Cool Things to do Indoors at Sacramento Area Museums, By Alyssa Green
We enjoy some wonderful weather here in Sacramento, don’t we? Most of the year, the days are sunny and pleasantly warm. Summertime, however, does tend to get a little bit hot. While the statistics say that Sacramento’s average temperatures from June through August hover right around 90 degrees…we all know it often gets much hotter, hitting triple digits several days out of the year. In response, we’ve learned to stay cool. With all that Sacramento and it’s surroundings have to offer, it’s really quite easy. The first article of this two-part series focuses on staying cool indoors.
There are some wonderful museums in this family friendly town that cater to kids and families all summer long. Here’s our list of the best area museum in which your family can stay cool and have fun.
California State Railroad Museum (CSRM). Since it’s opening in 1976, this railroad museum has become one of Sacramento’s largest and most popular attractions, having shared California’s railroad history with over a half million visitors. With 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, it’s the perfect place to let kids roam and run around as they check out the 21 restored locomotives and cars throughout the museum, many of which invite visitors to walk through to get a taste of the bygone era of rail travel. When all of the engines and cars have been explored, you’ll want to head upstairs to view the miniature train collection, railroad history artifacts and photos, and see the faces of your little ones light up as they spot the giant Thomas the Train set that they’ll want to play with for hours. When you finally pull your kiddos away from Thomas and friends, don’t forget to stop by the super fun gift shop on your way out where Railroad souvenirs abound in all price ranges. Oh, and have I mentioned that this railroad museum is gloriously air-conditioned? It’s true. It’s the perfect place to spend indoors on a hot Sacramento afternoon. Here are some of the special events happening at the museum this summer.
Amtrak Days – On June 6-7, enjoy FREE admission to the CSRM and explore the Amtrak exhibit train. Learn from an Amtrak representative the benefits of rail travel and why trains matter today. The kids will enjoy stopping off at the Chugginton Kids Depot featuring toy trains and a coloring table.
Diesel Days – On June 20-21 and August 15-16, ride behind WP 913 and SP 6051, two of the museum’s classic streamlined locomotives. Hourly departures, 11am to 4 pm.
All Aboard Storytime – On the first and third Monday of each month, join museum staff as they read aloud railroad-related stories to children. After the stories, families are free to explore the museum.
Crocker Art Museum. Established in 1885, the Crocker Art Museum was the first public museum founded in the Western United States by judge Edwin B. Crocker who converted the family home into a museum. The museum today includes collections of California, European, Asian, African and Oceanic art, as well as special exhibits and a host of educational and art programs for people of all ages. When you bring the kids, make sure to allow plenty of time for them to explore Tot Land and then accompany them on the self-guided, children’s tour, Story Trail as a great first introduction to the world of art.
Wee Wednesdays – The month of June, only. Children ages 3-5, with their parents or caregivers, will meet in Tot Land to begin an a kids-based adventure of the museum. Groups leave at 10:30 am and 11:00 am.
Kids & Company Gallery Adventure – On 6/6, 7/19 and 8/1 kids ages 5 and older (along with a parent or guardian) will go on a fun and education art tour that is sure to pique their interest into the world of art.
Family Friday – Each Friday evening from 6/19 through 8/7, kids and parents can join in the museum courtyard for themed music and art activities the whole family can enjoy. Ok, so this doesn’t actually take place indoors, but since this is an evening event in the shaded museum courtyard, you should be able to stay cool.
Sacramento Children’s Museum (SCM). Just four years old, this museum geared towards kids ages 0-8 is small, but mighty. In it’s 7,000 square feet, children can learn in a variety of ways, at a variety of exhibits. From baby and toddler sensory play, to dress-up, to water play and creative opportunities in the art studio, kids of all ages love this museum. There is even a new exhibit opening up soon. While the museum will be closed June 15-17, don’t fret. It’s closed for the installation of the new Noodle Forest exhibit. In the Noodle Forest, kids will experience a unique sensory experience – navigating through a dense and stimulating textural forest of pool noodles suspended from above. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Here’s some cool things the museum is offering for the summer.
Blue Star Admission – Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Sacramento Children’s Museum is offering FREE admission to the SCM for active duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserves.
Cultural Connections – Each Thursday at 10:30 am. Kids are exposed to a different country each month through a 30 minute class. First country up in June, is Sweden.
Creative Art Class – Fridays at 3:30 pm. Every week, children will get the opportunity to create using recycled materials. This class is included with admission and all materials are supplied. All ages welcome.
Stay tuned for How to Stay Cool During a Sacramento Summer, Part 2: Staying Cool in the Sacramento Outdoors. Meanwhile, for more information on summer events happening at many other Sacramento Museums, click here.