Top 5 Family Friendly Activities in Folsom


When is the last time you visited historic Folsom and enjoyed downtown Sutter Street?  If you are new to the area, visiting Sacramento or just haven’t ventured into Folsom lately, I highly suggest you pack up the kids and make a day trip out of it.

Recently, we decided to visit historic Folsom for lunch, and we were pleasantly surprised by all the fun things we could do for the day with young children.

Folsom is located 35 minutes from Downtown Sacramento, and I’m sure everyone is familiar with what puts Folsom on the map…Johnny Cash and the Folsom prison!  But, if country western music isn’t your thing, no worries. There are plenty of activities (aside from the prison) to keep your family busy.

I have compiled a list of my top 5 things to do in Folsom if you have children:

  1. Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park.  A visit to this famous powerhouse will take you on a tour of California’s history.  Built in 1895, this is one of the oldest hydroelectric facilities in the world! If you have little engineers or anyone who enjoys history, this is a great walking tour.   The two-story brick and granite Powerhouse looks similar to what it did in 1895 and you are free to wander around and enjoy the grounds along with the museum where you can learn how the powerhouse generates energy.   Located at 9980 Greenback Lane, Folsom.  This is a nice tour that you can walk to from historic Folsom.
  2. Take a walk down historic Sutter Street and enjoy some “window shopping” and have a sweet treat or lunch.  Our favorite stops are pizza at Chicago Fire and a sweet treat at Karen’s Bakery or Snook’s Chocolate Factory.   You can always catch a live performance at the Sutter Street Theater.   On Saturdays and Sundays they have their family performances.  Now showing through August 21 is “All Shook Up – the musical”.  These are great performances that kids of all ages will enjoy
  3. If you want to get into the “great outdoors” and live on the “wild side” then take a visit to the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary.   Located at 403 Stafford Street in Folsom, the zoo is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am- 3pm.   This sanctuary offers a chance to see some animals up close that you don’t normally get to see at the other zoo’s in the area:  Bears, Mountain Lions and Coyotes for example.  Animals that may be in our backyard but we wouldn’t dare get close enough to see.   The peaceful setting of this zoo makes it a wonderful morning trip for families… and, they have a park next to the zoo that keeps the kids busy all day!
  4. Busy Kidz, located at 118 Woodmere Road in Folsom is an indoor play city (in miniature) and is designed to encourage children ages 10 and under to explore the most beloved part of childhood:  Pretend Play! If you have younger children and it’s a hot summer day…this is the place to go….  They can play, pretend and have a ball at this indoor, interactive children’s museum.   Each building in the pretend city has a certain theme – restaurant, supermarket, doctor’s office, library, school, etc.  Kids can literally play all day at this unique play house.
  5. If you want to get your kids out and active, then look no further than the Folsom Bike Trail.   Just grab your bikes, some water and sun block and hit the trails from historic Folsom and ride as far as you can see…. Never know, you may end up as far as Old Sacramento if you have the stamina.   Lake Natoma is along the way and you can always stop and rent a kayak to cool off.

So, there you have it. My top 5 activities to keep you and your family busy in Folsom.   You can also visit the Folsom Prison museum, take a swim in Folsom Lake and shop all day at the Folsom Premium outlets.   Whatever you do, enjoy your time in this historic city.

By Heather Crivellone


Ice Cream-filled Donuts: The Newest Summertime Treat in Sacramento

Ice Cream DonutIce cream is a staple summertime treat for kids of all ages, and recently I took my kids to enjoy the newest hot spot for the cold, sweet dessert.  The Parlor on Eureka Rd. in Roseville serves ice cream-filled donuts – this takes ice cream desserts to a whole new level! It was an experience for my taste buds. Two of the sweetest treats combined together into an ice cream-filled fried puff…and oh my, was it delicious!

We didn’t quite know what to expect when we first arrived and were surprised at the options. I was thinking they would have only a couple of flavors to choose from, but much to my delight,  the flavors offered were exotic (not the typically chocolate and vanilla) and you could choose between a glazed or plain to be filled with your choice of ice cream. It was a hard decision between Nutella and Green Tea,  but we agreed on Birthday Cake inside a glazed donut.   We could choose a variety of toppings along with whipped cream to finish off this incredible sweet treat. My kids instantly had a sugar rush and it was the perfect end to a 100-degree day.

The Parlor has two locations: 1490 Eureka Rd. #170 in Roseville and  2620 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento

If you aren’t looking for something so glutenous, and just want to enjoy a good old-fashioned scoop, then visit one of the local favorites:
Vic’s Ice Cream in Land Park (3199 Riverside Ave)

Gunthers Ice Cream, located at 2801 Franklin Blvd. in Sacramento.

Leatherby’s Family Creamery, with 3 locations in the Sacramento area (2333 Arden Way, Sacramento, 7910 Antelope Rd. Citrus Heights and 8238 Laguna Blvd. Elk Grove).

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor– 1625 Watt Avenue in Sacramento.

And if you need extra reason to treat yourself to some good ice cream this summer, July is National Ice Cream Month –  so, go out and treat your family to a cone, shake, sundae or an ice cream filled donut…isn’t that what summer is all about?

By Heather Crivellone

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Wake Island Aqua Park: The Largest Floating Water Park in Sacramento


By Heather Crivellone

Are your kids tired of swimming in the backyard pool and looking for more of an adventure?  If so, then check out the largest floating Aqua Park located right here in Sacramento!  Wake Island Aqua Park brings fun and excitement to our 100 degree days!  Located at 7633 Locust Rd, in Pleasant Grove (approximately 15 minutes from Downtown Sacramento) this water park will give kids and families of all ages the thrill of their summer.

Try your luck on the floating obstacle courses, have some fun jumping around on the huge floating playground, or just relax on the sandy beach, This place has it all!

My kids and I visited Wake Island with a group of friends to go paddle boarding and I was amazed at all the choices they had available for renting:

Cable (boatless) wakeboards, stand up paddleboards, pedal boats, floating obstacle course, floating “hamster wheels,” power paddlers, swimming beach and more!

Entry into Wake Island is free, you just pay for the rentals you would like to use.   My kids did the Stand up Paddle boards for $20 an hour.   If you haven’t tried paddle boarding yet, you really should – its great fun and can be a good workout!   We enjoyed an hour of paddle boarding, raced on the pedal boats,  had lunch at the Beach Hut Deli (on site) and spent some time hanging out on the beach relaxing… it was a great summer afternoon!

So if you are looking for something fun and adventurous to do with your family, check out Wake Island Aqua Park.  They also offer summer camps, wakeboard lessons and it’s a great venue for a summer birthday party.

Make sure you pack your beach towels and plenty of sunscreen for this fun day out!




The Best of the California State Fair with Kids

The California State Fair is upon us – the much-anticipated summer event begins tomorrow, July 8 and runs through Sunday, July 24, 2016. That’s over two weeks of food and fun with the family. If you would like to know the ins and outs of getting the most out of the fair with the kids, take a look at this blog post over at Visit Sacramento: The Best Things to do with Kids at the California State Fair in Sacramento. Meanwhile, here’s some fair photos to get your mouth-watering. Enjoy!

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Summer Fun on the Water at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center


If you are looking for a place to cool down and have some fun while participating in a variety of water sports, the Sacramento State Aquatic Center is the place for you. From canoes and kayaks, to stand up paddleboards, paddleboats, hydrobikes and much more, the Aquatic Center has it all. Don’t let the name fool you, the Sacramento State Aquatic Center is not located on the Sac State Campus. Rather, it is located on Lake Natoma, near the Hazel exit off of Highway 50. This spot really is a hidden gem where you can enjoy some relaxation time, entertain your kids, and get your exercise in all at the same time.

We recently visited the Aquatic Center with our kids on one sunny, triple-digit afternoon. We were pleasantly surprised to find convenient parking (for a $10 fee) and we walked right up to pick our rentals, as there was no one else in line. We decided on a stand up paddleboard and a canoe. Life jackets are provided and anyone who is on the equipment is required to wear one.

Our kids enjoyed the ride across the lake as we picked a spot under the shade to set up our picnic on the beach. Next, the kids immediately went back into the cool water, swam and splashed around for a bit. My husband and I took turns shuttling the smaller kids around the lake on the canoe and paddleboard. It really was such a relaxing time on the water, where both beginners and more experienced people navigate the lake. We saw several people swimming and there were plenty of spots around the lake to just hang out. I also gave our oldest child a chance to learn to how to steer the paddleboard, while I handed her the paddle for a short ride. She learned something new and we both got a great core workout!

One of the great things about the aquatic center is that the rental rates are very affordable at $10/hour for a stand up paddle board (I about died when I rented a paddleboard in Maui for five times as much!) and $15/hour for a canoe. They also give you a 15 minute grace period to get in and out of the water. Believe me, one or two hours on a paddleboard or in a canoe feels a lot longer than it actually is! We definitely felt as though we got our money’s worth.

I’ve also heard amazing things about the Aquatic Center’s summer camps! They offer camps for kids ages 7-17 that provide instruction in sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, jet skiing, rowing, stand-up paddling, white water rafting, and motor boat safety. These camps are offered all 10 weeks of summer. For more information about the summer camps, click here. We plan on enrolling our older kids in at least one of the camps this summer and we’ll be back for another day on the lake to beat the heat.

By Kara Keister

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Top 5 Farmers Markets to Visit for Fresh Fruits and Veggies in Sacramento

PicMonkey CollageSacramento is America’s Farm-to-Fork capital.  We are truly blessed to live in an area that focuses and produces the largest amount of agriculture in the nation. Did you know that 70 percent of our region’s land is either agricultural, forest or open space?  We are also home to close to 8,000 acres of boutique farms that provides produce, cheese, wine and other great products to more than 50 regional farmers markets in the area. As a mom and a self-proclaimed “foodie”, I find these facts extremely exciting and I love taking advantage of the fresh, local goods for my family.

One of our summer traditions is to visit as many local Farmers Markets as we can.  I love taking my children to try out samples of fresh fruits and veggies and allowing them to pick out the produce for the week. The atmosphere is always upbeat and family friendly at the markets and they always come home with a smile on their faces!

Luckily for us, we have many markets to choose from in Sacramento… And for some, it’s more of a fun family outing than just going to shop for produce.  Some markets even have Food Trucks on site, so you can purchase dinner and make it a fun-filled evening out.

Here is a list of 5 top local farmers markets that you can enjoy with your family:

  1. Downtown Sacramento Sunday Market: Sacramento’s famous Sunday farmers market under the freeway is the city’s oldest and one of the state’s largest farmers markets. This is by far one of the best markets around! Sundays, 8am-12pm at  8th and W Streets, next to Southside Park and shaded under the freeway.
  2. Midtown Farmers Market:  one of the largest in the region with over 70 vendors weekly.   Fresh fruit, veggies, food vendors everything you need for a great morning out.   Saturdays 8am-1pm year round  Located at the corner of 20th and J streets.
  3. Davis Farmers Market:  Ranked 2nd in USA Today’s 2012 lists of great farmers markets to visit, and truly an event not to be missed.  Year round on Saturday mornings from 8am-1pm at Central Park in Davis, 4th and C streets.   Local vendors, live entertainment, food vendors and more.
  4. West Sacramento Farmers Market: West Sacramento holds their farmers market on Thursday nights from 4:30-Dusk, on West Capitol Avenue and Jefferson boulevard.  Local vendors, food trucks, live entertainment, wine tasting and more.
  5. Old Town Auburn Farmers Market: Auburn hosts a year-round market on Saturdays from 8am-12pm.  Local vendors, entertainment and more.  Located in Old Town off of Auburn-Folsom Road and Lincoln Way.

So take the family out for some healthy taste testing and enjoy our region’s local goods at one of our local markets.
And if you purchase an abundance of peaches, here is my favorite recipe for peach bars:


Peach Crumb Bars

Yield: 24 bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes



For the Dough: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Filling: 5 cups diced or sliced peaches (about 7 peaches, peeled) 2 tablespoons lemon juice ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  2. For the Dough: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, and then the egg. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan. Place the pan and the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
  3. For the Filling: Place the diced (or sliced) peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the peaches and mix gently.
  4. Spread the peach mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach layer.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

(Dough recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen; Filling recipe from Allrecipes)


By Heather Crivellone