Sacramento Summer Events Your Family Won’t Want To Miss

Summer is a great time to be in Sacramento. Sure, some of the days are pretty warm, but that just makes for better swim parties with friends. And the evenings and nights lend themselves perfectly to being outside relaxing by the pool, eating at a street-side café, or taking a stroll along the Sacramento or American Rivers. There are also an abundance of family friendly events and activities all summer long, many of which are free (woo hoo!) Take a look at this list and make your plans now to enjoy a wonderful summer with your family.


6/5 – Promenade of Mermaids in Old Sacramento, FREE

6/11 – Family Day at Safetyville, FREE

6/16 – 6/19 – Wizard World Comic Con at the Sacramento Convention Center

6/18 – Pop-Up Adventure Play Day at Fairytale Town, FREE

6/19 – Father’s Day at the Museum at the California Automobile Museum, FREE for dads and grandpas

6/25 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ice Cream Fantasy at Fairytale Town

6/25 – Mega Family Expo at the Scottish Rite Center

6/27 – Family Field Day at Raley Field, FREE

Promenade of Mermaids Sacramento


7/2 – Fishing Day at Howe Park

7/3 – International Celebration at Fairytale Town

7/8 – 7/24 – California State Fair

7/31 – Cat and the Fiddle Music Festival at Fairytale Town

Misc Photos from 2011-2012 382


8/19 – Screen on the Green outdoor movie at South Natomas Community Park

8/20 – Screen on the Green outdoor movie at Glenn Hall Park

8/20-8/21 – 7th Annual Banana Festival at Shasta Park



9/2 – 9/3 – Sacramento Greek Festival at the Sacramento Convention Center

9/3 – 9/5 – Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento, FREE

9/24 – Farm-to-Fork Festival on Capitol Mall, FREE

Gold Rush Days 2015

Ongoing Summer Events

Fire Station Open Houses – Each Saturday 6/4 – 8/27 (no open house on 7/2). FREE

Family Bike Nights at Safetyville – Each Thursday and Friday throughout the summer beginning 6/16 & 17 and end 8/25 & 8/26. FREE

Family Overnight Safari at the Sacramento Zoo – Friday nights, 6/11 – 8/5

Family Campout at Fairytale Town – 6/17, 7/23 and 8/12

Family Fridays at the Crocker Art Museum – 7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22, 7/29



In its Inaugural Season, PRO Rugby Debuts in Sacramento

On Sunday, PRO Rugby came to town in its inaugural season and gave us a matchup between Sacramento and San Francisco. Walking into Bonney Field (home to local soccer team Sacramento Republic, FC) at Cal Expo, I could feel the excitement, and was amazed by the large number of families and young fans! For new rugby fans, here’s a little overview of the game:

PRO Rugby 1

If you see the above formation, it is called a scrum, and it takes place when there is a penalty of some sort on the pitch. Eight members of each team bind together and meet to contest for the ball and move it to the rear of the pack, where it is delivered through a series of lateral passes to players who are trying for the goal.

PRO Rugby 2

When a player enters the try-zone, he touches the ball down for 5 points.  An extra point kick adds 2 more points if the player can manage it.

PRO Rugby 3

At Halftime there was an exhibition game between two local Girl’s Middle School teams, the Land Park Harlequins and the Gold Country Mother Lode. After their game was over, it was awesome to see little groups of them tooling around the grandstand in the second half.

PRO Rugby 4

This is something you will always see at the end of a rugby game. The two teams meet on the field in a show of sportsmanship unique to the sport: a lineup where earnest congratulations are exchanged.  Athletes honor their common bond and agree to leave any aggression or ill will behind them on the field (in collegiate rugby the host team will not only house the visiting team, but also show them a good time the evening after the game!)

Intrigued? The next home game is scheduled for Sunday, May 8 at 5pm, when Sacramento takes on Ohio. You can purchase your tickets here.

By John Foster


Weekend Family Fun: Family Bike Night, Campfires & Friction Fun

Sacramento Family ActivitiesWhat’s happening in Sacramento this weekend? Family Bike Night at Safetyville, open house at Fire Station #60, Shrek the Musical, and more! Check out our list below.

Family Bike Night at Safetyville USA – Family Bike Nights was designed to give families a safe place to ride their bikes together, learn basic bike safety rules, and get some exercise. Bring your bike and helmet because there is three and a half acres to ride on, a special area for new riders, bike safety clinics, and food available for purchase. 8/21, 5:30 to 8:00 pm.

Campfire at the Maidu Museum – Sit under the stars at this outdoor amphitheater to enjoy native stories around the campfire every 3rd Friday of the month. They will provide roasting sticks and marshmallows for a sweet program’s end to this fun family event. 8/21, 7:30 to 8:30 pm.

Fire Station Open House at Station 60 – Bring your families and come on out to your local fire station. Meet the firefighters and medics who protect your neighborhood; tour the station; pick up some safety brochures; and take an up-close look at the trucks, engines, ambulances, equipment, and gear that your first responders use every day. 8/22, 2 – 4:00pm.

Skye is the Limit at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Come to the Nature Center to meet resident red-shouldered hawk, Skye. Take a peek into the amazing world of birds of prey that live in and around the Nature Center. 8/22, 10:30 am.

Friction Fun at the Discovery Museum – Kids can have fun with friction by taking the museum’s “race cars” for a test drive down four different ramps made with different surfaces. Time your car for each heat and discover how different surfaces cause different speeds. Remember the fun by making your own scratch art racer to take home. 8/22 – 8/23, 12:30 to 4:30 pm.

Shrek the Musical – In a faraway kingdom, the green ogre Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairytale misfits, runaways who’ve been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. When Shrek sets off with a wise-cracking donkey to confront Farquaad, he’s handed a task — if he rescues the feisty Princess Fiona from the dragon-guarded tower, his swamp will be returned to him. However, a fairy tale wouldn’t be complete without unexpected twists and turns along the way. 8/22 – 8/23, 1:00 pm.

Nature’s Gifts at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Spend a morning in the Maidu village crafting an abalone necklace inspired by nature’s beauty and Valley Nisenan Maidu traditions. 8/23, 1:30 pm.

Ice Cream Safari is back at the Sacramento Zoo on Saturday, August 15

History-of-Ice-Cream-1By Heather Crivellone Lions and Tigers and Ice Cream, oh My! Saturday, August 15 is the Sacramento Zoo’s Ice Cream Safari. From 4-8 pm, join other families for an afternoon full of fun at the zoo at their popular fundraiser. With admission, you can enjoy all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins Ice Cream in cones, sundaes and floats along with all you can drink Coca-Cola. Explore the 14 acre zoo with ice cream treats around every corner! Along with the ice cream, there will be live entertainment, kids’ activities, face painting and more family fun. General price tickets are $15 for children ages 2-11 and $20 for adults. Save a few dollars and purchase your tickets in advance on their website or at the zoo. Proceeds of the fundraiser will go towards general maintenance and animal care at the Sacramento Zoo. I volunteered at this event a few years back and took my daughter last year and each time was an absolute blast. What can be better during the hot days of summer with your kids than watching and learning about the wild animals around us and enjoying our favorite summertime treat – Ice cream…and LOTS of it!

Father’s Day Weekend Family Fun in Sacramento

Father's Day Activities in Sacramento

This weekend is all about dad! Enjoy toasted marshmallows around a campfire, camp out at Fairtyale Town, celebrate freedom at the Juneteenth Festival or take that favorite guy in your life to Funderland, where dad’s ride free on Sunday. Whatever you do, make sure to let dad know how special he is.

Movie at the Park – Bring your family and friends out to Howe Park on Friday night for a FREE outdoor viewing of The Great Outdoors. 6/19, 8:30 – 11:00 pm.

Campfire at the Maidu Museum – Enjoy native Maidu Indian stories as you roast marshmallows around a campfire at the Museum’s outdoor amphitheater. 6/19, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the Maidu Museum and Historic Site.

Family Campout at Fairytale Town – Enjoy theater performances, arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt, bedtime stories and a sing-a-long. Then camp out under the stars in Sacramento’s favorite storybook park. Wake up the next morning to a light breakfast. 6/19 – 6/20.

Sacramento Juneteenth Festival – Celebrate freedom at Sacramento’s Juneteenth Festival this weekend. There are several events that take place at Juneteenth that are considered historical to the festival including a parade, fashion show, sporting games, dialogue on current issues, and red punch. 6/19 – 6/21.

Wizard World Comic Con – Join thousands of fans  at the Sacramento Convention Center to celebrate the best in pop culture. The Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con has it all  –  movies, comics, toys, video gaming, games, TV, graphic novels, horror, wrestling, MMA, art, collectibles, anime, manga, and more! See Wizard World website for details on times and admission costs. 6/19, 6/20, 6/21

Birding for Families – Bring the family to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center to join special guest guides from the Sacramento Audubon Society for a birding walk. Birdwatchers of all levels welcome! Bring your binoculars or the Center can lend you a pair. 6/20, 10:30 – 12:00 pm.

International SUN-day at the Discovery Museum – Welcome the summer season by taking part in International SUN-day. The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society will be outside with their hydrogen alpha scopes, allowing you to see the sun directly, showing sun spots and prominences. Talk to SVAS about telescopes, backyard astronomy, and community viewing opportunities. You can also make a sun medallion decoration. 6/20 – 6/21.

Fathers and Feathers at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Bring Dad out to the Nature Center to meet some of the Natures Center’s feathered residents. Learn all about what makes these birds so special and how they became educational ambassadors for the Center. 6/21.

Father’s Day at Funderland – Celebrate dad’s big day at Funderland where dad’s ride for FREE all day long! 6/21

Father’s Day BBQ and Western Show aboard the Sacramento River Train – Father’s Day doesn’t have to be all about toolboxes and neckties. This year, give the gift of adventure aboard Sacramento RiverTrain’s Father’s Day BBQ and Western Show. Dad is going to love spending Father’s Day on the rails. 6/21, 11:00am – 2:30 pm.

Paper Airplane Day at the Aerospace Museum – take Dad to the Aerospace Museum for paper airplane fun. Create crazy new designs and compete in competitions. Make sure you take a look at the real airplanes the museum houses while you’re there! 6/21, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

Weekend Family Fun

PicMonkey Collage

With the holidays just around the corner, you’ll find plenty of festive activities and events for the family. How about a visit to Santa’s workshop? Or watching zoo animals open up Christmas gifts? There’s picture-taking with Santa at Harley-Davidson Sacramento and even snowfall at Fairytale Town.  Take a look at many other fun Sacramento holiday events.  Have a great weekend!

12/11 – 12/13 – Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town – Celebrate the holiday season at Fairytale Town! The storybook park will be trimmed with festive décor and lit up with a dazzling display of lights, starting at dusk. Enjoy hands-on craft activities, holiday vendors, and more at this family holiday event.

12/11 – 12/13 – Save the Frogs with Michael Starkey at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Amphibian populations around the world are declining at an alarming rate. Nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. Up to 200 species have disappeared since 1979. Why is this happening? Save The Frogs! Advisory Committee Chairman Michael Starkey will share photos of frogs and other amphibians from around the world, explain what is causing the crisis, and how you can help out. Then join Michael for a field study at the pond– a frog habitat– and a walk through the nature preserve, continuing discussion of the Amphibian Extinction Crisis.

12/12 – Nutcracker: The Ugly Sweater Night – Ditch the tux and gown and don your ugliest holiday sweater to this showing of The Nutcracker This is a chance to show of your true holiday spirit (or maybe the spirit of a remembered elementary school teacher). Attendees are encouraged to wear their ugliest holiday sweaters (extra points will be given for sweaters that are homemade).

12/12 – 12/14 – 8th Annual Elk Grove Nativity Festival – Come see hundreds of multi-cultural creches, watch local children re-enact the Nativity, hear musical talents from our diverse community, and participate in a scavenger hunt as you wander the Nativity Festival.

12/13 – Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo – Bundle up the family and come enjoy the holiday season at the Zoo! Bring a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item and receive a $1 off your Zoo admission. The U.S. Marine Corps will be taking your toy donations for Toys for Tots and food donations go the Sacramento Food Bank and families in need. Animals will get special treats delivered to them and staff will be on hand to share facts, secrets and answer your questions.

12/13 – Santa’s Workshop Open House – Join for holiday fun arts and crafts! Create holiday lanterns, patterned wrapping paper, paper snowflakes, garlands, and ornaments. Move from station to station making holiday masterpieces and enjoying a festive afternoon at Verge.

12/13 – Pictures with Santa at Harley-Davidson of Sacramento – Santa Claus is coming to Harely-Davidson of Sacramento! Avoid the long lines in the mall and take your complimentary picture with Santa! Guests can also enjoy complimentary gift wrapping with any purchases made (while supplies last).

12/13 – Christmas Memories at the Mansion – On Saturday the community is invited to tour the majestic Governor’s Mansion! Delight in elaborate holiday decorations, festive live holiday music, children’s activities, captivating storytellers and docents in period attire sharing holiday-related stories of past governors and their families. To add to the festivities, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make special visits to the Mansion to meet excited little ones and be available for holiday photographs.

12/13 – Sacramento’s First Kings: King Salmon at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – We’re not talking basketball here, we’re talking fish! Join a Naturalist for a walk to the salmon “arena” and see Sacramento’s first Kings! Space is limited though sign-ups can be taken the day of the event as space permits. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.

12/13 – Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas at Sutters Fort – Families are encouraged to visit the Fort to step back in time to holidays past and enjoy docents in period attire as they demonstrate a variety of early holiday traditions and cultural activities similar to what early emigrants did in the 1840s. Entertaining vignettes will be set up that showcase a few of the diverse holiday scenes that will include food, music, decorations, and other holiday traditions.

Plus, the Fort will be celebrating a 19th century holiday with toys on display from that era for viewing and a captivating storyteller will be on hand to share stories about what Christmas was like in 1848. Fort visitors can also participate in a number of special hands-on activities such as craft holiday ornaments — that include snowflakes, corn husk angels and bird nests – plus decorate the Christmas tree, create popcorn chains, make holiday cards with nib (or “dip”) pens and colored ink, grind raw wheat into “Christmas flour,” sing Christmas carols with Fort musicians and more!

12/13 – Victorian Holiday Ball and Pony Express Ride – Come one, come all to a traditional and FREE Victorian Holiday Ball complete with music and dancing! Guests are welcome to enjoy the festivities and can learn the fashionable dance steps of the time and Father Christmas will even make an appearance during the celebration. Also, the Pony Express will ride into town to collect the mail as part of their day-long ride through Sacramento. And, cards and letters deposited in the Pony Express mailbox at the Sacramento History Museum will be stamped and delivered to loved ones across the country!

12/13 – 12/14 – All I Want for Christmas is Clean Air at the Discovery Museum – Join Breathe California as they explore Sacramento’s air quality. Join for the family feature to learn how you and your family can keep your holidays green. Children are invited to participate in a helping hands craft activity to take home.

12/14 – Gifts from Mother Earth at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Learn the skill of making abalone necklaces to create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry from Mother Earth. Keep your gift for yourself or share it with someone special! Space is limited though sign-ups may be taken the day of the event as space permits. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to start time.

Weekend Family Fun

PicMonkey Collage

It may rain in Sacramento on Halloween night, but don’t let that stop you from going out and having fun with your kiddos. There are still plenty of fun Halloween events happening inside or out – rain or shine.  How about Boo at the Zoo?  Or a Spooky Halloween River Cruise on the river?  Or maybe Spooky Science Night at the Explorit Science Center?  Check out our full list below.  Happy Halloween!

10/30 – 10/31 – Boo at the Zoo – Rain of Shine. Enjoy two nights of ghoulish family fun. Kids can safely trick-or-treat around the lake at 25 different candy stations! Other activities include magic shows, costume dance party, ghoulish games, and lots of family fun! You can also ride the Spooky Train or Creepy Carousel for an additional fee.

10/30 – 10/31 – Spooky Science Nights at Explorit Science Center – Grab the little goolies, ghosties, zombies and more and join for a Spooky Science good time for the whole family! When darkness falls, the Explorit lab will come alive for a hair-raising fundraiser. Join as they transform public hours into Spooky Science. Halloween night will feature additional fun including trick-or-treating and a costume contest, complete with prizes. If you’ve been looking to inject a little science into your seasonal festivities, you won’t want to miss Spooky Science Nights.

10/31 – Mylars Annual Halloween Party – Singer and songwriter, William Mylar, will perform Halloween themed music for the 5th consecutive year. Costumes are encouraged, and there will be free treats and prizes.

10/31 – Halloween Party at Infinite Potential – Join Infinite Potential: Academy of Body and Mind for a spooktacularly fun Halloween Party. Costumes, light sabres, archery, laser maze, and much more are on the schedule. Come shoot pumpkin balloons for prizes and have a blast this Halloween! Costumes are welcomed and encouraged.

10/31 – Spooky Halloween River Cruise aboard the Hornblower – Make this Halloween about more than just going door to door on Beggars’ Night. For three weekends in October, Hornblower Cruises will sail you along the Sacramento River at dusk for an hour of chilling good times. Costumes are encouraged as you enjoy the scenery and descending nightfall with Halloween-themed music as the backdrop. There are coloring sheets, snacks available for purchase, and party favors for the wee ones on this fun family cruise that’s sure to elicit squeals of delight.

11/1 – Dia de los Muertos at the Sacramento Children’s Museum – Join the Sacramento Children’s Museum in celebrating the wonderful Dia de los Muertos folk art tradition of decorating grinning sugar skulls with bright color and glittery adornments.

11/1 – Black-Tailed Deer at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Come see these bucks in all their glory with beautiful antler crowns. Grab your binoculars or borrow some and catch a closer look at the black-tailed deer in their oak woodland home while learning more about their world.

11/1 – Meditation for Children – This class is designed to introduce meditation building blocks to children in a fun and interactive manner. Games, stories, art, and other activities will be used to allow children to experience how meditation skills such as awareness, focus, and breathing can be used to help calm the mind and body. The first class session is for children ages 6 to 8 and the second class is for youth ages 8 to 10.

11/1 – Introduction to Video Game Programming at the Discovery Museum – Explore video game creation by making a simple game using MIT’s Scratch. This software allows students to learn about programming using a friendly graphical user interface. By the end of the session, students will explore Loops, Conditional Statements, Operators, and Sensors. Students will create a simple game that can be played and enhanced from home. This event is for children ages 10 and up, and please pack a snack.

11/1 – 11/2 – Ferocious Flyers at the Discovery Museum – Take to the skies this weekend by crafting your own prehistoric flying reptile. Children Age 12 and under can assemble a take-home glider that resembles an animal of the past. Learn about these prehistoric reptiles in the classroom and dinosaurs in the Blast from the Past .