New Sacramento Cityscape Play Table at the Sacramento Children’s Museum

If you haven’t been to the Sacramento Children’s Museum recently, you’ll want to add it to your calendar, especially with summer just a few weeks away.  SCM has added two new exhibits to their already fun line-up.  In the popular Waterways, your kids will find a new life-size “boat” for some good pretend play.

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And the new highlight of the museum is City Ways – a Sacramento cityscape play table complete with the California State Capitol, the Tower Bridge, the Sacramento and American Rivers, trains, and more.  Your kids can follow instructions to build the capitol building out of blocks, or use their imagination to create their own Sacramento buildings.  At SCM, there are no limits to your child’s imagination

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And don’t forget about the museum’s other popular exhibits – Raceways, Airways, the art studio and more.  Click here for more information on the Sacramento Children’s Museum. 

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Mommy and Me Day at Raley Field- Wednesday, May 1st

sacramento-river-cats-logo_W2By Heather Crivellone

The last couple of years, my daughter and I have visited Raley Field during their “Mommy & Me Days”, and we both had such a great time that she continues to talk about “Dinger” the River Cats Mascot and how she wants to go back and visit the baseball field.

Luckily for us, the Sacramento River Cats will be hosting another FREE “Mommy and Me Day” on Wednesday May 1st from 10am- 1pm. If you did not get a chance to attend the Mommy and Me event last year-  we highly recommend making the time to take your little ones out to the baseball field. Parents and their children (Under the age of 6) can spend the day out on the baseball field playing different games and participating in activities such as: tee-ball, soccer, arts and crafts, and much more.

Last time they had Dinger the Mascot visiting with all the children, games with parachutes, balls and everything that the pre-school aged children love! There will be free snacks and drinks provided while supplies last, and they will also have additional food and beverages to purchase.

If you are planning on attending this event, please go on their website and fill out the mandatory waivers and bring them with you to the field. This will help in having to wait in the long lines…. And since we know that children are not the most patient little beings- this may help avoid a spontaneous “melt-down”.

Make sure you don’t forget your sunscreen (since you will be down on the field), camera for those great shots of your little ones “sliding” into home-plate, and plenty of energy for a fun filled day!

Weekend Family Fun

Another beautiful weekend is in store for the Sacramento region.  Tour the wildflowers at Soil Born Farms, teach your kids how to be healthier at the Sacramento YMCA Healthy Kids Day, take in a River Cats baseball game or head to Fairytale Town for the last weekend of the Children’s Theater Festival.  See below for our complete list of what going on this weekend.

4/25 – 4/27  – Sacramento River Cats vs. Salt Lake Bees – Come out to enjoy a great game of baseball as the Sacramento River Cats take on the Salt Lake Bees. Don’t forget to take advantage of Thirsty Thursday specials which include all 12oz. Miller and Miller Lites for just $2 each and 24oz. Miller and Miller Lites for just $4 each!

boxtales_1_category4/26 – 4/28 – Children’s Theater Festival This is the last Weekend! Introduce your children to the magic of theater! During the month of April, Fairytale Town showcases a diverse selection of theater performances each weekend in the Children’s Theater. Performing companies include the Fairytale Town Troupers, Shadow Puppet Theatre, Boxtales Theatre Company, Roseville Theatre Arts Academy, and more.

4/27-4/28 – Rockin’ with the Richter Scale – Here’s a fun fact: April 26 is Richter Scale Day and the Discovery Museum is celebrating! This useful measurement has helped people define how strong earthquakes are. Cindy Pridmore, geologist with the California Geological Survey, will talk about why and where there are earthquakes in the state. This event will have fault blocks, the liquefaction box, the new state fault map, as well as a make-and-take fault activity.

wildflower_wonders_category4/27 – Wildflower Wonders at Soil Born Farms – This year’s Wildflower Wonders will be a showcase of native plants in their natural habitats of the greater Sacramento region. It will highlight wildflowers and plants from these local habitats: oak woodland, vernal pool & prairie, riparian woodland, and chaparral. Hundreds of fresh-cut native wildflowers, shrubs, trees, and grasses illustrate each display. Rounding out each habitat area are inspiring photographs of the landscape. Expert naturalists provide friendly and knowledgeable interpretation at each exhibit.  There will be a Discovery Zone for kids in the Old Schoolhouse which will include a Focus on Flowers section with several microscopes, an art table with flowers in vases posing for the artists, a Scavenger Hunt table (the hunt itself will gather outside; prizes for those who complete), and a Quiet Corner featuring a YouTube video of the life cycle of the Swallowtail Pipevine Butterfly plus California Gold’s Huell Howser episodes of Mather Vernal Pools and of the American River Parkway.

4/27 – Kids Art Festival: Community Focus on the Arts -This event will feature hands on workshops taught by professional artists and teachers of the arts, performing art exhibits, music and dance performances, an art show, and food vendors. The goal is to introduce children to various art forms in hopes that they may open their minds to new experiences. Art brings people together and encourages a strong work ethic, setting goals, dreaming, creativity, imagination, and hard work. Workshops will be geared toward children of all ages.  This festival is presented by the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District in partnership with the San Juan Unified School District, the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, and the Fair Oaks Library.

kidsdayranchocordova_category4/27 – 24th Annual Kids Day in the Park: Color Me Happy – It’s a great day to be a kid at the 24th Annual Kid’s Day in the Park. Come celebrate the “Color Me Happy” theme and enjoy free art activities, a petting barn, train rides, fabulous children’s entertainment on the Kid’s Stage featuring Radio Disney, food trucks, inflatables, and much, much more. Get free health screenings and parent resources from over 100 exhibitors each hosting a free activity for kids. Kids who complete the PAL Bike Safety Rodeo are eligible to win one of 100 bikes.

sactomofoapril2013_category4/27 – SactoMoFo 6: Mobile Food Festival – Sacramentans will have an opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of culinary delights served up by over two dozen mobile food vendors at the sixth edition of the Sacramento Mobile Food Festival (SactoMoFo). The festival will feature all the best local food trucks as well as all-star food trucks from all over Northern California. The event will feature a beer garden and live music.

4/27 – Critter Close Up at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Meet an animal resident at the Nature Center up-close and learn what habitat and food they need to survive.

hkd_b_category4/27 – YMCA Healthy Kids Day –  Come join the Sacramento Area YMCA to celebrate YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, a free community event to get kids moving and learning, and also to get families living healthier.  Summer is the time for kids to get up, get out, and grow, but sometimes when the school year ends, so does a child’s exposure to activities that keep the body and mind active. The Y’s Healthy Kids Day event will include fun, active play as well as educational activities that will inspire kids to carry a spirit of excitement and exploration throughout their summer and give them the tools to keep growing and achieving all year long.

Healthy Kids Day® at Sacramento Area YMCA will kick off with a Family Fun Run 5K leaving the Sacramento YMCA and running through the surrounding neighborhood and returning to the Y. Healthy Kids Day® activities will start at the conclusion of the Family Fun Run 5K and will feature a variety of activities, community organizations, and resources available in the Sacramento Area.

4/28 – Sketch It at the Crocker Art Museum – Visitors ages five and older can sketch at their own pace while receiving drawing instruction. This drop-in program meets in a different gallery on the fourth Sunday of each month and all supplies are provided. No experience is necessary.  This event is free with museum admission.

A Visit to the Maidu Museum and Historic Site is educational and fun for the entire family.

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By Heather Crivellone

The Sacramento valley sits upon some of the most interesting history.  From the days of the Gold Rush to the history of the California Railroad, to Sutters Fort and the Indian tribes that surrounded us.. we have the opportunity to explore and teach our children some of the most amazing historical facts of our region.
Recently, we discovered the Maidu Indian Museum in Roseville.  I grew up around this area and was pleasantly surprised by this “hidden” discovery and the history that is among this area.

The Maidu Indian Center was built on the edge of an ancient village site in which Nisenan Maidu families thrived for over 3,000 years.  Our historic site was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 because of its importance as a unique cultural resource due to the hundreds of bedrock mortar holes and the numerous petroglyphs carved into the sandstone boulders strewn across the north end of the site.  In addition, a vast midden area is telling evidence of thousands of years of occupation.”

The two-story museum has interactive exhibits explaining the life of the Niesenan Maidu families and how they lived during this time.  Along with the exhibits, they also have a beautiful trail (a little under a mile long) that takes you past petroglyphs, bedrock mortars, towering oaks and a year- round stream.  This trail is easily accessible for wheelchairs, strollers and those of us who just like to take a “leisurely stroll”.

My kids’ short attention spans were kept engaged in the museum by the exhibit drawers that pulled out and learning about the toys the Maidu children would play with.  They also enjoyed doing their own petroglyph rubbings, puzzles and especially enjoyed the trails outside.  When we visited, we had perfect weather for our stroll and had the opportunity to chase butterflies, search for coyotes (luckily we didn’t see any) and exploring the ancient bedrock mortar holes and boulders that are along the trail.

This is a great place for any and all children (or adults) to learn about the Maidu Indians who resided in this area and how they lived.  The center is open Monday- Friday 9am-4pm and Saturday 9am-1pm.  Admission into the center is $4.50 for adults, $4 for children and seniors or $16 for a family of four
Weekday afternoon discounts are given Monday- Friday from 2pm-4pm and the cost of admission during this time is only $2.
The third Saturday of the month, the museum is open in the evening from 6:30-8:30pm for Roseville’s Third Saturday Art Walk.  At this time, the museum is open and free to everyone.

And this Sunday, April 28 from 10am-3pm join the museum for a FREE family fun event. Yomen: A Spring Celebration.  There will be dance groups, art and craft demonstrations, guided tours, children’s activities, a craft fair and all sorts of foods will be on sale.  This is a fun event for the entire family.  This Free event does get crowded, so arriving early to park is highly recommended.

One thing to note if you do plan on visiting the museum- like many other  museums, photography is not allowed in the center.  Outside and along the trail you can use your camera, but don’t plan on taking any shots inside.  Also, the center is located at 1970 Johnson Ranch Drive in Roseville.  There are plenty of food establishments around this area, so I wouldn’t suggest packing a lunch.  Just go and enjoy the history of the center, learn some facts in the museum and explore the trails… leave the food, snacks and  cameras at home.
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Day trip to Davis- Educational, Active and Fun

city-of-davis-logoBy Heather Crivellone

According to “Wikipedia”, the City of Davis is known for its “liberal politics, for having many bicycles and bike paths and for the campus of the University of California, Davis.  And in 2006, Davis was ranked as the second most educated city in the U.S. By CNN Money magazine”.  Pretty impressive for a city in the middle of an agriculture area!

For those of us locals, we know Davis as just a “hop, skip and a jump” away from the busy, urban areas of downtown Sacramento.  What many people may not know, is that in the middle of this “college town”, you can find activities for your entire family to keep them busy and engaged all day long.

I recently took my two children on a “day adventure” to Davis.  We found enough kid-friendly activities that were both educational and active that by the end of the afternoon- we were all taking naps!

Our first stop was to the Explorit Science Center.  Located at 3141 5th Street, my kids (ages 4 and 5) were completely engaged and had fun in this hands-on science museum.
The Explorit Museum is a nonprofit science center that was founded in 1982 to “ignite and foster curiosity about science and nature through inquiry and discovery.”  They do this by changing out exhibits every few months and by bringing in new discoveries that the kids (and adults) can learn through exploration. 

Currently running through the end of August is the exhibit: Beautiful World: Science and Art.  Exploring different art forms and how they relate to science.  Kids can experiment with different materials as they draw, dance and weave their way through the connected worlds of science, math and the arts.
My kids were exploring different materials and made hydrogel.  They created robots and  trains using recyclables.  They created music with cymbals and homemade drums.  Explored how different colors and music is created…they had so much fun playing, that they didn’t even realize how much they were learning!  And isn’t that the best feeling when they incorporate play into learning?? 

Not only do they have the rotating exhibits, but the Explorit Science center also has a “Discovery Den” that has books, puzzles, blocks, and educational toys for kids of all ages, along with the fun reptiles and insects that make the little boys smile and the girls (my daughter at least) run from the area.  My 4-year-old boy was in “Bug Heaven” when we were checking out the beetles, cockroaches, black widow spiders and even a Bearded Dragon!   

The Explorit Science Center is open Wednesdays from 1pm-5pm, Fridays 3pm-6pm and Saturday and Sundays 1pm-5pm.  Admission is $5 and children under the age of 2 are free.  Check their website for special holiday times and if you would like to schedule a field trip with your school.
They are situated in a neighborhood of Davis that has a park just behind the facility which is perfect for kids of all ages.  They have a walking trail that leads to the park structure and a large field for sports and games.  A perfect afternoon with the kids…. educational and active!DSC_0251

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Another “hot spot” we visited in Davis was Rainbow City park.  Located at the corner of W. Covell Blvd. and F Street. This park is a breath of fresh air to this mama, who lives in “suburbia” and is forced to take the kids to the same boring parks with the plastic pre fab play structures.  The playground consists of mostly wooden play structures in the form of castles, pirate ships, boats, sandboxes and swings.. The kids had fun using their imaginations and climbing through tires and running around the large fields.  This park also has two more playgrounds, both of which are fantastic for those kids working on their gross motor skills (climbing nets, balancing areas, etc.)  If your kids are into skateboarding, they also have a skate park and a cement slide that I saw some “older kids” having fun on with large pieces of cardboard (I didn’t show this to my little daredevils, since I knew we would have some serious skinned up knees)!

If you have more time to explore the city of Davis, I would also suggest checking out the Davis Arboretum.  With 100 acres of gardens for recreation, exhibits and demonstrations on gardening and even guided tours- this is a wonderful springtime activity for the family.  My family has enjoyed having our portraits taken in these gardens, as well as walking through with the kids (both while they were in strollers and now just running around).  This is a perfect place to “get away” from the city and enjoy nature.

And lastly, if you want to fully experience the city of Davis, you must enjoy a trip to one of their famous Wednesday evening Farmers markets (Central Park on 4th and C Street).  Locals will bring their picnic blankets and baskets for a large picnic in the park.  From 4:30pm-8:30pm Wednesday evenings through October, The Davis Food Co-op sponsors live music from local bands.  If you don’t bring a picnic, you can purchase food from one of the many food vendors (even grab a glass of beer or wine) and entertain the kids with the many activities that are going on (pony rides, face painting, rock climbing to name a few).  This is a party not to be missed.

So whether you plan on visiting for a couple of hours or staying the entire day- there is something in Davis for everyone. 
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Weekend Family Fun

Another Sacramento weekend with plenty of fun activities for the whole family!  Take in a River Cats baseball game at Raley Field, visit our beloved Fairytale Town, the Automobile museum, or Discovery Museum.  Enjoy an International Foods night or if you want to celebrate, Earth Day activities abound.  Happy Weekend!

earth_day_celebration_city_2013_category4/18 – Earth Day Celebration at City Hall – The Neighborhood Services Division of the City of Sacramento’s Department of Parks & Recreation is hosting its  annual Earth Day Celebration for 2013! Come out and join for a free day of fun for all ages. There will be interactive learning including composting, recycling, clean air demonstrations, and much more.

Spare the air and ride RT! Take the Light Rail to St. Rose of Lima Park or take the bus to one of multiple downtown bus stops.

4/18 – Cars Under the Stars at the California Automobile Museum – This Museum after-hours event is great for all ages. Enjoy all exhibits at half price. Freebies, including free tours, will be available. Every month visitors can enjoy special programming coordinated by Museum staff and volunteers.  Visitors will also enjoy free coffee and hot chocolate.

international-food2_category4/19 – International Food Night – Creative Connections Arts Academy (CCAA) is hosting its 5th International Food Night. This event gives participants the opportunity to sample homemade authentic international cuisines plus the chance to chat with the cooks to learn
more about the dishes. Those who attend will also have the opportunity to participate in the PTO Raffle and Silent Auction throughout the evening to help support the arts in education.

4/20 – Celebrate the Earth at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center – Everyone is welcome at this annual—and free—family-friendly event, sponsored by Roseville Electric and the Environmental Utilities, Whole Foods Market in Roseville, and hosted at the Utility Exploration Center. Don’t miss a day of fun-filled day of food, live music, local green vendors, electric vehicles, and family entertainment!

4/20 – Family Fun Fest at Fairytale Town – Join the Junior League of Sacramento for a night of family fun with carnival games, crafts, and live music!  This wonderful event will include music from The Mixx, great dance exhibitions, martial arts on display, yoga for kids, fencing demonstrations, and many more exhibitions. There will be games, fitness activities, face painting, and delicious, nutritious food.  In addition, there will be cooking demonstrations and a cook-off with the Junior League of Sacramento’s Kids in the Kitchen community program which will include some of the local Boys & Girls clubs.

river_cats_raley_field_category4/20-21  – River Cats Baseball – Come out to enjoy a great game of baseball as the Sacramento River Cats take on the Reno Aces. Don’t leave early because after the game the largely popular Raley Field fireworks show takes off. Bring a group and enjoy some baseball as well as the best fireworks show in Northern California!

Living in Sapce4/20-21 – Spinning into Spring at the Discovery Museum – Since the 1800s, a favorite spring toy for children has been the pin wheel. Come enjoy that fun this weekend by visiting the Discovery Museum. Each child crafts a spring spinner to take home as a souvenir. Test it out by running around on the Discovery Museum’s acreage after visiting the Space Quest! exhibit. Planetarium shows are at 1pm & 3pm for ages 4 and older; live animal presentations at Noon and 2pm for all ages.

4/21 – Art Spark: An Inclusive Arts Festival for Families – Families are invited to an inclusive celebration of children and the arts. Enjoy performances by Francie Dillon along with Puppet Art Theater, youth from El Dorado Dance Academy, Aim Higher Elk Grove, and Afia Walking Tree, as well as hands-on fun stations designed for visitors of all abilities.  This family festival is FREE for all.

creatures_of_the_night_category4/21 – Creatures of the Night at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – When the sun is setting, many creatures are going to sleep but some are just waking up. Discover some of the mysterious animals which make the preserve come alive in the night and meet one of Effie Yeaw’s resident nocturnal animals.

4/21 – For the Joy of Singing at the Crest Theater – In honor of twenty years of providing musical education to youth in the region, the Sacramento Children’s Chorus (SCC) will hold its 20th Anniversary Concert, For the Joy of Singing in the historic Crest Theatre in downtown Sacramento. All five choirs that make up the SCC will perform delightful pieces from musical greats such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Louis Armstrong, and Mozart, just to name a few.  In addition, this special concert will showcase an alumni ensemble. Former SCC singers from across the nation will gather to perform at the Crest, celebrate the Sacramento Children’s Chorus, and pay tribute to the positive long-term impact that singing has made on their lives.

For more EARTH DAY celebrations, click here.

Weekend Family Fun

You’ll want to get outside and enjoy our beautiful weather this weekend – as always, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center has some fabulous (and free) weekend activities going on.  Your little kiddos can try their hand at Fly Fishing with the Department of Fish & Wildlife,  join Sac State as they host a family fun day, or attend Sutter;s Health and Wellness Festival at Fairytale Town.  Whatever you decide to do, you are sure have a wonderful time!

alice_wonderland_royalstage_category4/12-4/14 – Alice in Wonderland at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center -Join for a revamped version of the classic Lewis Carol story featuring all of your favorite characters!

When Alice falls down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a land of fantasy and confusion. Lost and unable to find her way back home, she encounters many odd characters who attempt to provide her with good advice: the mischievious Cheshire Cat, the unamused Catapillar, the kooky Mad Hatter & March Hare, all finally leading her to the Queen of Hearts.

Will Alice untimately turn to the King of Hearts in order to find her way home, or will she succumb to the madness of Wonderland?

slide2_category4/13 – Sutter Children’s Wellness Festival at Fairytale Town -Enjoy fun games, gardening and nutrition workshops, height and weight checks, and more at this free celebration of active and healthy living. Sutter’s medical personnel will also be on hand to answer questions and provide information on childhood diseases and epidemics like diabetes, obesity, and more.

In addition to the fun learning activities, families can also see a live theater performance in the Children’s Theater (additional cost). Admission to this program is free thanks to a generous grant from Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento, and ScholarShare College Savings Plan.

flyfishingrama_category4/13 – Fly Fishing-O-Rama -The California Fly Fishers Unlimited (CFFU), California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and FEC are partnering for this fun-filled family event. Fly Fishing is poetry in motion and participants can become familiar with proper casting techniques that can assist them in catching “The Big One.” After all, a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.

Participants will have the opportunity to swap gear, tie flies, and much more. Activities will include DFW fishing clinics, fly tying, fishing demonstrations, knot tying instruction, streamside ethics and etiquette, water safety, fly and bug selection, a swap meet for fishing equipment, fishing games, and face painting.

images-2_medium4/13 – Painting Lessons for Children at East Sac Mercantile – Children will learn how to use the brush to create pieces of art.  Presented by Adventures in Painting and East Sac Mercantile.

4/13 – Sun Seekers at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Some have scaly skin, some have slimy skin, some have legs, some don’t. Can you guess what they are? Join and meet one of these cold blooded critters up close!

under_the_oaks_lindathomas_category4/14 – Under the Oaks at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Effie Yeaw’s mighty oak trees provide food and shelter for many animals and insects. Learn the how to identify different varieties of oak trees in the Nature Preserve and who might be living in them.

zoozoom_category4/14 – Zoo Zoom – Are you as fast as a hare or as slow as a tortoise? Find out at the 33rd Annual ZooZoom, which benefits the Sacramento Zoo.  There are options for everyone from a 5K run/walk (3.1 miles) to a 10K run (6.2 miles). The 5K run/walk and 10K run will lead participants through beautiful Land Park and finish near the back entrance to the Zoo.

Children participants can also help support their school by entering the 5K and/or the Saucony “Run For Good” kids fun runs. All children, ages 4-12, that enter fun runs will receive a special shirt, race number 1, and a finish medal! Separate fun runs by age group.

its_magic_category4/14 – It’s Magic! Presented by Three Stages at Folsom College – A lineup of some of the world’s top professional magicians returns to Three Stages, following a sold-out performance last season. The show, produced by Milt Larson (founder of Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle), has delighted magic enthusiasts of all ages for more than five decades.

fsf13_digital_general_category4/13 – Sac State Sunday Funday – A new, Family Funday Sunday is the centerpiece of a dramatically expanded Festival of the Arts at Sacramento State. The College of Arts and Letters has lined up events for the entire family on that day, including a Kids’ Zone that will be located on the Main Quad at the north end of campus, offering a bounce house, free ice cream, and many other child-oriented attractions.

Sacto MoFo will be on hand with vendors such as Krush Burgers and Chando’s Tacos. The University’s Ceramics Guild will offer demonstrations of making items from clay on a ceramics wheel. Adults and older children will have the chance to try it themselves. Visitors to Mendocino Hall will be able to use the sound studio to record themselves and listen back to the results.