Take the kids to the Sacramento Zoo for FREE this Wednesday!

imagesCAN09MH6Are you looking for something fun to do this week?  This Wednesday at the Sacramento Zoo is “Wells Fargo Wednesdays”.  From 9am-4pm you can get into the zoo for FREE!  Bring up to four kids, ages 2-11 with a paid adult and visit the zoo for free! Enjoy a free train or carousel ride with the kids and check out the famous Wells Fargo Stage Coach.  This event is sponsored by Wells Fargo. The zoo is located in beautiful William Land Park and across the street you can also visit Fairytale Town and Funderland.  With the temperatures this week being almost spring-like, there is no excuse to not get out and enjoy one of these wonderful parks. So pack a lunch and grab your kids for a fun summer day out!


What to do when your kids get the “Summertime Blues”

ImBoredFrontCover-150By Heather Crivellone

Well, summer is officially underway, and if you are like most moms out there, you are counting down the days left until school starts.  Kids are probably complaining that they are “bored” or just getting those little hands into everything that they shouldn’t be getting into. Here is a simple (and CHEAP) list of activities that you can do with your kids to keep those busy hands active and keep them entertained during these “dog days” of summer:

1.  Visit one of our local libraries.  They offer free story times and most have a “kids” area with toys, puzzles, computer games and other activities to keep them busy.

2.  Go on a Scavenger Hunt.  If you can’t imagine yourself creating your own map to find treasures, then head down to Old Sacramento and  follow the one that has been created for Old Sac.  You will learn a few things about our city, and have some fun along the way!nature-center-photo-01

3.  Take a nature walk with your kids and explore nature.  You can visit places like the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Auburn’s Hidden Falls or just venture out in one of our city’s beautiful parks.

4.  And speaking of parks- we have a plethora of family friendly parks with amenities to keep you and your kids busy all day.  When was the last time you packed a lunch and had a picnic at William Land Park?

5.  Visit on of the local Farmer’s Markets in the area.  Chat with the growers and sample some of fresh fruit and veggies.  My kids seem to eat more veggies at the “samples” and it’s always a fun way to spend the afternoon or evening with the kids.

6.  Take some of those veggies that you just bought at the Farmers Market and make some crafts.  Have you tried painting with fruit and veggies?  Cut the Apples and Potatoes and make paints… and if you don’t have any leftover, then use some leaves, sponges or anything else you can find on hand other than the typical paintbrush.  Kids will giggle and have fun while creating their masterpieces.

7.  Visit the Davis Arboretum.  Beautiful gardens and trails will keep you busy.. take a lunch and stay the day.

dsc_01338.  Make a bird feeder with peanut butter, bird seed and toilet paper rolls.  My kids had a blast doing this-  although, we did have more bird seed on the ground than on the “feeder”, but every morning they still run outside to see the birds.

9. Go to an outdoor concert or movie.  Jackie Greene will be performing at Fairytale Town on Saturday, August 24. or catch a movie at “Screen on the Green” Saturday nights in August.  “How to Train your Dragon” will be showing on August 3rd at South Natomas Community Park and “101 Dalmations” will be showing on August 10 at Glen Hall Park.

10.  Take the kids fishing.  We are surrounded by water with lakes, rivers and streams.  Or visit a park like Gibson Ranch where they stock their ponds for fishing.

11.  Go on a bike ride.  We have fantastic trails throughout the Sacramento Area.  If you don’t have a bike, you can always rent one and travel along the American River.  It’s a great way to get in some exercise and family fun all in one.

12.  Take a trip to the State Capitol.  Visit the gardens, take a tour of the building, or just take a picnic and enjoy the scenery.

13.  Explore art in the area at the 2nd Saturday Art Walk.  Or have the kids create their own art at Art Beast.  This is a day adventure that will keep the busy all day long.  Of for a little more of an “educational” experience- check out the Crocker Art Museum on Wednesday mornings for their “Wee Wednesday” program geared towards pre-school age, or their Family Fridays events.100_5437

14.  Visit a local farm to pick your own produce and check out the animals.  They may even let you feed the animals.  Impossible Acres in Davis is a great place to pick your own fresh fruit.

15.  Tour a local historic site.  Sacramento is bursting with history and you don’t have to go far to enjoy your own history lessons first hand.  Sutter’s Fort, The Governor’s Mansion, and Old Sacramento to name a few.

16.  Visit the LEGO Store at Arden Fair mall to create something unique.  Have a building contest and get “out of the heat” and into some air conditioning at the local mall.

17.  And to keep cool on these hot summer days, visit one of the many spray parks in the area.  Free and fun ways to keep cool with the kids as they splash and burn energy.

18.  Craft Times are offered at local Michael’s and Joann Stores.  Also check out Big Spoon Yogurt – they offer craft times for the kids (with a free frozen yogurt after).

19.  Some movie theatres in the area offer $1 movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.  The movies are kid appropriate and it’s a great way to get the kids out of the heat and do something “fun” for cheap.  And don’t forget about Sacramento’s oldest and only Drive-In theater West Wind Drive In.  They offer “double features” and it’s a great way to enjoy our beautiful Sacramento summer nights!

ice20cream20pic20.  Visit one of Sacramento’s favorite ice cream parlors for a “Sweet Treat”.  Leatherby’s Family Creamery, Vic’s Ice Cream, or Gunther’s Ice Cream to name a few!

Hope this list helps for things to do with your kids when they start complaining and yelling “I’m Boooooorrrreeeeddd!”.

Weekend Family Fun

What’s going on this weekend?  A Great Train Robbery, a family campout at Fairytale Town, Junior Chef’s cooking classes at Soil Born Farms, the final weekend of the California State Fair and plenty of theater presentations if you want to stay indoors.  Check out all the other fun activities below.  Have fun!

snowwhitestorybooktheatre_category7/26-7/27 – Storybook Theater: Snow White – With lips of ruby red, hair as black as pitch, and skin as white as snow, Princess Snow White is the most beautiful in the land. This is as much a curse as a blessing, and earns her the murderous jealousy of her stepmother, the Queen. Fortunately for Snow White, she has the loyalty of the Dwarf brothers, who take her in, but ultimately cannot protect her from the Queen’s scheme. Can the love of a handsome prince save the innocent Snow White or will the evil Queen get her way? Another fractured fairy tale to please young and old alike.

2013-160thpoppy-signature-610x250_category7/26-7/28 – 160th Annual California State Fair – The seventeen-day California State Fair is a robust celebration of the State of California, its industries, agriculture, and diversity of its people. For many, the State Fair is the culmination of hard work throughout the year. For others, the State Fair is a family summer tradition of enjoyment with plenty of entertainment, fascinating exhibits, popular livestock venues, and mouth-watering food.

wizard_of_oz_runaway_stage_cast_category7/26 – 7/28 – The Wizard of Oz presented by Runaway Stage Productions at the 24th Street Theater – Don’t miss this fantasy live on stage! Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy, and her little dog Toto, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their heart’s desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for all the family.

fttroupers_category7/26 – 7/28 – Jack and the Meanstalk at Fairytale Town – The Fairytale Town Troupers close their season with a clever retelling of the classic children’s tale Jack and the Beanstalk. Brave Jackson sets out on a dangerous quest to reclaim his lost family treasure and save the sleepy countryside from the dark sorcery in the sky. Armed with only his courage and a magical singing sword, Jackson climbs up and up, into the mysterious kingdom of the clouds, for an unexpected journey into adventure.  Performances will take place on the outdoor Mother Goose Stage and are free with paid park admission.

fairytaletowncampout_category7/27 – Campout at Fairytale Town – Spend the night under the stars at Fairytale Town. This exciting overnight adventure includes a theatre performance, arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt, bedtime stories, and a sing-along. Wake up the next morning under Fairytale Town’s canopy of trees to a light continental breakfast.

train_ride_category7/27 – Great Train Robbery -Take a ride back to the Old West. This 3.5 hour trip includes a relaxing train ride over the Fremont Trestle and through some pretty countryside. While riding along, however, keep an eye for outlaws who tend to hide out along the tracks. Fortunately, the Marshall is on board to keep things safe. More often than not, he has to teach those outlaws a lesson.  You deboard the train to enjoy a western barbecue lunch by the river. While there is some seating at the park, it is suggested you also bring a blanket in case you want to picnic on the shady grass.

7/27 – Beat the Heat at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Take time to appreciate trees for all the shade they provide by enjoying a leisurely morning walk on the Preserve trails. Join a Naturalist as you watch for deer, hawks, woodpeckers, and much more before the afternoon heats up.

youth_cooks_category7/27 – Junior Chefs: Cooking Series at Soil Born Farms – Picnic Dinner Without the Ants with seriously Good Citrus Water with lots of ICE; Picnic Salad: Fresh Greens, Cut from the Cob Corn and Tomato Salad & dressing; oven Baked Chicken Tenders (way better than ANY fast food place!); watermelon Cake with Fruit “Icing.Students will take home: recipes and nutrition information packet, to go Chinese carton of picnic salad. Students will learn: cooking techniques; nutrition newsflash; food labels and why they are important; compare fat, sugar, salt content of fast food chicken tender vs. our recipe.

Stamp-a-rama7/27-7/28 – Beach Bum Bonanza – In town and looking for some summer excitement? Visit the Discovery Museum this weekend for some beach themed fun. The classroom has a beautiful display of shells to view, for this weekend only. All children are invited, ages 12 and under, to make some beach inspired crafts to take as souvenirs. Decorate a sea star banner with glitter pizzazz and fashion a sea shell pendant to wear home.

schoolhouse_rock_live_category7/27 – 7/28 – Schoolhouse Rock Jr.  Live!Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. follows Tina, a nerve-wracked school teacher who is nervous about her first day of teaching. She tries to relax by watching TV when various characters representing facets of her personality emerge from the set and show her how to win her students over with imagination and music, through such songs as “Just A Bill,” “Interplanet Janet,” “Conjunction Junction,” and many more.

pearfair_category7/28 – Courtland Pear Festival – Come out to a country fair in the Sacramento River Delta town of Courtland celebrating the Bartlett Pear Harvest. The day is filled with a fun run, pancake breakfast, arts & crafts, wine tasting, children’s area, parade, music all day, and lots of food. It’s a day of fun for the whole family!

7/28 – Critter Corner at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Get a chance to meet one of the Nature Center’s resident animals up close. Learn all about an amazing animal and its own unique journey to becoming an educational ambassador.

A day trip to Auburn is fun, educational and active!

8606_10151520740018430_194627890_nBy Heather Crivellone

Summertime can bring out the best and the worst in our kids (and us!).  The best thing to do is to keep those little hands and minds active so they don’t drive us crazy during these “dog days” of summer!

And luckily, we live in an area where we can take a day trip in any direction and have a new adventure everyday at little cost.  Recently, we packed up the car with snacks and headed up the hill to Auburn.  About 45 minutes from downtown Sacramento, we were in the heart of Placer County. 

Now, If you haven’t been to this area before, you may not know that Auburn is known for it’s California Gold Rush history and is situated perfectly for outdoor enthusiasts.  Hiking, biking, running, fishing…you name it- it can be done in the Auburn area.  And to my surprise, I found quite a few activities that my children could enjoy on our day outing!

First off, we headed to Hidden Falls Regional Park for a family hike.  This park is a 221 acre open space located at 7587 Mears Place, north of Mt. Vernon Road between Auburn and Lincoln.  The park is host to groves of woodlands, 7 miles of natural trails that are suitable for hiking, biking, running and horseback riding.  It’s also home to Coon Creek, Deadman creek and a 20-30 foot high waterfall that runs all year.  We chose a trail that was suitable for my 4 and 5 year olds. They especially enjoyed the waterfall at the end of the hike!

We then decided to picnic and spend the rest of the afternoon at the Placer Nature Center. Located at 3700 Christian Valley Road in Auburn, we discovered our new favorite, local family destination!

With hands on exhibits, nature trails, gardens and even a replica of a Native American Village- this is a fun and educational outing for the entire family!

My kids especially enjoyed playing in the Discovery room.  This is an area with hands-on science investigations, experiments and exploration.  They “oohed and ahhed” at the see-through working bee hive and was lucky enough to have an informative volunteer explain to use the life cycle of the bee.

We also visited the “Energy Choices” exhibit, the “Watershed Learning Center” (my husbands favorite exhibit) and the “Our Changing Land” exhibit. 

My daughter couldn’t get enough of exploring and playing with the “skulls and skins” of local wildlife they had on exhibit.

PicMonkey Collage 2

And my 4 year old boy was laughing in hysterics at the “Poop” exhibit. Yes- we can all now identify the difference between deer and bear excrement!

The volunteers who work at the center are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.  We had the opportunity to not only learn about the life cycle of bees, but they brought out more hands- on learning exhibits and taught one on one to my children about tadpoles, frogs and so much more.  We literally felt as if we were on an elementary school educational field trip with our family!

I just can’t say enough about how wonderful this place is- especially if you enjoy nature and want your children to experience and learn about the world around us! And the best part is that its was completely FREE!  They do ask for donations…so give graciously!

I would urge any teachers out there looking for field trip ideas, home school parents or “mommy groups” looking for an educational and fun outing, or just a family day trip to the Placer Nature Center- it is well worth the drive!

They are open Thursday-Saturday 9am-5pm, but visit their website for additional programs or to schedule an event (group events, birthday parties, etc).  They also have special family nature programs through the year- so check the calendar for upcoming events.

Now Auburn does have quite a bit of outdoor recreation, but if that isn’t your “cup of tea”, then you can always hit up Old Town Auburn and enjoy some shopping in the boutiques and “mom & pop” shops that line the streets. They also have the Placer County Gold Museum and several wineries in the area (for the adults, of course). 

After our active day of hiking and exploring, we enjoyed pizza at the Old Town Pizza Company and then cooled off with a Tango Frozen Yogurt.  It was the perfect end to a perfect family summer outing!

PicMonkey Collage 1

Weekend Family Fun

This weekend would be a great one to spend outdoors.  How about a campfire at the Maidu Museum and Historic site?  Or catch one of two outdoor movie showings: Brave in Elk Grove, or Madagascar 3 in Fair Oaks.  How about some Hands on History at Sutter’s Fort?  And of course, there is the California State Fair.  You don’t want to miss that!  And if you are one of those who doesn’t take well to the heat, then head on over to the Discovery Museum or Sacramento Children’s Museum for indoor, air-conditioned fun.  Have a happy weekend!

7/19 – Movies in the Park: Madagascar 3 -Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District and Spanda Industrial General Contractors are excited to announce the free summer Movies in the Park series. Come out early to get a good seat and let your kids experience the Wonderful Outdoor World (W.O.W.) bus before the movie begins.  Concessions (hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and ice cream) will be available for purchase from the Fair Oaks Host Lions Club and Fair Oaks Youth Advisory Board (FOYAB).

$4fridays_category7/19 – $4 Friday Night at the Sacramento Children’s Museum – Celebrate summer inside and outside the Sacramento Children’s Museum during $4 Friday Night. Come and enjoy live music, food trucks (OMKarmabile and Sun Pizza), face painting, late night Museum play, Robo Party Bank, Big Spoon Yogurt, and other fun activities.

campfireatnight_category7/19 – Campfire at Maidu Museum and Historic Site – Storytelling has been an important part of Native American culture for thousands of years. Sit under the stars at the outdoor amphitheater to enjoy songs and native stories around the campfire. Maidu Museum will provide roasting sticks and marshmallows for a sweet program’s end to this fun family event.

fairytale_town_rabbit_hole_slide_2_category7/20 – Children’s Play Day at Fairytale Town -Celebrate the importance of childhood play with a fun-filled day for the whole family. This program features games, hands-on activities, arts and crafts, and more. Plus, enjoy a performance of Jack and the Meanstalk by the Fairytale Town Troupers on the outdoor Mother Goose Stage.

In Jack and the Meanstalk, Brave Jackson sets out on a dangerous quest to reclaim his lost family treasure and save the sleepy countryside from the dark sorcery in the sky. Armed with only his courage and a magical singing sword, Jackson climbs up and up, into the mysterious kingdom of the clouds, for an unexpected journey into adventure!

7/20 – Outdoor Movie Night: Brave at Calvine Storage King – Calvine Storage Kings in Elk Grove is offering a 4th summer of FREE outdoor movies. We’ve had so much fun the last few years that we want to do it again. But this year, we’ve made it even better:  Foodmob trucks will be on site from 5:30pm – 8:30pm!  We’ll also provide free popcorn, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on this fun-filled event! Come early to set up your chairs and enjoy the pre-show food. We’ll see you there!

suttersfort_category7/20 – Hands on History: Mining the Miners  at Sutter’s Fort – Join in the most profitable game of the mining era, “Mining the Miners.” Fort visitors are invited to spend the day enjoying hands-on activities such as gold panning, playing games of chance, period-appropriate bowling, and the opportunity to win “Sutter Bucks.” There will be a display of guns and weapons from the Gold Rush era, demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action, and the crowd-favorite: firing of Sutter’s cannon.

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) is proud to present this special event to focus on providing high-energy, interactive, and educational activities.

Flying High at the Nature Center7/20 – What’s the Buzz? Solitary Bees at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Join “bee-ologist” Julie Serences to learn about the fascinating life cycle of
native bees and why they are important to the ecology of our landscapes. Following a 45 minute program, stroll the grounds with Julie to identify a variety of busy native bees.

7/21 – Bark Rubbing at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Come explore the variety of trees found in the Nature Center’s village and create your own colorful bark rubbing art. Learning each tree’s bark pattern is the key to identifying the many types found in this area. All ages welcome.

Stamp-a-rama7/20 – 7/21 – 3-2-1 Blastoff!  At the Discovery Museum –  Blast off to the Discovery Museum this weekend for a great family day! The Space Quest exhibit offers fun for everyone. Younger children try on costumes and make believe in the rocket ship play-space, while older kids become a human gyroscope.  All the youngsters, ages 12 and under, construct straw rockets this weekend. Test yours out in the classroom then take it home as a souvenir. Don’t forget to get your picture taken with a real Titan II engine that is on the museum grounds.  Also enjoy this month’s special planetarium show, Man on the Moon, highlighting the Apollo 11 mission. And don’t forget the animal presentation that is included with admission

2013-160thpoppy-signature-610x250_categoryThrough July 28 – 160th Annual California State Fair – The seventeen-day California State Fair is a robust celebration of the State of California, its industries, agriculture, and diversity of its people. For many, the State Fair is the culmination of hard work throughout the year. For others, the State Fair is a family summer tradition of enjoyment with plenty of entertainment, fascinating exhibits, popular livestock venues, and mouthwatering food.

Neon Splash Dash is coming to Sacramento- and we have FREE entries to giveaway!

method=get&s=neon-splash-dash-2013By Heather Crivellone

Sacramento is a runners city paradise!  We have good weather (minus a few 100 degree+ days), flat terrain, lots of shade (downtown) and a fun run, marathon or triathlon available almost every weekend of the year!  If you are searching for a running event in the area, make sure you check out our Runs/Walks page on this blog.

Some of these runs are basic 5K’s through local neighborhoods.  Some are down and dirty “Mud Runs”.  But one of the wildest and brightest night time running events is coming to Sacramento…The Neon Splash Dash!  On September 7th at Cal Expo (1600 Exposition Blvd) join thousands of runners, walkers and dancers as they “glow the night away”.

If you have never experienced the Neon Splash Dash- it’s an event to remember! You will run (or dance) through different Glow Zones, where everyone participating will be sprayed down with a different color of super intense U.V. Glow water.  Not only will you be drenched with glow water, but the party continues at each zone with music pumping to keep your energy going.
As everyone crosses the finish line there will be a HUGE after glow party filled with performers, music and tons of black lights to show off those neon colors!

Now if you have children- you know the excitement of glow sticks at nighttime…multiply that excitement by a gazillion, add music and you the Neon Splash Dash!

The event will begin at 7:30pm, with gates opening at 5:30pm for the early arrivals.  This is a family friendly event- strollers are welcome and children of all ages can participate in this event.  Just keep in mind that this is a nighttime event- so make sure your children are the type who will stay with you and not wander off into the crowds by themselves…always my struggle with my youngest!

However, my 6 year old daughter is excited to be “bombed” with the “neon water” (as she calls it).  She had her first experience with a “real” running event a few months back and is now hooked…she loves the energy and excitement the races bring.  And especially when we know the proceeds go towards a charity we love.  The Neon Splash Dash donates to a local charity- the particular charity has not yet been named, but to know that we are going out, having fun, getting fit all in the name of a charity…it’s a gift that I love to share with my family!

Registration for the Neon Splash Dash is now open.  Visit their website for more information and to sign up.  And for our Sacramento Kids readers- we are giving away 2 Free Entries into the race!!!  Comment on this article with your favorite Neon Color and why you should be chosen to win a free entry by July 31 and we will choose 2 winners who will be announced the first week of August.  All other readers who would like to run in the race and don’t win the free tickets, we are also offering $5 off registration with the code: SACKIDS5

Good luck to everyone and we are looking forward to seeing you “glow” at the finish line!