Effie Yeaw Nature Center and Preserve
2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael- Located inside the Ancil Hoffman Park
(916) 489-4918
February- October:  Wed-Sun 9am-5pm
November-January: Wed-Sun 9am-4pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday
$5 parking fee

Effie Yeaw is a 77 acre nature preserve with smooth hiking trails through the riparian woodlands along the American River.
Enjoy hiking along with your children while viewing wildlife such as wild turkeys, deer, butterflies and more.  This center hosts many educational programs throughout the year and is a great place to spend a spring and fall afternoon with the family.
They have many different animals that the children will enjoy viewing (owls, falcons, turtles, snakes and more) and is a great opportunity to teach them about the nature and the “great outdoors”.


Explorit Science Center

2801 Second Street, Davis

***Note: As of March 31st, 2011 – Explorit’s public facilitly hours have been severely reduced.  Check the website for more information.
Saturdays and Sundays 11am-5pm, Tuesdays 10am-5pm
General Admission $4, Children 3 and under are free

Discover the wonders of science at this hands-on museum.  Every few months they custom build a new exhibit based around varying themes.  Check website for current exhibits.
Great for kids of all ages- but school aged children will benefit the most from this science center.  My children who are 3 and almost 2 had a great time in the “toddler area” and with all the exhibits, but preschool age and up would really get the most out this hands-on museum.
Upcoming Exhibits:
Game On!  The Science of Sports;  January 22- May 8, 2011
Beautiful World: Science and Art; May 21- September 11, 2011


Folsom Zoo
403 Stfford Street, Folsom

Unlike other zoos, you won’t necessarily see elephants and giraffes- however, you will get the opportunity to see “up close and personal” some species of animals that you may possibly (if you were unlucky) to run into on a camping trip in the High Sierras. We viewed and learned about different species of wolves, eagles, bears and coyotes. We had a chance to see bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, deer, and many other wildlife that you don’t’ get to see everyday.

You can also ride the Folsom Valley Railway (a mini-steam engine) located outside of the park – a favorite for kids of all ages!  And with a short walk over to Lions Park for some playtime, you can have a fun filled and educational day at the Folsom Zoo.

If you decide to visit, their hours are 10am- 4pm (Sept. 1st– May 31st) and 9am-3pm (June 1st– Aug. 31st). Open Tuesday- Sunday and closed on Monday, except for some holidays (check their website for exact holiday hours). General admission is $5 and children 2-12 are $4 (under 2 is free).


Lakeshore Learning Center
1850 Douglas Blvd., Roseville, CA 95661
Are you looking for a way to keep your kids entertained on the weekends…without turning on the tube?   There are many options (some are even FREE) to keep your kids engaged, creating and using their imaginations on those “boring” Saturday mornings.
Lakeshore Learning Center in Roseville has FREE crafts for kids every Saturday.  From 11am-3pm, you can drop into the store (reservations are not required) and have your child create one of their “crafts of the day”.   Every week is something new… this weekend they will be making a log cabin collage (in honor of presidents day I’m assuming), next weekend a Super Silly Storybook character (for Dr. Seuss of course).
Check out their website to see upcoming events and even grab yourself a coupon if they have one posted…. you can always find something fun and educational for the kids at this store!

Nimbus Fish Hatchery
2001 Nimbus Rd, Gold River/ Rancho Cordova

Looking for a fun/free event for the family? Then check out the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Rancho Cordova .  With the powerful swish of its tail, a brightly colored salmon jumps more than 20 steps – one at a time – to the top of theNimbus Fish Hatchery ladder as the annual migration takes place each fall.   Each fall, families gather to the hatchery to experience this natural wonder. November through the first part of December you can witness the events that are vital to the survival of salmon and steelhead in the lower American River.

The Nimbus Fish Hatchery is open year round, even though the fish ladder is quiet during other times of the year, there are hands on activities for families and educational opportunities throughout the year.
My children especially love feeding the fish in the “nursery” tanks and viewing the exhibits in the visitors center.


Sacramento Splash
4426 Excelsior Road, Mather
(916) 600-3730

“Sacramento Splash is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping local children understand and value their natural world through scientific investigation and outdoor exploration”.

Splash offers public programs throughout the year. “Nature in the Neighborhood” is a fun and educational program designed for families.  You can also take a tour of the Vernal Pools of Mather Field, these are led by trained docents during the peak flowering phases. Check the website for more information and when to visit.
Story time at Splash is geared for preschoolers and is a fun and educational experience that teaches them about nature and thier environment.  This is held May- October on Friday mornings at 10:00am. Cost is $5/ child and a call to reserve a spot is recommended.


Sacramento Zoo
3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento
(916) 808-5888
Open Daily 9am-4pm

The Sacrmento Zoo exhibits over 400 animals on 14 acres.  You can visit Reptiles, Lions, Tigers, and so much more!  The zoo is just large enough to wear your kids (and yourself) out, but small enough that you can visit it in a few hours.  Kids love the carousel and train rides…and the “park” is always a favorite.


Safetyville USA
3909 Bradshaw Road, Sacramento, CA 95827
916-366-SAFE ext. 239.

Safetyville USA has been teaching children since 1984, the basic safety skills they need to know in a fun, interactive and memorable experience.

The goal of the program is to reduce injury and possible death of children resulting from preventable accidents. A trained volunteer tour guide leads children, preschool through third grade, through the town teaching them a variety of safety skills, including: fire, bicycle, pedestrian, electrical, stranger danger, and railroad safety.
If you have a group of 10 or more, you can call ahead and schedule a tour, or you can take a self-guided walking tour.

Safetyville is open to the public Monday-Friday 8:45-3:00pm and admission is $3 per person. Make sure you call ahead to make a reservation if you have a large group.
Events are scheduled throughout the year- check the website for more detailed information.


Star Eco Station
4465 Granite Drive, Rocklin (916) 632-8347
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Star Eco Station in Rocklin is an environmental children’s science museum and exotic wildlife rescue center. If you have children who love to explore the world and the fascinating (sometimes bizarre) animals and reptiles that surround us- then this may be the place for them!
This non-profit, environmental science museum is dedicated to “Preservation through Education”. They offer interactive environmental science education programs for students and community, as well as providing rescue and rehabilitation for exotic wildlife.
Guided tours are available to experience the exotic wildlife they have. While we were there, we had the opportunity to see snakes, parrots, tortoises, lizards of all shapes and sizes and even was able to pet a “bearded dragon”. The look on my 3 year olds face when she got to see the Boa’s skin after it had been shedded was priceless!


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