Weekend Family Fun

So it looks like the weather is not going to cooperate with us this weekend…but don’t let that stop you from having some good family fun!  Here’s whats going on in Sacramento this weekend:

winter_wonderland_ftt_medium12/1 – Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town – Celebrate the holiday season at Fairytale Town! Join for a day of holiday fun featuring arts and crafts, Santa Claus, and his reindeer. Enjoy festive decor and holiday music throughout the park. Stop by Santa’s (temporary) workshop
located in the Children’s Theater and let the big guy know what you are wishing for this holiday season. Photos with Santa will be available for purchase for an additional fee. Don’t forget to visit with two of Santa’s best reindeer in Pooh Corner as they rest up for the flight back to the North Pole. Happy Holidays!

santaparade_medium12/1 – Santa Parade – The parade is a hometown tradition for all—spectators and participants alike.  The Santa Parade has a spirit of its own, embodied by the many wonderful parade entrants—from tuneful marching bands to high-stepping horses, colorful clowns to vintage vehicles, skillful twirlers to dazzling floats. The crowd of spectators greets the passing parade with enthusiastic approval. Their smiles and cheers are the perfect expression of the holidays—and a big part of the Santa Parade spirit.

The parade steps off from the corner of 13th and N Streets (in front of the State Capitol), travels West on N Street to 9th Street, north on 9th Street, and west on L Street, disbanding at 4th and L Streets.

hhhe_graphic_medium12/1 – Happy Heart Healthy Eating – Sacramento Children’s Museum is hosting Happy Heart Healthy Eating Day to promote healthy eating and good exercise habits for museum attendees.
Incorporating healthy habits with fun activities is important for children and adults alike. Activities will include a happy yogis exercise class, a music and movement exercise class, placemat art, and a cooking demonstration by Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. Members of Girl Scout Troop 2153 from Arden Park in Sacramento will be hosting a scavenger hunt, as well as a take-home winter vegetable planting activity.

lighted_boat_medium_medium12/1 – Lighted Boat Parade – All boaters are welcome to participate. The boats will travel upriver past Old Sacramento to the Virgin Sturgeon and back to the Sacramento Yacht Club for an
awards ceremony for best decorated boats. Spectators can view the event from the Old Sacramento docks.

breakfast_with_santa_jpeg_medium12/1 – Breakfast with Santa – Come to the 4th Annual Holiday on the Boulevard Breakfast With Santa! This is a fundraiser for Station 99 Sacramento City Fire Volunteer Reserves featuring
pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, and hot beverages. Don’t miss an opportunity for photos with Santa, kids crafts, raffles, and community information tables to kick off the holiday season.

santa_medium12/1 – Santa’s Workshop – Skip the crowded malls this holiday season and bring your wish lists and your camera down to the MARRS Building in Midtown to visit Santa’s Workshop! Santa and his elves will be opening up their workshop every Saturday in December
before Christmas. MARRS retailers invite all, big and small, to join them at this festive event located in the heart of Midtown at 20th & J Streets.

Families will have the opportunity to take their own photos or they can
purchase an instant photo from the on-site photographer.

tree_medium12/1-2  – 6th Annual Festival of Trees & Lights – Are you looking for a wonderful festival to help kick-off your holiday season? Come to The Festival of Trees and Lights at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Downtown Sacramento. The FOTL is the fundraiser that supports the
Cathedral Square Homeless Program (CSHP). The CSHP has been providing temporary
housing to some of Sacramento’s downtown homeless and assists them as they transition into permanent housing. The Festival supports the CSHP, which has been operating since 2005. All proceeds from the festival benefit Sacramento’s downtown homeless.

beaverbypaulstevenson_medium12/2 – Family Activity: By the Water’s Edge at the Nature Center – Who lives at the river’s edge? Hike with a naturalist and explore the habitat where beaver, otter, herons, and other wildlife live. Bring binoculars or borrow a pair.

winnie_the_pooh_medium1/2 – Winnie the Pooh by the Fair Oaks Theater Co. – Once again, the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival will present a free show. Don’t miss Winnie the Pooh this holiday season! Kids of all ages welcome.

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Drop Off Your “Coats For Kids” Donations At The SCVB For A Chance To Win A $50 Firehouse Restaurant Gift Certificate!

Coats for kids banner & logo

Tis the season for giving, so why not add those less fortunate to your holiday list?  The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau is joining News 10’s Coats for Kids in partnership with Swansons Cleaners, Tri Counties Bank, The UPS Store and the Salvation Army in collecting coats for local children who may not be able to keep warm this winter without your generosity.

With the community’s help, News 10 and Tri Counties Bank hope to donate over 20,000 coats to struggling families this year.   If you would like to help, we encourage you to stop by our office to drop off your donations by December 14th, 2012.

Now, we know Sacramentans are a giving bunch and do so freely without the expectation of getting something in return, but we do want to show our appreciation.  So, to thank you for your generosity, each donor will have a chance of winning a $50 gift certificate to the Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento.  For each coat dropped off at the Sacramento CVB, you’ll receive one entry into our raffle!  So come on down and bring in your coats.  We are ready for you!

What:  Coat donations for News 10’s Coats for Kids.  For more information on the program click here.

 When:  Now through December 15, 2012

 Where:  Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau

1608 I Street, Sacramento 95814

 Questions:  Call us at (916) 808-7777

ReCreate in Roseville- where your kids can make truly unique holiday gifts.

By Heather Crivellone

“Reuse, Recycle, Recreate”- that is the mantra of a local eco-friendly art studio in Roseville. We had the opportunity to visit ReCreate and we all had an absolute blast!

As the saying goes, “One persons trash is another persons treasure”, well this is definitely the truth when it comes to this studio!

Recreate collects all sorts of interesting (yet unwanted) usable materials from local businesses and provides them for environmental lessons, and uses them to create works of art.

ReCreate is located at 8417 Washington Blvd. in Roseville.  As you enter the studio, you will find bins after bins full of reusable “things”. Everything from wine corks, electrical wire, bubble wrap, toilet paper rolls, coffee cans, etc. etc. Things we would normally just “toss” into the recycling bin, they put it back to use!

You and your child’s imagination can go wild here. Creating anything you can imagine with the use of a hot glue gun (yes- they have hot glue… it’s up high for the adults, but beware- it is available for those “reaching hands”).

They do offer Art classes and parties (check their website), for those who would like a little more structure. However, for me and the kids we opted to try their “Drop in crafting”. For only $6/ crafter per hour, we had full run (basically) of the studio. You can also choose to purchase additional items for your creation (at a nominal price).

At first I was a bit intimidated, not knowing what to do and make. However, the staff was extremely helpful and they had so many examples throughout the studio that it really gave us some inspiration to start creating.

I was impressed as my daughter Siena (5) stayed so focused on her picture frame she decorated with buttons and “shiny” tape. Lucca (my little 3 year old) had fun coloring and was excited over the “choo choo” train that I helped him make out of wine corks and wooden blocks (he was actually still playing with that train this morning).

Luckily, they do have crayons and paper for the younger ones, but if your child enjoys art and using their imagination (who doesn’t?) then you will have a blast creating something unique with them.

The best thing about ReCreate is that not only is it a drop-in art studio, but they are helping local businesses to create less waste and teaching our children the concept of recycling and reusing. A teachable moment that goes far beyond the crafts they make in the studio.

And for a truly unique gift this Christmas,  drop in for one of thier Gift Making Workshops for kids.  These will be held on December 7 and 14.    Drop the kids off at the studio while you hit the malls and finish up (or start) your Christmas shopping. These sessions are $39/ child and they will create a unique, one-of a kind gift for someone special. Check out thier website for more information.

Don’t miss the 30th Annual Santa Parade in Downtown Sacramento this weekend

By Heather Crivellone

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”…and there are many things going on in our capital city to get us in the holiday spirit!
This weekend, if you are brave enough to venture out in our “winter weather”, then join others downtown at the 30th annual Santa Parade.

“The Santa Parade was originally conceived by Weinstock’s Department Store and KCRA Television in 1983. The event was established to create a signature holiday tradition in the heart of the city for all of Sacramento and was an immediate success, drawing many thousands of visitors to downtown Sacramento each year.  Since then, it has changed ownership, yet still continues to be a success every year.
The Santa Parade has a spirit of its own, embodied by the many wonderful parade entrants–from tuneful marching bands to high-stepping horses, colorful clowns to vintage vehicles, skillful twirlers to dazzling floats. The crowd of spectators greets the passing parade with enthusiastic approval. Their smiles and cheers are the perfect expression of the holidays–and a big part of the Santa Parade spirit.”

This year, the parade will be held on Saturday, December 1st starting at 10am.  The parade will begin at 14th and N street.  It will travel west on N Street to 9th, North on 9th to L street, West on L street to 4th where it will end.
This is a wonderful tradition for many local families, and if you want to get into the holiday spirit then grab some hot cocoa, your family and head downtown for some “holly jolly” fun.

 

Busy Kidz in Folsom will keep your kids busy on these cold and rainy days!

By Heather Crivellone

The winter weather is officially here , and what are you going to do to help burn the energy festering in your little ones???  Busy Kidz has your answer- and they are finally open!

Busy Kidz in Folsom is an indoor play city (in miniature) designed to encourage children ages 10 and under to explore the most beloved part of childhood:  PRETEND PLAY!”
Each building in the pretend city has a certain theme- restaurant, supermarket, doctors office, library, school, etc.  Kids can literally play all day at this unique play house.

I took my kids (ages 3 and 5) to this “pretend city” and we played for hours and hours!  My daughter had fun pretending to be a “princess mail-woman” and delivered mail to each of the buildings.  My son was busy creating the perfect “pizza pie” at his “restaurant” and riding a tricycle (wearing a superhero costume) throughout the city.
Between the karaoke machine, “washing” baby clothes and “teaching school”, this place was a hit among my kids!

And for the parents- they have a separate sitting area with Free Wi-Fi, coffee and tea.  They also have a collection of books, magazines and board games. to also keep you entertained while the kids are playing.

Busy Kidz is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10am-6pm (Closed Tuesday), Saturday and Sunday 9am-2pm.
They are located at 118 Woodmere Rd in Folsom (close to the Folsom Outlets if you are looking to do some holiday shopping).
Admission in $10 for children 18months and older and siblings are $8 for unlimited play.
They also host birthday parties and field trips (call for more information).

So if you are looking for a place to take your little ones (especially on theses cold and rainy days), then check out Busy Kidz-  you are and your kids will have fun playing the day away!

Thanksgiving Weekend Family Fun

The weekend begins early with tonight’s tree lighting in Old Sacramento and the Kings vs. Lakers game at Sleep Train Arena.  Join in the Run to Feed the Hungry Thanksgiving morning, and then forego the Black Friday shopping for a free visit to Fairytale Town, the California State Railroad Museum, and more!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

11/21 – Old Sacramento Tree Lighting – Come celebrate the holidays and experience a beautiful tree lighting. Join for the lighting of the 55′ City of Sacramento Christmas Tree on the Waterfront at Front and K Streets in Old Sacramento. Ceremonies begin at 6pm and will
immediately be followed by the premiere of the Raley’s Theatre of Lights. Join special guest Dinger, the Salvation Army Band, and emcee Mark S. Allen for the kick-off to the Capital City’s holiday season!

11/21 – Sacramento Kings vs. L.A. Lakers – The Sacramento Kings take on the Los Angeles Lakers in this basketball game at the Sleep Train Arena.

11/22 – Run to Feed the Hungry – Run to Feed the Hungry has become a family tradition for thousands of area families, as well as a favorite event for many of the elite runners in California. As one of the largest and most respected races in the United States, Run to Feed the Hungry will attract over 27,000 participants this year. You, your family, and your friends are invited to join for the 19th annual event on Thanksgiving morning.  All proceeds benefit Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

11/23 – Free Admission Day & Canned Food Drive at Fairytale Town – On the day after Thanksgiving, Fairytale Town offers free admission to families who bring a canned food item for donation to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services: Holiday Spirit of Giving Food Drive. The day also includes free arts and crafts activities and a puppet show (for an additional
cost).

11/23-24 – Small Train Holiday at the Railroad Museum – As an alternative to the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush and to help you get into the spirit of the season, the California State Railroad Museum presents A Small Train Holiday. Visitors of all ages will be dazzled by amazing scale models, toy train displays, fun interpretive hand car rides, and much more.

Guests will enjoy many new discoveries as they participate in a scavenger hunt and will have the opportunity to watch a whimsical silent movie where the viewer’s eye-level perspective provides a unique experience inside the world of vintage toy trains. Also, Mrs. Claus will provide special story time activities when she’s not roaming through the museum greeting kids and visitors of all ages.

11/23-25 – Holiday Art and Craft Festival at the Crocker Art Museum – This holiday season impress your friends and family with local handmade gifts while supporting local artisans and the Crocker Art Museum’s exhibitions and education programs. The annual Holiday Art & Craft Festival will feature unique creations including jewelry, fiber arts, woodwork, ceramics, and more by nearly 100 artists and craftspeople. Attendees can also enjoy delicious treats by Ambrosia Cafe. For those who want to capture the holiday spirit, there will be a Victorian Santa Claus available for a vintage photo opportunity.

11/23-25 – Holiday Tangram Puzzles at the Discovery Museum – Get in the holiday spirit by completing some tangram challenges. The tangram is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. Take them home and hang them as a holiday decorations.

Remember, your admission also includes visiting the Bone Zone and Nature Discovery Room exhibits, an animal presentation at Noon & 2pm, and a planetarium show at 1pm & 3pm (for ages 4 and above only).

11/24 – Family Activity: Under the Oaks at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Our mighty oak trees provide food and shelter for many animals and insects. Learn how to identify the three species of oak trees found in the nature preserve, and who may be living in them.

11/25 – Family Activity: Turkey Vultures at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – What bird is truly bald-headed? These relatives of the condor and stork are intelligent, family oriented, and play games together. Learn how these birds are important to our ecosystem and try on some condor wings for size.

A Day Trip to Volcano in Amador County= Adventure, Education and Fun!

By Heather Crivellone

For those of us who live in Sacramento, we are truly lucky.  We have the opportunity to live in a rural area, yet have access to the “big city life”.  We are “minutes from nowhere” and yet, “minutes to everywhere”.  We can enjoy our local surroundings and yet take day trips to some world renowned tourist attractions; Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite to name a few.

In the coming months, I will be visiting some of the hot spots in our area that are suitable for day trips out of the Sacramento area.  You can always check out our “day trips” section and get ideas for your next weekend outing (this is still a work in progress- so please feel free to email us with suggestions).

Recently, my family wanted to experience the beauty of Amador County and check out the family friendly destinations.  Before “parenthood”, my hubby and I would visit Amador and the wonderful wineries in the area, however; since kids the “wine tasting” adventures haven’t been quite on the top of our list and we wanted to venture out and find those kid-friendly activities.
If you haven’t been to Amador (only a little over an hour drive outside of downtown Sacramento)… then this is absolutely the time of year to visit-  breathtaking!  The crisp air, colors and everything the quaint towns have to offer- it’s an outing not to be missed.

Our first stop on our outing was to Indian Grinding Rock State Park.   We packed our picnic lunches and went back into time at this historical site.  My kids enjoyed hiking around the massive Grinding Rocks and visiting the site of where the Miwok Indians would gather acorns and grind them into food for their families.  The 135 acre park preserves the Grinding Rock which has 1,185 mortar holes and is the largest collection of bedrock mortars anywhere in North America.
While we were exploring the trails, we had the opportunity to see deer, turkey, squirrels, and even visit a “tee-pee” (my kids’ favorite part of the hike).
There is an $8 parking fee, but the museum and park are free.  The park has several picnic tables, walking trails, an interactive museum and is a great place for a family outing that is both relaxing and education.

After our short hike and lunch, we decided to test our adventurous sides and headed over to explore Black Chasm Caverns.  I had read that these caverns were “kid friendly”, so we decided to try it out with our 3 and 5 year olds.

The cavern tour was approximately 45 minutes and was led by a very knowledgeable guide who showed us the beautiful helictite formations.  We had the opportunity to see some of the greatest collections of sparkling helictite crystals and experience the “thrill” of entering into a cave.

Now, when I had read that these caves were “kid friendly”- they didn’t necessarily take into account the attention needed to follow along with the tour guides.  Yes- the cave is suitable for anyone who can walk up and down stairs (which I was a little leery about beings that my 3 year old wants to climb up and over all stairwells).  They handled the steep stairs fine, but when it came to paying attention to the tour and to “NOT TOUCH” the formations…well- let’s just say I don’t think this tour is for anyone under the age of 5 (and depending on your 5 year old… this may not be for you).
However, if you have kids that are a little older, they will thoroughly enjoy the tour and will be amazed at the sights they will see and the facts they will learn on this tour.
They also have gemstone mining above ground for the kids to collect real gemstones…. an attraction for kids of all ages!

One thing to remember when visiting the caverns is that they are cool-  54 degrees year round.  This wasn’t an issue for us, since we were visiting in the fall and were already dressed for the weather- however, if you plan on visiting in the hot summer months, remember to bring along a sweater.

The cavern tours are open daily and the first tour leaves at 10am and the last tour leaves at 4pm.  Admission into the caverns is $14.95 adult, $7.95 children ages 3-12.

After the Cavern tour, I highly recommend taking a hike at the “Zen Garden”.  This was by far my favorite adventure of our day.  The entrance to the Zen Garden Trail is located  just passed the entrance to the caverns.  The trail is not obvious, so ask for a map when you visit the caverns visitors center.  There is a small set of steps near a large tree off the road… seriously, not the best directions- but is a must see experience.  The trail offers a landscape of standing stones that are beautiful to walk through and just impressive to view.  The kids were climbing, hiking, and amazed at the wonders that nature provided in this “playground”.  This hike isn’t necessarily for those who are used to just a flat terrain… there were quite a few areas that became steep and offered a bit more to our “adventurous” side.

So when you are planning your next day outing- think beyond the “Golden Gate” and check out Amador County.  Not only will you find vineyards, but an array of history and adventure up in the Sierra Foothills.  (And if you are viewing my pics of our day trip- you will notice that we were there on a beautiful, sunny day… and my daughter seems to have a style all her own :))  Enjoy!