Upcoming Events at Fairytale Town

MLK Day at Fairytale TownBy Heather Crivellone

I have to admit, one of my most favorite and cherished places to take the kids here in Sacramento is Fairytale Town. How can it get any better… a park made specifically for toddlers and little feet to run around and play to their heart’s content all while adding in the great nursery rhymes we have all grown up with? Stories and the Old Mother Goose rhymes literally come to life at this 2.5 acre play park. The kids can explore old nursery rhyme favorites while speeding down slides, climbing through tunnels and balancing along the “Crooked Mile”.  Kids can enjoy viewing animals from the “Three Little Pig”, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and more.  My favorite area is Mr. McGregors Garden where the kids can help water the vegetable plants.  You can spend the entire day exploring and playing with your kids at this park!

And this weekend, on Saturday April 5- you can take your family to this beloved park for FREE! From 11am-2pm, celebrate active and healthy living at Sutter Children’s Center Wellness Festival! There will be fun games, play time and gardening activities throughout the park. You will learn about healthy childhood development and speak with Sutter medial professionals and even have on site health and dental screenings.

As long as the weather permits, this should be a fun and educational event for the whole family. And if you can’t make it to this event, there will be more fun events coming this spring. Some days to keep in mind are April 19 and 20 for their popular Spring Eggstravaganza! On May 3 and 4 they will be showing the Puppet Show: Hansel and Gretel. And on May 17, there will be another fun event: Farms, Friends and Fairytales. Check out their website for more information.

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Weekend Family Fun

3/29 – Hawk Talk at the Nature Center – Do you wonder which hawks you are seeing in your neighborhood this season? Come learn some tricks of the trade about how to identify the most common hawks in the area and get close up with one of the Center’s resident hawks.

3/29 – Mister Cooper in Concert at Busy Kids – Looking for ideas for fun indoor activities for your children? BusyKidz is the place! We are an indoor play-city-in-miniature located in Folsom, CA, providing kids with interactive activities designed to spark their imagination and creative ideas. BusyKidz is not only fun, but develops your children’s creativity while they are playing AND learning. We offer unique, hands-on activities in an indoor environment that encourage children and toddlers aged ten and under to pretend, to develop imaginative activities, to form original ideas, to play with other children and to have fun!

3/29 – Fun on the Farm at Soil Born – Join the fun & explore the American River Ranch, meet the farm animals, make a farm fresh snack and create something special to take home.

3/29-3/30 – Nano Days at the Discovery Museum – Nano Days is a nationwide festival of educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and the potential impact on the future. The Museum is a member of the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network and is offering a nano-celebration–museum classrooms will be full of hands-on activities to help your family understand the nano-world and its importance to our society.

3/30 – Science Sundays at the Aerospace Museum – This spring, there is something new at the museum.  Science Sundays.  Come out and learn something new with Mad Science’s Galactic Show.  Bring the whole family and experience flight and space travel in an exciting way.  See how hot air balloons, rockets and space travel affect the human body.  Free with museum admission.

3/30 – Turtle Talk at the Nature Center – What is turtle island? What’s the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? Learn about these shelled critters with a hands-on approach to these amazing reptiles. Find out what’s in the shell with Elaine from the Sacramento Turtle and Tortoise Club.

Thru 3/31 – Blast from the Past: Rockin’ Rocks& Diggin’ Dinos – Rocks are a fascinating artifacts from the past that have a lot to tell you about Earth’s ancient–and not-so-ancient–history. Interactive displays will give visitors a real science encounter with rocks, crystals, and fossils of all kinds. The basics of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks are presented in an engaging, hands-on style using large, attractive specimens. Displays include volcanoes, floating rocks, magnetism, fluorescence, and rocks under different magnifications.

Day-tripping with the Family to Charming Murphys and Calaveras Big Trees State Park

DSC_0191 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.  This is one of my favorite reasons for living in “Sac Town”- we are a short 2 hours’ drive from some of the best “day trips” imaginable!
Recently, some friends of ours introduced us to the charming town of Murphys.  Oddly enough, I had never even heard of Murphys- but when we decided to make a weekend trip into Calaveras County, I was pleasantly surprised by how wonderful this little town is!

Hidden in the hills of Calaveras County and among the “Big Trees”, Murphys is approximately an hour and a half drive out of Sacramento.  The drive itself was beautiful and we had the opportunity to stop in some smaller towns along the way and explore some great antique shops!  Once we arrived in Murphys, I was overjoyed by this quaint little mountain town.  Along the tree-lined streets were over 20 wine tasting rooms, boutiques, knickknacks shops, restaurants and even dog-friendly shops.  The feel of the town is very casual so if you are planning on a more “upscale” wine tasting adventure like you would find in the Napa Valley- this isn’t it.  However, if you want to take the kids, dog on a leash and cruise the town in flip-flops and enjoy some local varietals- this is the place!

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Now, you may not think of wine tasting as a vacation suitable to take the kids- (I was a little skeptical myself), but Murphys is very family friendly and they even have a great park in the middle of town that the kids played at for hours!  This was a great spot for bringing a picnic lunch and visiting after spending some time window-shopping and “cruising” the streets.  My kids didn’t want to leave the park- and we had been there for over 2 hours!

And if you are a bit more adventurous and looking for something a little more active, then the Calaveras Big Trees State Park is only a short drive away from the town of Murphys.  If you have never seen the Calaveras Big Trees this is definitely a must do on your bucket list of life!  They will absolutely amaze you and leave you speechless as you stand amongst these massive relics that are 2,000 years old and can reach a height of 325 feet!  These Giant Sequoias- the world’s largest trees are native to this area of our Sierra Nevada mountains, and we are lucky to be able to visit and hike through some of these natural wonders!

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“Calaveras became a State Park in 1931 to preserve the North Grove of giant sequoias. This grove includes the “Discovery Tree”, also known as the “Big Stump”, the first Sierra redwood noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852. This area has been a major tourist attraction ever since, and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California.”

The park has several trails for hiking, areas for camping, creeks to splash around and fish in, and many opportunities for photography, bird watching and just relaxing!  They have a wonderful tourist center that is interactive and great for the kids, teaching them about the trees and animals that live in forest.
While we were visiting, it was still cold outside- and the kids were excited to warm up after our long hike in the “Warming Hut” with hot cocoa and a warm fire to thaw out our fingers and noses!
This is a fantastic National Park to visit and learn about some of the world’s great wonders.  Easily accessible and the trails are easy enough for all athletic levels (we did see a few strollers along the path as well as walkers and runners).

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I would highly recommend planning a trip to Calaveras Big Trees- they are open daily from sunrise to sunset.  Located on Highway 4, approximately 3 miles east of the town of Arnold and 20 minutes out of Murphy’s.  From Sacramento, it’s only about an hour and a half drive- which you could make this trip into a day trip or an overnight weekend trip staying in one of the local towns or camping in the park.  Either way, it’s a must do for one of your upcoming spring weekends!

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Weekend Family Fun

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Thru 3/23 – Suessical the Musical  – Last weekend to see Suessical the Musical at the 24th Street Theater.  Based on the incredible Dr. Seuss books, The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to a butter battling military school for thinking too many “thinks.”  Horton’s attention to the speck of dust and his “loitering” care of Mayzie LaBird’s egg has elicited taunting and accusations from the rest of the animal kingdom, except for Gertrude McFuzz, who longs for his attention, and JoJo, whose “thinks” save them all in the end.

Thru 3/23 – Annie, Jr. – Leapin’ Lizards! The popular comic strip heroine Little Orphan Annie takes center stage in Annie Jr., an adaptation of one of the world’s best-loved and most-performed musicals.  With pluck and positivity, Annie charms everyone she meets despite a next-to-nothing start in the Depression-era New York City of the 1930s. She is determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. When billionaire Oliver Warbucks decides to invite an orphan to his mansion for Christmas, Annie gets her chance to experience NYC anew outside the confines of the orphanage. Despite Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations, Annie befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and finds a new home alongside Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt, Sandy.

Thru 3/23 – Fairytale Town Troupers: Cinder-Allan The Fairytale Town Troupers open the 2014 season with an original and creative adaptation of the classic tale of Cinderella. In this version, poor little orphan Allan loves comic books and super heroes more than anything. He wants nothing more than to attend the big Comic Book Convention, enter the costume contest, and meet his favorite Super Princess. But his wicked step-siblings have him working day and night on their costumes.  Will Allan get a chance to finish his own costume in time? Or will he have to miss the Convention completely? Things look pretty bleak for Allan, until a mysterious super stranger comes to his rescue!

3/22-3/23 – Bird and Breakfast at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Join the Sacramento Audubon Society and the American River Natural History Association for a weekend of birding!The first day will be the traditional event, with 90-minute bird walks (appropriate for Ages 12+) followed by a traditional breakfast buffet.  The next day, a family friendly event will be held with 60-minute bird walks and a pancake breakfast hosted by the Carmichael Kiwanis Club.

3/22-3/23 – It’s a Small World at the Discovery Museum – It really is a small world after all! Visit the Museum this weekend for the opening of a beautiful photographic exhibit of small subject matter. Nikon’s Small World microphotography exhibit is on a national tour and has made its way to us!

3/23 – Free Family Concert Series with the Camellia Symphony Orchestra – Offered as a public service to the Sacramento region, Camellia Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has been presenting this concert series for over 10 years. Each year they include new artistic collaborations with the local arts community.

Thru 4/16 – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes at the B Street Theater – This will be a rollicking comic adventure not to be missed! Follow the amazing Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson as they trek all over England, meet Charles Darwin, encounter a host of Druids, and match wits with the evil Dr. Moriarty.

Hot Rods and Fast Cars at the California Automobile Museum

 DSC_0069By Heather Crivellone

What little boy doesn’t love “hot rods” and “fast cars”?  Well, my son is no exception…and with his daddy always talking about how he should have been a “race car driver” in a previous life, I knew I had to take him to the California Automobile Museum to check out the historical “hot rods” of the past.  Conveniently located at 2200 Front Street in Downtown Sacramento (near Old Sacramento) – it was easy for us to stop by before heading off to preschool for the day!dsc_0058

To be honest, I was a little skeptical in taking my wild and crazy 4-year-old boy to a museum with vehicles that I knew would be out on display….and possibly too tempting not to touch.  However, with the help of the very kind employees we had a fantastic time “cruising” the cars and even had some stops along the way where my son could hop in take one for a “test drive”.

“Visiting the California Automobile museum is a unique and interesting experience – and that is in large part due to the expansive collection of over 150 vehicles on display. Walking through the exhibits will take visitors past cars from 1885 and all the way through to 2011. It is walk through the history of cars and California culture!”

As you enter the museum, you can choose to take a self-guided tour through the exhibits, but I would highly recommend following the tour led by one of the knowledgeable docents.

Our docent was VERY well-informed and explained everything there was to know about each vehicle on display.  He even got down with the kids and explained how things work in a fun way so that the kids could understand and enjoy the tour!

Unfortunately, the building itself is not climate controlled. So while we were trying to “get out of the house and stay warm”, our plan backfired on us since the museum was quite cold! Knowing this now, next time we go we will dress appropriately (warmer clothes and layers in the winter and cooler clothes in the summer). The museum is open to the public 10:00 am-6:00 pm, 7 days a week. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for students, ages 5 and younger are free.auto museum collage

The museum is always bringing in new displays, offering classes for the auto enthusiast and changing their exhibits. The current exhibit is It’s Electrifying!” Alternative Fuel Vehicles in California” presented by SMUD at the California Automobile Museum opened February 15 and runs through Father’s Day, June 15, 2014. This exhibit is a historical look at the progression of alternative fuel and electric cars produced with California’s trending market in mind.

Upcoming events for the museum include:

“Selling the Dream”- Stories from Northern California early car dealers.  This exhibit will be opening in June.

Third Thursday Nights Out at the Museums- the museum stays open late with free tours and beer and wine sales.  In the summer onths, local food trucks will be on site for dinner purchases.

Second Saturday Tour Series- visit the museum on these days to learn about specific topics and tour the museum.

If you have an automobile enthusiast I highly suggest visiting the museum.  Exhibits are always changing so if it’s been a while, this is a great time to revisit the museum.

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Sign Your Kids up for Summer Day Camp at Soil Born Farms

August 2013 013 - editedWhat’s better than fresh fruit and veggies? How about teaching your children the importance of healthy eating through local, organic means while learning about our impact on the environment? At Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova, their mission is “to create an urban agriculture and education project that empowers youth and adults to discover and participate in a local food system that encourages healthy living, nurtures the environment and grows a sustainable community.”

Located at American River Ranch, next to Hagan Park in Rancho Cordova (2140 Chase Drive), Soil Born Farms has been developing community education programs to teach adults and children all about the importance of organic farming, gardening, and even cooking.

This summer, students entering grades 1 through 12 can attend a unique, fun and educational summer day camp at Soil Born Farms’ 40-acre ranch located along the beautiful American River Parkway.  Soil Born day camps provide a wonderful opportunity for young people to make the connection between food, health and the environment, and learn more about what it takes to bring food from the farm to their table.  For more information, click here.

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Local Running Events for the entire family

imagesBy Heather Crivellone

Sacramento may be considered a runners dream. Everywhere you go- whether it’s the parks downtown, along the scenic river trails, up in the mountainous hills, or just alongside the suburban sidewalks- you will see runners everywhere. It may be our climate, the terrain or just the scenery- but, it seems as if Sacramento is a place where you can just lace up your shoes…and run!   And thousands of people here in Sacramento are still basking in the afterglow after completing the city’s most popular “Shamrock’n Half Marathon” yesterday.  Everywhere you went this weekend, you saw green… not only for St. Patricks Day, but in honor of the famous half marathon that lined the streets of West Sacramento.

Every month in Sacramento you can find some sort of running or walking event.  It could be something crazy as the “Zombie Run” downtown, as colorful as the “Color Run” or as dirty as the “Tough Mudder”.  But one thing is for sure- there is something for everyone and every age!  It’s a great way to teach your children about health and get them excited about exercise.

There are a couple runs/walks that are coming to town that caught my eye for the kids.  The first one is the “Girls on the Go”, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.  ON Sunday, March 30 girls of all ages will meet at Crocker Park to join in a very “pink” run…  this is great for moms and daughters of all ages!

On Saturday, April 5 at Maidu Regional Park in Roseville, join families in support of the STAR Education Family Fun Run.  This is a running event for the whole family!

In Rocklin on April 6, celebrate health at the 11th Annual “Run Rocklin” event.  Choose to run a 5K, 12K, Half Marathon, Kids ¼ mile or Kids 1 miler.

My kids are excited for the event on April 12 in Sacramento- the Mud Factor!  They are signed up to run the Kids Mud Factor…. So, I’m ready to “run” the 1 mile obstacle course through the mud, dirt and grime for the joy of teaching them that fitness can be fun!

And on Sunday, April 13 is the Sacramento Zoo Zoom.  A very popular running event to support the famous Sacramento Zoo.  This will be held in beautiful Land Park and you can choose from a 5K, 10K or a Kids Fun Run.

All of these events support good causes, and if you have caught the “running bug” lately check out our running/walks pages every month…it is updated with local events that you can participate in.  We hope to see you out on the trails and supporting our local charities at these fun events!  Happy Trails!