Family Friendly Events to Ring in the New Year!

imagesBy Heather Crivellone

The Holiday excitement is over- the presents have been unwrapped and put away and the kids are still buzzing with post holiday excitement. Now it’s on to the next sha-bang, New Years! I’m sure everyone is frantically eating the last of the Christmas cookies, making their New Years Resolutions and wondering if those resolutions will actually “stick” this year. If this is the year that you are planning on losing weight, exercising more, organizing more or whatever you plan to resolve to do- I wish you good luck on all of them.

But before the New Year begins- we still have one last “hoorah”, New Years Eve. If you are trying to find something fun to do with your family- since the kids (or yourself) may or may not stay up until midnight to watch the ball fall and ring in the New Year, I have a few options around town that may be just what you are looking for!

Noon Years Eve Festival-.  An event that everyone can stay awake for!  From 10am-2pm, join others at the Crocker Art Museum and “count down” to the new year at noon, while learning about New Years Eve traditions from around the world.  Enjoy live music, entertainment and more at this family friendly event.

Who Year Party at the Sacramento Children’s Museum: Kids can celebrate the New Year as the clock strikes midnight in various countries throughout the world.  There will be craft activities, bubble-wrap stomp, face painting, and more.  Admission is $7 and this event is 9am-5pm.

Old Sacramento New Years Eve Sky Spectacular.  This is free family fun event to ring in the New Year with Fireworks, entertainment and fun.  Beginning at 6pm, the family can enjoy live music, entertainment, vendors, refreshments and of course the firework spectacular.  There will be two fireworks displays one at 9pm and again at 12am.

New Year’s Eve Blackout Skate: Roller King in Roseville hosts a canned food drive to benefit the Salvation Army. $10, plus canned food items. $20 without donation.  There will be refreshments, games and prizes…and of course, skating the night away! The fun begins at 7 p.m.

New Year’s Eve All-Night Skate: Skate into 2015 at Foothill Skate on Auburn Blvd in Sacramento. The party will begin at 7 p.m. New Year’s Eve and will last until 6 a.m. New Year’s Day. Skaters receive admission, skate rental, hot dog, nachos and a drink. Noisemakers, games, prizes and a balloon shower at midnight. $25 Admission.

So however you plan to spend your New Years, I wish you a very safe a happy holiday and cheers to you and your family and all those resolutions that are about to be made!




Weekend Family Fun

PicMonkey Collage

There’s all kinds of fun activities going on this last weekend before Christmas. There’s the Sacrament Ballet’s Nutcracker, Kids’ Camps at the Sacramento Zoo and Bradshaw Animal Shelter, Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town and much more!

12/18 – 12/21 – Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town – Celebrate the holiday season at Fairytale Town! The storybook park will be trimmed with festive decor and lit up with a dazzling display of lights, starting at dusk. Enjoy hands-on craft activities, holiday vendors, and more at this family holiday event.

12/18 – 12/21 – 26th Annual Gingerbread Holiday: Gingerbread Houses – Come and see dozens of sweet confections on display at the 26th Annual Gingerbread Holiday gingerbread house display. There will be houses, mansions, shacks and other gingerbread structures created by school children, families, bakery academy students and adults. Entries are made of spicy gingerbread, cookies, candies and imagination! Vote for your favorite entry!

12/19 – 12/21 – The Nutcracker – Best-known and most beloved of all Sacramento Ballet productions, Ron Cunningham’s The Nutcracker has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people. The images of young Clara battling the Giant Mouse King, being saved by her Nutcracker Prince, and then journeying to the magical Snowflake Forest and Kingdom of the Sweets have become a part of our culture.

12/20 – Playing with Programming at the Discovery Museum – What do animation and Legos have in common? They are both great ways to introduce the idea of programming to children. Build a robot with Lego WeDo and program it with the accompanying software. Finish off the day by making a simple animation using MIT’s Scratch software.

12/20 – Bradshaw Animal Shelter Kids Camp – Bradshaw Animal Shelter is offering humane education camps for children Ages 8-12! Kids will get an exclusive shelter tour, hold lovable animals, make fun toys, talk to our veterinarian and an animal care officer (and get to hop in the truck!), play games, and more, all while making new friends and learning about the care of animals in our community.

12/20 – Tisssss The Season at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Have you been missing the cold-blooded critters that have been hiding out this winter? Come in to see and learn all about the Nature Centers reptiles that are awake and warm!

12/20 – Kancelled Krismas Karol – Santa’s reindeer decide to take a little break before the big flight by vacationing in Hawaii. Grass skirts, flower leis, and luaus sound like just the solution to pre-Christmas stress. That is, until the nefarious Christopher Crumm shows up and hatches a plan to say Aloha to Christmas.

12/20 – 12/21 – Holiday Scents at the Discovery Museum – You are familiar with the sights and sounds of the holidays, but this weekend we are focusing on the scents! Sniff out the smell stations to test your nose on some mystery holiday aromas. Kids craft a scented sachet to take home or give as a gift!

12/21 – Jingle All the Way – This concert by Sacramento Master Singers is a family event, perfect for young children. Hosted by head-elf Hildegarde, Mrs. Claus, and others, the singers will perform many songs kids are sure to know, and they’re invited to sing and play along. Celtic duo, Men of Worth will bring their special brand of whimsy. Join for this fantastic event for youngsters, packed with fun and excitement– including a surprise visit from Santa!

12/21 – Winter Mini Camp at the Sacramento Zoo – Winter at the Zoo is unlike any other time of year. Whether you love our summer camp or are new to the zoo and want to try a program, you will love this one day mini-camp! Campers will explore the zoo, learn about the animals, participate in games and crafts, and even get up close and personal with some of our Animal Ambassadors.

12/21 – A Muppet Christmas Carol – Come one, come all! Take a break from the frantic holiday shopping season and join in watching a modern Christmas classic in an elegant, historic setting. Charles Dickens’ timeless tale has seldom been approached with such silliness, or with such heartfelt artistic abandon. In addition to the feature attraction, Santa himself will be flying in from the North Pole to the lobby to visit with children before the movie. Holiday treats and music will be available for enjoyment, and there will be a toy and food drive to help those less fortunate in Sacramento.

12/21 – Sunday Crafternoon @ The Crocker Art Museum – This monthly gathering will inspire your family’s creativity and help you enjoy quality time together. Make simple crafts that celebrate the season, using a variety of beautiful materials.


Holiday Lights Around the City!

imagesBy Heather Crivellone

Every family has their own traditions of some sort. And this time of year, moms all over the city are dragging their kids to events and doing activities to make their traditions “stick”.

Growing up, I can always remember “Candy Cane Lane”. It was the one night of the of year that my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all got together to drink hot cocoa, stay up late and walk down the cold (and sometimes rainy) court.

Year after year we have been going to view this spectacular light show that this court has to offer. Now, I call it “Candy Cane Lane”….however, it wasn’t until just recently that I realized that it’s actually just Dovewood Court in Orangevale. But once you take a walk down this memorable street and see all the lights and holiday trimmings, you will also be transformed into another world… hence the name “Candy Cane Lane” that I have somehow nicknamed and it’s just stuck with my family.

This street really has everything… Snoopy, the Grinch, and even a tribute to summertime with some Buffet and Margaritas!

As a kid, I remember walking down this street in amazement to see all the lights and displays. And as an adult, I’m even more amazed that the entire street can all pull together to make something so magical and amazing for everyone to see.

They have taken the simple “string of lights” to another level and have seriously transformed their homes into a winter wonderland. And, to make everything even more wonderful, they continue to collect cans of food to donate to Food for Families. These neighbors truly show everyone the real meaning of the holiday season!

Another area in Sacramento where the community has come together to put on a beautiful light display for the public is downtown in the “Fab 40’s”.  The homes in this area are worth the drive to just view their fantastic landscaping and architecture.  But every year, they come together to give the neighborhood a light display that really helps put everyone in the holiday spirit!  You can walk down any of these streets—but I would suggest beginning on 48th Street and Folsom Boulevard.

North of Sacramento in Rocklin, the community on Pebble Creek Drive has also put together a wonderful light show.  Kids will love this area as almost every house has characters of one of their favorite Disney movies.  My kids were especially excited when they spotted Olaf!

South of Sacramento in Elk Grove, the house not be missed is on Point Pleasant Road.  Another spectacular show to get you into the holiday spirit.

You can also find a detailed list of each area at this website.

A few tips for viewing the light shows around town. Dress warmly and prepare to walk (weather permitting of course), as some of these streets are very popular and sitting in a traffic jam with antsy children is NOT my idea of a good time.   Bring hot cocoa for sipping and some canned foods for donating.  Most of these areas are accepting donations this holiday season.  And most  important, cherish these precious moments with your loved ones.   Happy Holidays!

Weekend Family Fun

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With the holidays just around the corner, you’ll find plenty of festive activities and events for the family. How about a visit to Santa’s workshop? Or watching zoo animals open up Christmas gifts? There’s picture-taking with Santa at Harley-Davidson Sacramento and even snowfall at Fairytale Town.  Take a look at many other fun Sacramento holiday events.  Have a great weekend!

12/11 – 12/13 – Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town – Celebrate the holiday season at Fairytale Town! The storybook park will be trimmed with festive décor and lit up with a dazzling display of lights, starting at dusk. Enjoy hands-on craft activities, holiday vendors, and more at this family holiday event.

12/11 – 12/13 – Save the Frogs with Michael Starkey at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Amphibian populations around the world are declining at an alarming rate. Nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. Up to 200 species have disappeared since 1979. Why is this happening? Save The Frogs! Advisory Committee Chairman Michael Starkey will share photos of frogs and other amphibians from around the world, explain what is causing the crisis, and how you can help out. Then join Michael for a field study at the pond– a frog habitat– and a walk through the nature preserve, continuing discussion of the Amphibian Extinction Crisis.

12/12 – Nutcracker: The Ugly Sweater Night – Ditch the tux and gown and don your ugliest holiday sweater to this showing of The Nutcracker This is a chance to show of your true holiday spirit (or maybe the spirit of a remembered elementary school teacher). Attendees are encouraged to wear their ugliest holiday sweaters (extra points will be given for sweaters that are homemade).

12/12 – 12/14 – 8th Annual Elk Grove Nativity Festival – Come see hundreds of multi-cultural creches, watch local children re-enact the Nativity, hear musical talents from our diverse community, and participate in a scavenger hunt as you wander the Nativity Festival.

12/13 – Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo – Bundle up the family and come enjoy the holiday season at the Zoo! Bring a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item and receive a $1 off your Zoo admission. The U.S. Marine Corps will be taking your toy donations for Toys for Tots and food donations go the Sacramento Food Bank and families in need. Animals will get special treats delivered to them and staff will be on hand to share facts, secrets and answer your questions.

12/13 – Santa’s Workshop Open House – Join for holiday fun arts and crafts! Create holiday lanterns, patterned wrapping paper, paper snowflakes, garlands, and ornaments. Move from station to station making holiday masterpieces and enjoying a festive afternoon at Verge.

12/13 – Pictures with Santa at Harley-Davidson of Sacramento – Santa Claus is coming to Harely-Davidson of Sacramento! Avoid the long lines in the mall and take your complimentary picture with Santa! Guests can also enjoy complimentary gift wrapping with any purchases made (while supplies last).

12/13 – Christmas Memories at the Mansion – On Saturday the community is invited to tour the majestic Governor’s Mansion! Delight in elaborate holiday decorations, festive live holiday music, children’s activities, captivating storytellers and docents in period attire sharing holiday-related stories of past governors and their families. To add to the festivities, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make special visits to the Mansion to meet excited little ones and be available for holiday photographs.

12/13 – Sacramento’s First Kings: King Salmon at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – We’re not talking basketball here, we’re talking fish! Join a Naturalist for a walk to the salmon “arena” and see Sacramento’s first Kings! Space is limited though sign-ups can be taken the day of the event as space permits. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.

12/13 – Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas at Sutters Fort – Families are encouraged to visit the Fort to step back in time to holidays past and enjoy docents in period attire as they demonstrate a variety of early holiday traditions and cultural activities similar to what early emigrants did in the 1840s. Entertaining vignettes will be set up that showcase a few of the diverse holiday scenes that will include food, music, decorations, and other holiday traditions.

Plus, the Fort will be celebrating a 19th century holiday with toys on display from that era for viewing and a captivating storyteller will be on hand to share stories about what Christmas was like in 1848. Fort visitors can also participate in a number of special hands-on activities such as craft holiday ornaments — that include snowflakes, corn husk angels and bird nests – plus decorate the Christmas tree, create popcorn chains, make holiday cards with nib (or “dip”) pens and colored ink, grind raw wheat into “Christmas flour,” sing Christmas carols with Fort musicians and more!

12/13 – Victorian Holiday Ball and Pony Express Ride – Come one, come all to a traditional and FREE Victorian Holiday Ball complete with music and dancing! Guests are welcome to enjoy the festivities and can learn the fashionable dance steps of the time and Father Christmas will even make an appearance during the celebration. Also, the Pony Express will ride into town to collect the mail as part of their day-long ride through Sacramento. And, cards and letters deposited in the Pony Express mailbox at the Sacramento History Museum will be stamped and delivered to loved ones across the country!

12/13 – 12/14 – All I Want for Christmas is Clean Air at the Discovery Museum – Join Breathe California as they explore Sacramento’s air quality. Join for the family feature to learn how you and your family can keep your holidays green. Children are invited to participate in a helping hands craft activity to take home.

12/14 – Gifts from Mother Earth at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Learn the skill of making abalone necklaces to create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry from Mother Earth. Keep your gift for yourself or share it with someone special! Space is limited though sign-ups may be taken the day of the event as space permits. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.

Celebrate the Season in Auburn at the 28th Annual Old Town Country Christmas

untitledBy Heather Crivellone

If you are looking for a fun holiday activity this weekend…(one that will put you in the spirit, and maybe get some of those unique gifts purchased and checked off your list), then take a trip up to Auburn for their 28th Annual Old Town Country Christmas. If you haven’t been to Auburn in a while, then this is the time to do it. About an hour outside of Sacramento, you will be in the heart of Gold Country and in Old Town Auburn. With “mom and pop” shops, restaurants and antique shops, you are sure to find the perfect gift for someone on your list.

This annual festival will run on Saturday, December 13 and again on Saturday 20th. From 5-9pm the streets of Old Town will be lined with crafters and artists selling their hand-made products. Food, entertainment and even a visit from Jolly Old St. Nick will be available for pictures.

This is a rain or shine event, so bring your umbrellas in case it’s wet!

There will also be a free shuttle from the Gold Country Fairgrounds (Auburn Folsom Road) that will be running from 5pm-9pm.

This will be an event that will get you into the holiday spirit with the feeling of Old Town nostalgia. So grab some hot cocoa and make your ways through the streets of Old Town Auburn this weekend!

Enjoy a Holiday Show at one of our Many Local Community Theaters.

untitledBy Heather Crivellone

One of things I love the most about our wonderful city, is that we have so many opportunities to expose our children to the performing arts.  Between community theaters, art galleries, 2nd Saturday art walks and such, there is no excuse to not have our children exposed to the wonderful world of art.

This month, with the holidays upon us we have a wide selection of festive plays and musicals to put us in the holiday spirit.  I have compiled a list of some local shows that you can enjoy with (or without) your kids.  These are sure to put a smile on your face, a “jingle in your step” and definitely put you in the mood for some holiday cheer!

A Charlie Brown Christmas– a classic for all ages to help us remember the true meaning of Christmas.  Showing December 6 and 20 at 11am and 2pm at the Roseville Theatre Arts Academy.  Tickets are $10 at the door.

It’s a Wonderful Life the Musical (an all-time classic) is playing through December 28 at the Sacramento Theatre Company.  Check their website for prices to this show.  And if you don’t want to see the “live” version- on Monday, December 22 from 6-9, STC is hosting a screening of the Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life.  Purchase of these tickets can be done at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office.

Rocklin Community Center is hosting “A Christmas Story- The Musical”.  Everyone’s favorite about little Ralphie and his wish for the Red Ryder BB gun. Tickets are $10-$15 and will be showing December 5- 22 on Friday, Saturday evenings at 7:30 and Sundays at 2.

Chautauqua Playhouse in Carmichael has a storybook theater production of  “Kancelled Krismas Karol” on December 6, 13, 20.  Admission is $7.

Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom also has a couple of holiday shows for the month. A Holiday in the Hills is December 6-23 and A Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tail is showing December 13-28.

The classic of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol will be showing through December 14 and presented by the Sacramento City Theatre.

And of course, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a showing of the Nutcracker.

There are several theaters around town that is showing this classic tale and here are some of them:
Placer Theatre Ballet in Auburn,  Sacramento Ballet, Capitol Ballet, and Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet Theatre at the Harris Center in Folsom.

This is just a small sample of some of the great family shows out there in our community.

Have fun and Happy Holidays!