Placer Nature Center
3700 Christina Valley Rd, Auburn
“Placer Nature Center’s vision is to focus minds and habits on behaviors that support ecological sustainability – at home, in the community and in the world.”
This is a nature center with a hands- on museum and exhibits to help teach children (and adults) about our environment. With hiking trails, picnic areas and educational resources- this center will keep your family entertained all day long.
Big M Fishery
280 Westland Rd, Lincoln
Fishing Season is March 1st- December 1st
$15 per person along with pole rentals and bait.
“Big M Fishery is a recreational fish park providing kids and families the
opportunity to catch fish; creating memories for a lifetime while fishing, as
heritage is passed through the generations”
Consumnes River Preserve
13501 Franklin Blvd. Galt CA 95632
Boardwalk: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round.
Visitor Center – Staffed by volunteers WEEKENDS 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. September through June. Open in July and August from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon. Open most weekdays – hours vary.
The Cosumnes is a small river, a mere 80 miles long. Its headwaters in the El Dorado National Forest rise at only 8,000′ above sea level. From mostly rain, but also snow melt, the river’s water meanders from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Central Valley, just south of Sacramento.Yet the Cosumnes River is far more important than its size would indicate. It is the only remaining unregulated river on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. In its lower reaches, it flows through one of the biologically richestregions in California’s Central Valley, before merging with the Mokelumne River to flow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and eventually the Pacific Ocean. The Cosumnes River Preserve was created to safeguard much of this unique landscape.
The free-flowing nature of the river allows frequent and regular winter and spring overbank flooding that fosters the growth of native vegetation and the wildlife dependent on those habitats. More than 250 bird species, more than 40 fish species, and some 230 plant species have been identified on the Preserve.”
3 Hiking trails to choose from that are suitable for young children. Visitors center with hands on exhibits.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center and Preserve
2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael- Located inside the Ancil Hoffman Park
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”.
3901 Land Park Dr, (916) 808-5233
Spring/Summer hours: Open Daily 9am-4pm
$4.50 general admission; children under 2 are Free
This 2.5 acre play park bring Fairytales and Nursery Rhymes to life. Over 25 bright and colorful play structure to climb, explore and play on. They have a playground (in Sherwood Forest), walk along the “Crooked Mile”, slide down the shoe in “There was an Old Lady who lived in a shoe”, water plants in Mr. McGregor’s Garden and enjoy the farm animals in the “barnyard”.
Fairytale town in a must see for children on all ages. Stories and Childhood favorites come to life and imaginations can run wild here!
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).
1350 17th Avenue- In William Land Park across from Fairytale Town and the Zoo
This is an amusement park for children ages 2-12. They have small scale amusement park rides; Log Ride, Mini Roller Coaster, Flying Airplanes, Cars, Trains and so much more. Admission is FREE to get into the park, and the rides are only 1 ticket each. Purchase tickets individually or on the weekdays you can purchase an all-day wristband.
They serve up the best “carnival” type foods in the concession stand…so there is no need to wait for the California State Fair- just head to Funderland and get your carnival fix!
Hidden Falls Regional Park
7587 Mears Place, Auburn
This nature park is a 221-acre open space located at 7587 Mears Place, north of Mt. Vernon Road between Auburn and Lincoln. The park is host to groves of woodlands, 7 miles of natural trails that are suitable for hiking, biking, running and horseback riding. It’s also home to Coon Creek, Deadman creek and a 20-30 foot high waterfall that runs year round. Activities include fishing, hiking, picnicking and wildlife viewing- a great way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!
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.
1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento 95815
Located in the heart of the city, Raging Waters Sacramento features more than 25 exhilarating water attractions, breath-taking slides, crystal clear pools and fun-filled activities for children and adults of all ages. Thrill slides include favorites such as, Splashdown, Hurricane, Cliffhanger Speed Slides, Breaker Beach Wave Pool and the Shark Attack Waterslide complex. Those park goers in the mood for more chill than thrills can cool out in the tranquil waters of the Calypso Cooler Lazy River or frolic in Hooks Lagoon, a 5-story water kingdom with water slides, secret tubes and hundreds of water activities. Raging Waters, Sacramento is the perfect destination for families of all ages! The Park is located at Cal Expo off of Capital City Freeway at Exposition Boulevard.
4426 Excelsior Road, Mather
“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.
3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento
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.
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!