -Personalize your own Dia De Los Muertos picture frame and altar candles. Picture frames and candles are an essential part of Dia De Los Muertos altars used to remember and honor those who have passed.  This event is part of Souls of the City, presented by Sol Collective and the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation.

10/20 – Scarecrow Festival & Parade at Denio’s – Denio’s Scarecrow Festival & Parade is a benefit fundraiser for Roseville Firefighters Caring for Kids & Community.  Participants are invited to enter the scarecrow contest to help neighborhood schools and win fantastic prizes. Cash awards will be handed out to the top two scarecrows and a third will receive a special Denio’s Choice Award. The costume parade will also have winners for the most creative and fun costumes.

Activities will include caramel apple sales, a scarecrow contest and auction, trick or treating, raffle, and children’s parade and activities. 100% of proceeds from the day’s activities will be donated to the Roseville Firefighters Caring for Kids & Community charity.

10/20 – Halloween Crazy Cats & Ghosts at Pence Gallery – Ceramic artist Heidi Bekebrede leads a workshop for families (kids ages 4+) in sculpting crazy cats, ghosts, and other things that go bump in the night, just in time for Halloween. Kids will scupt, paint with underglazes, and then come back once the pieces are fired.

To RSVP, please call the number below by Oct 19. Sponsored by Anne Lincoln & Steve Roth.

10/20-21 – Day of the Dead Celebration at the Discovery Museum -This weekend the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center salutes the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, a time for celebration. A common symbol for this holiday is the skull. Sugar skulls are a traditional gift given to both the living and the dead during these festivities. The whole family can learn about this fascinating custom, and children under 12 can decorate a small sugar skull to take home. There are coloring sheets too.

3 Easy Halloween Projects To Make With Your Kids

By Alyssa Green

1.  Pom Pom Pumpkin Patch – is this not the cutest project ever?  Celebrate fall by making a sweet little pumpkin patch with (or without) your kids.  All you need is green felt (and a bit of brown,) orange pompoms, green pipe cleaners, googly eyes and glue.

Show your kids this photo, give them the supplies and I bet you’ll have some quiet time in the house today!

2. Skeletoni Picture – made of different varieties of pasta, your kids will have a fun time putting together this skeleton picture.  You’ll need black-eyed peas (for eyes), sheets of sturdy paper (black,) tacky glue and different varieties of pasta. This skeletoni is made of rotelle, mini and standard elbow macaroni, ditalini, mini and small shells, narrow rigatoni, and orzo.

3. Paper Plate Spider Web – this project should keep your kids busy for a while as they thread the yarn in and out of the holes to make a web!  There is no right or wrong way to do it, so once you get your kids started, they’ll have loads of fun.  Here’s what you will need: paper plate, black paint, hole punch, and black yarn.  For the spider, take a black pom pom, glue on some googly eyes, add black pipe cleaner for legs and thread into the web of yarn.  Ta-da!  Makes a great halloween “wreath” for you front door.

Weekend Family Fun

Weekend Events include a Fall Festival at the Explorit Science Center, Acorn Day at the Indian Museum, and the Sacramento Aloha Festival, and more!

10/13 – Fall Family Festival at Explorit Science Center – Fall is in full swing and the Explorit Science Center has the perfect way to get in the autumn spirit! Spider web cotton candy, games, arts & crafts, and more for your enjoyment at the Fall Family Festival. In addition to Explorit’s new exhibition on agriculture, Beyond the Table, Explorit will have carnival games, face painting, a bounce house, and much more! If you haven’t heard about Explorit’s Community Science Project, Spiders in Your World, find out all about it and how you can be a part of it at the Family Festival. Explorit will even be selling their brand new T-shirt featuring glow-in-the-dark spiders!

10/13  – Children’s Tour of the Old City Cemetery – Don’t miss the Children’s Tour! History, mysteries, secrets, tall tales, plus wild critters will all be part of the day! Kids, bring your parents, because they’ll enjoy it, too!



10/13 – Touch a Truck at Arcade Creek Parks & Recreation Dept. – Have you ever wanted to climb on a bulldozer, look inside an ambulance, see where all the garbage goes on a garbage truck? Want to see what is inside a police call or look at a large NASCAR car carrier and race car? Here is your chance. Join for everything truck and big equipment.

10/13 – Natomas Harvest the Arts – Bring the family and come celebrate arts in the Natomas community with local artists, sidewalk chalk, music, and more!

10/13 – Sacramento Aloha Festival – Bring the entire family down to celebrate a day of cultural fun with the annual Aloha Festival. This event will feature arts and crafts, various exhibits, presentations, great food, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander entertainment, a cooking competition, and a hula competition. Miss Sacramento Aloha Festival 2012 will also be there to celebrate this occasion, so come on out and join in on the festivities!

10/13 – Acorn Day at the California State Indian Museum – Get ready for the new autumn season by visiting the State Indian Museum during an educational and fun-filled Acorn Day that celebrates the acorn, a traditional dietary staple of California Indians. Part of the month-long ARTober effort that highlights the arts in Sacramento, guests to the State Indian Museum will enjoy learning about the time-honored tradition of preparing acorn for food and sampling traditional acorn mush and flat breads. Children can participate in Native games, traditional arts & crafts, and hands-on table activities.

10/13-14 – Spooktacular Skull Masks at the Discovery Museum – The museum is highlighting the human skull this weekend. Learn about the skull, and the rest of the skeleton, in the Bone Zone exhibit. Kids make a colorful, flashy skull mask to take home. Don’t forget to bring a camera for
pictures of your child in a skeleton costume and their spectacular skull mask! No bones about it, this is a fun weekend activity for the entire family.

10/13-14 – Sacramento Puppy Show -The Sacramento Kennel Club, a member of the American Kennel Club (AKC), will host the inaugural Sacramento Puppy Show. A great family event, the Sacramento Puppy Show will offer pet lovers dozens of opportunities to celebrate all things dog! Bring your pet (or even just a photo) and communicate with one of the pet psychics, let your dog run through the agility course, or watch dog agility demonstrations throughout the day, plan your dog’s birthday party, or participate in a dog wedding. Enjoy AKC breed and puppy competitions, adopt a pet from area rescue groups and shelters, enter your dog in one of the fun costume contests, and win fun prizes and shop some of the best pet and specialty vendors around.  Dog Wedding 10/13 1pm & Costume Contest 10/14 1pm

10/14 – Delta Fall Harvest Festival – Come enjoy a fun day for the whole family. This event includes hay rides, a mini pumpkin farm, barrel tours, a horse shoe contest, a grape stomp, great food, music, and vendors galore!

10/14 – 7th Annual Hispanic/Latino Parade – Don’t miss the seventh annual Hispanic & Latino parade full of classic cars; charro horses; Ronald McDonald; Dinger of the River Cats; Aztec, Folklorico, and Samba dancers; and bandas, queens, and princesses. Don’t miss a fantastic
celebration of Latin culture from 12th Avenue & Franklin down to 38th Avenue and Franklin. Bring the whole family!

10/14 – 1906 Election Day Living History Event -Get a glimpse into California’s history when the Election Day Living History event brings the past alive. The State Capitol will be turned back to 1906 with costumed docents dressed as the four gubernatorial candidates–Theodore Bell (Democrat), James Gillett (Republican), William Langdon (Independence League), and Austin Lewis (Socialist).

Each of the candidates will give a campaign speech in 15-minute plays repeated throughout the day. Women suffragettes will be campaigning for the right to vote. Visitors will have the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice.  This event is for everyone, with special activities for children so bring the whole family!

A day trip to Lodi is a fun and educational outing for the whole family

By Heather Crivellone

The World of Wonders Science museum located in Lodi is a mini- Exploratorium. Without having to travel to San Francisco and deal with the parking, crowds or high costs,  you can take your younger children to this museum in downtown Lodi for an afternoon of science, play and exploration  without the headaches of the big city.

This hands on museum is great for children ages preschool to adults.  They can learn about the wonders of magnetism, gravity, energy, electricity  and more…all while playing games and exploring with the interactive exhibits.   I recently took my kids here for the day to explore (ages 3 and 5) and I was surprised at how long my kids were engaged and “playing” at each exhibit.  They may not understand quite yet what they were doing- but it was a fun way to introduce them to the magic of science.
My little guy was intrigued by the “build your own Lego race car” and watching it “race” down the ramp.  We also had fun with bubbles, dominoes, Plasma Balls, Wind Tubes and much, much more.  They thought they were just playing and having fun- but really, they were learning about the variables of kinetic energy, observing electric currents on meters, and experimenting with reflection and refraction while seeing how light behaves.   It was a great learning experience- all while playing with my children.  My daughter especially loved the “Bearded Dragon” and wanted to take him home….not so sure that this is the best first pet for our family, and I’m still trying to convince her that a goldfish is more our speed.

The World of Wonders (WOW) Science Museum is located at N Sacramento Street in Lodi.  About an hour outside of downtown Sacramento.  They are open Wednesday- Sunday from 10am to 5pm.  Admission into the museum in $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for children ages 2-17 and FREE for teachers.

And from what I’ve been told, a trip to Lodi with your kids isn’t complete until you have also visited the Serpentarium–  A living Reptile Museum/ Store that has been considered as “Lodi’s best kept secret”.  This museum/ reptile store houses one of the largest reptile displays in the country.  They have exhibits showcasing Pythons, Rainbow Boas, False Water Cobras, Anacondas, lizards, turtles, geckos and more.

Admission into the store/museum is only $2 per person and that includes the experiences of being able to feed a 6 foot Water Monitor, hold and take photos with an 11 foot Albino Burmese Python, checkout Scorpions, Hissing Cockroaches and more.
If you are a reptile lover, have a kid that is intrigued by these creatures or just want to check out the mysterious world of reptiles- then this is the place for you!

Either way, a trip to Lodi with your kids can be a fun and educational experience.  And don’t forget- you are also surrounded by vineyards…so, if mom or dad wants to make a pit stop, then pack a picnic and enjoy some of the regions best varietals.  The Lodi Wine and Visitor Center offers a tasting room along with an educational center-  I don’t necessarily condone wine tasting with kids, but if you are in the area and want to experience all that this area has to offer, it’s just a “hop, skip and a jump” away from the museums.  So enjoy a day out with your kids..  have fun, learn and explore in Lodi.