The 19th Annual Sacramento Museum Day is this Saturday…Here are Some Tips on How to Enjoy the Day

sam_museumday_2017If you are looking for something fun and free to do this weekend, then check out the 19th annual Sacramento Museum Day on Saturday, February 4, 2017. With over 25 local museums and attractions participating, the community can get into these local sites for free or at a reduced price.

This annual event is sponsored by Sutter Health and Bank of America.   Participating museums will offer this special day from 10am-5pm.  Most of the museums will be offering free admission, and two destinations (the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town) will offer half priced admission.

Participating museums are anticipating high volume of visitors, so plan your day accordingly.   Make sure you map out the museums you want to visit, hitting the “most popular” ones first thing in the morning.

Here are some of the participating locations you can visit:

Sacramento History Museum
The Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum
California Agriculture Museum
Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Roseville Utility Exploration Center
Sacramento Children’s Museum
California Agriculture Museum
California Railroad Museum
Sutter’s Fort

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These are some of my top choices for hands on experiences with the kids- but check out the complete list of museums here.

A few tips to before you begin: 

  1. Start early and map out your route.   Choose just a couple that you would like to visit and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each museum.
  2. Bring snacks for the road. You don’t want any “meltdowns” from the young ones, so keep them nourished!
  3.  Choose something new. Many local residents have already visited the most popular museums such as the Railroad Museum, Children’s Museum and Fairytale Town.  Pick a new destination to explore.  I would suggest the California Agriculture Museum, Maidu Roseville Utility Center or the California Museum (yes- these are in different locations, so hitting all three would be nearly impossible).
  4. Have patience… this day can get very busy, please be courteous and remember everyone is out trying to enjoy and learn something new with their children.
  5.  Have fun!

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Top Family Friendly Restaurants in Sacramento

Many families come to Sacramento on business, stop in for dinner on their way to the mountains or just live in our wonderful capital city.  Whether you are visiting Sacramento from out of town, live in the area or are just passing through, we have plenty of family friendly eateries to choose from so you can get those kids fed and back on the road.

Downtown has so many wonderful options to choose from, especially if you are not wanting to go to a typical chain restaurant.  Of course, when you think of “kid friendly”, some may instantly have nightmares of a giant mouse, loud video games and screaming kids.  We do have those more entertainment options in the area, but if you are searching for a nice evening out, we have you covered!

Downtown Sacramento offers a wide variety of options.  From farm-to-fork local eateries, to quick order-and-go stops, to the typical chain restaurant.  I took a poll of the best family friendly restaurants in the area and this is the list we came up with.  You may have your own family favorite, and please feel free to let us know where and why.

My family likes to try new places, so we have been to several on this list. But there are a few are new spots we are excited to try. So, next time you are in the area or you just want a break from cooking, check out one of our local hot spots:

For those who love Italian:

 Paesanos in Midtown has been voted as the best Italian Pizzerias!  Located at 1806 Capital Avenue, they have a menu that is sure to please everyone in your family. Pizzas, pastas, salads and they even have a gluten-free menu for those with diet restrictions.   The last time we were there, my kids were given a ball of dough to play with… they were kept busy and happy until the food came!

Old Spaghetti Factory in Downtown and Roseville is a unique dining experience.  Kids will feel comfortable with the colorful decor and can even request to sit in one of the old trolley cars!  My kids always find something on the menu to keep them satisfied and the price is perfect for families.

Pizza Rock

Pizza Rock located at 1020 K Street in downtown Sacramento is definitely a place to visit if you haven’t been there.  With a large semi truck hanging from the ceiling, a loud and fun atmosphere to distract the kids and great food… it’s worth searching for parking downtown to have dinner here.   They are one of the few restaurants that I have found that really believe in getting the kids dirty in the kitchen.  Every first Saturday of the month, they host Kids in the Kitchen where kids can make their own pizzas and the money raised goes towards charity.  What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

California Pizza Kitchen has several locations throughout the Sacramento area.  They are very kid friendly, have great food and offer a selection of gluten-free menu items to keep those with specific restrictions enjoying dining out with the family.

Skipolinis, located at 6600 Lonetree Blvd in Rocklin is definitely a kid friendly option!  They have an indoor play area that the kids can climb through while waiting for the meal.  Plenty of televisions playing all the latest sports games and they have a great menu to choose from.  This is one of our favorites when we want to go out for a “family night” but would rather have more “adult” time talking while the kids play.

For those who prefer good old American fare, we have plenty of options:

Red Robin, yes, it’s a chain restaurant but they definitely are kid friendly, have plenty of menu items to choose from and have always been fast in getting us in and out when we are in a hurry.   Kids love the decor and who can’t complain when you are served bottomless French fries?

Chili’s, yes another chain that has several locations throughout the Sacramento valley, but they offer one thing that not all the other restaurants do… kiosks at the tables, loaded with games to keep the kids busy! Even if you don’t want your kid to sit and stare at a screen all dinner long, it is nice to have that option until the food arrives.

Empress Tavern located at 1013 K Street in Downtown Sacramento.  This may seem more like a date night spot, than a family friendly location, but don’t let the appearance fool you.  They are very family friendly and offer a menu that can be served family style with some of the freshest ingredients around.

Now, if you have more adventurous palates, then check out some of our local sushi and seafood restaurants. My 7-year-old is always begging to go to sushi – it’s his favorite meal!  We have tried many restaurants in the area and have found a couple that really are our favorites in terms of freshness and cost to take out a family of four.

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Mikuni can be argued as the best sushi is Sacramento.  We love the atmosphere and that they are very kid friendly (as long as you don’t go at 8pm on a Saturday night). They offer a kids menu, chop stick “helpers” and gave my kids fun goodies to play with at the table even though my son doesn’t order off the kids meal anymore. While it can get expensive, the food is great!

Raku is an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant located in West Sacramento and Rocklin.   The thought of all-you-can-eat sushi seemed a bit disgusting to me at first, but once we tried it, we were hooked! Great prices for the amount you get, the fish is fresh and the rolls were tasty.  Kids were in heaven when we told them they could continue to order rolls after they thought they were done.  They have special pricing for kids vs. Adults, so it’s worth checking out if you have a sushi loving family.

There are so many more dining options than this in our wonderful city, but I’m hoping this gives you an idea of some new places to visit with your family. Bon Appétit!

By Heather Crivellone

 

Monster Jam Triple Threat: A Totally New Experience

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Never would I have imagined that my four-year-old son’s monster trucks could be brought to life to such a degree, and within such a spectacular venue. We attended the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series at Sacramento’s new Golden 1 Center last night not really knowing what to expect, as my family had never attended anything like this before. Luckily we came prepared with earplugs, which proved to be a wise choice because these machines were loud! Loud and fun!

We were introduced to eight monster trucks and their premier athletes right from the start. Blasting into the arena onto a dirt track with such magnitude and velocity, I honestly forgot where I was. My kids were equally as mesmerized, watching these gigantic machines flipping up into the air, doing wheelies, doughnuts, and landing many times upside down or in other death-defying positions.

My son’s favorites were of course all of them, but Scooby Doo and Grave Digger were the most talked about. My daughter loved Monster Dalmatian, who’s driver is female.

Having seats that were close was amazing because we could see and feel the momentum of each truck, not to mention seeing the exhaust and dirt made us feel like we were part of the show.

Getting to see the athletes after the show was also very thrilling. Families lined up to meet them were stretched half way around the arena. I would say a majority of the audience were families with children. I was surprised to see almost as many girls as boys, all equipped with earplugs of course…and with eyes filled with anticipation, excitement, and a respect for athletes who challenge themselves and push limits!

Monster Jam Triple Threat Series is currently at Golden 1 Center through Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. You can purchase tickets here.

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By SacramentoKids.net guest writer Annie Fairburn

Five Reasons to Visit to your Favorite Sacramento Museum this Winter

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Wintertime in Sacramento is a great time to visit your favorite area museum. Here’s what’s new this winter:

1. Fast Tracks: The World of High Speed Rail at the California State Railroad Museum. If you’re a Sacramento area resident, there’s no doubt you’ve been to the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento countless times. But, have you been there lately? If not, you’ll probably want to head on over to see the Fast Tracks exhibit that was installed in late 2015 on the 2nd floor of the museum. The exhibit gives visitors a glimpse into the state’s rail future, literally. You’ll have the chance to step inside the cockpit of a series E5 Shinkansen bullet-train simulator that was imported from Japan and experience traveling at a high speed of 150 mph using interactive controls and a digital projector. Who wouldn’t love stepping inside this train of the future? Note: the museum’s website states that this exhibit is there “at least through the end of 2016”, and a call to the museum confirmed that it is still open as of January 2017…but if you really want to see Fast Tracks, it wouldn’t hurt to get over there soon!

2. Hands on History: Trappers, Traders and Treaties at Sutter’s Fort. Visitors to the fort on Saturday, Jan. 21 will step into the past through reenactments of the bustling life at Sacramento’s first settlement. Learn how animal trappers in the 1840s lived, worked and traded. Explore life at the fort for traders by examining pelts, creating documents using quill and ink, stringing trade beads, watching how flint and steel can start a fire and witness the firing of Sutter’s Russian-made cannon. 1/21, 10am to 5pm.

3. Sacramento Museum Day. This is your chance to visit one, two or three area museums…for FREE, or close to free. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 marks the 19th annual Sacramento Museum Day. This year, 24 museums will offer free admission, and two will offer half-price admission. Museums participating include the California Museum,

4. Machines in Motion at the Aerospace Museum of California. On display from Feb. 6, 2017 through Sept. 4, 2017 will be a special traveling exhibit featuring the ideas of Leonardo Da Vinci including 40 full-size replicas made from his designs and drawings. Da Vinci’s visionary inventions include flying machines, parachutes, and armored tank and a robot, spanning the use of the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. Visitors will be wowed as they have the opportunity to set the machines in motion while learning the mechanical principles da Vinci used to create each one. 2/6 – 9/4

5. Tractor Family Fest at the California Agriculture Museum. Home of the Heidrick tractor collection, the California Agriculture Museum houses a unique collections of tractors, artifacts and interactive exhibits. The museum, which is dedicated to instilling and understanding and appreciation of California’s rich cultural heritage, will host the Tractor Family Fest on Saturday, Mar. 18, 2017. Bring the family out to Woodland to enjoy the museum’s collection, live music, demonstrations and a new exhibit. Don’t forget to check out the newly expanded kids corner and climb aboard a Caterpillar 10. 3/18, 10 am to 2 pm

Four Tahoe-Area Snow Parks that are just a Hop, Skip and Jump from Sacramento

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Grab your sleds, snow gloves and get ready for some fun!  Snow play with your family is just a couple of hours away – and for the first time in several years, you can be guaranteed plenty of snow in the mountains. Whether you choose to intertube, sled, ski or snowboard, there are plenty of options for snow fun.   Here is a list of our top choices for family snow play.

Boreal – Conveniently located on I-80 at Castle Peak Exit on Donner Summit, they are now open 9am-9pm, 7 days a week for skiing and snowboarding. If you would rather just play in the snow then check out Boreal Playland Tubing Park.  They offer snow tubing equipped with 2 moving carpets, groomed tubing lanes and tubes to rent.  Admission ranges from $10- $49.  Along with other resorts in the area, they also offer ski and snowboard lessons.

 Granlibakken Resort – Located off Hwy 89 near Tahoe City, this smaller snow park is perfect for families with younger children.  Open 9am-4:30pm daily, they have a groomed snow play area and for $16 per person, you can rent and use their saucers and play area for the day. They also offer a season pass for $50- this is a great deal if you plan to visit the Tahoe area several times this year.

Soda Springs Resort/ Planet Kids – Planet Kids is best described as a snow playground featuring tubing carousals, tubing lanes, ski/snowboard learning areas, snow volcanoes to climb and more. This unique facility is designed specifically for children (age 7 & under) to experience winter and play in the snow. For $50, your child can ski and/or snowboard all day long.  Rentals are included in the admission price as well as full access to the Snow Mountains, intertube carousel and more.

In addition to Planet Kids, Soda Springs also offers lessons, lifts and Tube Town.  This is geared for children and adults 42″ and taller where a moving carpet is designed to escalate up the mountain so you can zip and zoom down the hill in your tube! $50 for an all day pass. Located approximately 1.5 hours above Sacramento and off of Hwy 80, Soda Springs makes for a perfect winter family day trip.

Tahoe Donner – Located off I-80 at the Donner Pass Road exit, they offer a groomed sledding hill with several sledding lanes and the opportunity to try out snowshoeing as they rent snowshoes to adults and children.  Admission into the snow park ranges from$9-$25 for an all-day pass to tube and play.  Ski and snowboarding lift tickets are an additional charge.

This is a small list of the local snow parks; you can even just pull off the road and find several hills with people sledding down (my favorite way of exploring the snow).   Make sure you dress appropriately, and if you need suggestions of where to purchase or rent gear, here are some options:

Any Mountain
392 Roseville Square, Roseville

REI
1148 Galleria Blvd, Roseville 2425
Iron Point Rd, Folsom
1790 Expo Parkway, Sacramento

Land Park Ski and Sport
4207 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento

Clark’s Snow Sports
212 Harding Blvd, Suite N in Roseville
So gather up your warm jackets, some hot cocoa and cameras and hit the slopes with your family (don’t forget the sun block and lip balm) and make some memories in our local winter wonderland!

By Heather Crivellone

 

Win Tickets: Monster Jam Triple Threat Series Competes at Golden 1 Center for the First Time

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For the first time in Sacramento history, Monster Jam will be rolling into downtown for its annual competition. Beginning on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, engines will roar like thunder at the city’s newest arena, Golden 1 Center. You’ll see old favorites like Grave Digger and Scooby Doo, as well as some newer competitors such as New Earth Authority (N.E.A.) and Mohawk Warrior. In total, premiere athletes will compete in seven unique endurance competitions driving three difference vehicles: Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs. This year’s competition is sure to be one for the books!

“Unlike any other Monster Jam event, the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series is the definitive test of endurance, versatility and driving skills that showcases premiere athletes as they go head-to-head in seven unique endurance competitions driving three different vehicles:  Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs; ultimately battling for points in both racing and freestyle events that push themselves and their machines to the limit.” – Atherton Public Relations

What: Monster Jam Triple Threat Series

When: Jan. 20-22, 2017

Where: Golden 1 Center

Admission: Ticket prices start at $20, pit passes are $10

WHO WANTS TO GO?! We’ve got 4 tickets to give away to one lucky reader for opening night, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Answer the following question correctly to be entered in the drawing for the tickets:

What is the approximate weight of each Monster Jam monster truck? Post your answer in the comment section below no later than Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2017 at 5pm. One entry per person, please. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2017. Good luck!