Campfires are back at Sacramento Valley’s Maidu Indian Museum!

fire.med_categoryOur Sacramento valley sits upon some fascinating history.  From the days of the Gold Rush to the history of the California Railroad, to Sutter’s Fort and the Indian tribes that surrounded us, we have the opportunity to explore and teach our children some of the most amazing historical facts of our region. Recently, we visited the Maidu Indian Museum in Roseville and I was pleasantly surprised by this “hidden” discovery and the history that is among this area.

The Maidu Indian Center was built on the edge of an ancient village site in which Nisenan Maidu families thrived for over 3,000 years.  Our historic site was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 because of its importance as a unique cultural resource due to the hundreds of bedrock mortar holes and the numerous petroglyphs carved into the sandstone boulders strewn across the north end of the site.  In addition, a vast midden area is telling evidence of thousands of years of occupation.”

The two-story museum has interactive exhibits explaining the life of the Niesenan Maidu families and how they lived during this time.  Along with the exhibits, they also have a beautiful trail (a little under a mile long) that takes you passed petroglyphs, bedrock mortars, towering oaks and a year-round stream.  This trail is easily accessible for wheelchairs, strollers and those of us who just like to take a leisurely stroll.

My kids’ short attention spans were kept engaged in the museum by the exhibit drawers that pulled out and learning about the toys the Maidu children would play with.  They also enjoyed doing their own petroglyph rubbings, puzzles and especially enjoyed the trails outside.  When we visited, we had perfect weather for our stroll and had the opportunity to chase butterflies, search for coyotes (luckily we didn’t see any) and exploring the ancient bedrock mortar holes and boulders that are along the trail.

This is a great place for any and all children (or adults) to learn about the Maidu Indians who resided in this area and how they lived.  The center is open Monday-Friday 9am-4pm and Saturday 9am-1pm.  Admission into the center is $5 for adults, $4 for children and seniors or $16 for a family of four.

This Friday, April 15, the Storytelling Campfires are back!  Storytelling has been an important part of Native American culture for thousands of years.   Your family can enjoy roasting marshmallows and hearing native stories of the Maidu Indians under the night sky at the outdoor amphitheater.  This event takes place every third Friday from mid-April until the end of October.  Please call in advance if you will have groups of 10 or more.   Museum doors will open at 7pm and the program begins at 7:30pm.

The Maidu Museum and Historic Site is located at 1970 Johnson Ranch Drive in Roseville.

By Heather Crivellone


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.

Weekend Family Fun

8/14 – Thursday Night River Cruise aboard the Hornblower – California’s capital city is filled with lively history and beautiful sights, and you’ll have the perfect view on this Sacramento river cruise. Hop aboard Thursday nights throughout the summer for special late night river cruises!  The one hour boat cruise ride includes live narration by the Captain, including Sacramento River facts and history.

8/15 – August Campfire at the Maidu Museum & Historic Site – Storytelling has been an important part of Native American culture for thousands of years. Sit under the stars at this outdoor amphitheater to enjoy native stories around the campfire. They will provide roasting sticks and marshmallows for a sweet program’s end to this fun family event.

8/15 – 8/16 – Family Campout at Fairytale Town – Spend the night in Fairytale Town’s storybook park. This exciting overnight adventure includes a theater performance, arts and crafts, activities, a scavenger hunt, bedtime stories, and a sing-along. Wake up the next morning under Fairytale Town’s canopy of trees to a light continental breakfast.

8/16 – Ice Cream Safari at the Sacramento Zoo – Join for the 30th Annual Ice Cream Safari where you can get all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins ice cream in cones, sundaes, and floats along with all-you-can-drink Coca-Cola beverages. Explore the 14-acre zoo with ice cream treats around every corner!  There will also be entertainment for the kids and fun for everyone including face painting, an Ice Cream Dance Party and live entertainment. Don’t forget to enter the GiRaffle for the chance to win some fun prizes.

8/16 – Hands On History: 175th Anniversary Commemoration at Sutter’s Fort – Celebrate 175 years at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park during Hands on History: 175th Anniversary Commemoration!  A few of the interactive activities and stations set-up for the day include: a stencil rubbing station of John Sutter’s brand; a pioneer dress-up station where families dress as pioneers; pen and quill activity station; period-appropriate laundry station; period games for kids; a corn husk doll craft station; cooking demonstrations using iron ware with tastings of food prepared in the outdoor brick bake oven; and a display of guns and weapons from the Gold Rush era complete with demonstrations of black powder weaponry highlighted by the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon.

Thru 8/16 – The Big Bad Wolf by Runaway Stage Productions – What happens when three slick swine join one cape-wearing girl with a vengeance in an attempt to frame the Big Bad Wolf? Nothing short of mysterious mix-ups and musical mayhem, of course!  Join Fairytale Forest’s top reporter as she attempts to get the “cross-my-heart, true story” of the Big Bad Wolf. Find the fun in an old classic, and hold on for an adventure that will give Little Red and the gang a taste of the twenty-first century.

8/16 – Sacramento Fire Station Open House at Station 60 – The Sacramento Fire Department will begin hosting Fire Station Open Houses on Saturdays starting in May. Bring your family and friends to visit with firefighters, take a tour of the fire station, get an up-close look at a fire engine, and more!

8/16 – 8/17 – Breathe California Presentations at the Discovery Museum – Take a deep breath and meet the museum’s special guests from Breathe California. They’ll teach your family all about Sacramento’s air. The family feature will explore the connection between clean air and healthy lungs. Learn how food waste is used to help improve our air quality! Children 12 and under are also invited to create and decorate a model of a wind turbine to take home.

8/17 – Back-to-School Celebration at the Crocker – Teachers, parents, students, and homeschoolers are invited to kick of the new school year at this festive event! Learn how the Crocker can affordably bring creativity and art education into your child’s life or classroom.  Enjoy a performance by Calidanza Dance Company; go on a SketchCrawl through the galleries; preview new Tour + Art Workshop themes; climb aboard the Art Ark; visit Homeschool Day discovery stations; and preview an “A” is for Art tour.

8/17 – Exploring the Maidu Village at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Nisenan Maidu people have lived in this area for thousands of years. Learn about their special relationship to the land, which they still celebrate today through stories and a hike through the Village.


Weekend Family Fun

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6/19 – 6/22 – Placer County Fair – This year’s summer beach party has packed the Grandstands! From livestock shows to stock car racing this year’s fair will entertain all. With shopping, fair foods, art, agriculture and county exhibits this will be the biggest carnival in Roseville. There will be the longest zip line, a Kids Zone, community stage performances, and a Princess Pageant.

6/20 – Museum Campfire at the Maidu Museum and Historic Site – Sit under the stars at our outdoor amphitheater to enjoy native stories around the campfire. The museum will provide roasting sticks and marshmallows for a sweet program’s end.

6/20 – 6/21 – Once Upon a Storytime at the 24th Street Theatre – With book, words, and music by Dave and Kara Lack, Once Upon A Storytime is an award-winning original interactive musical in which the audience helps Fairytale Princess Lilly, who has lost her memory, embark on an exciting and madcap adventure to find and return to her own Fairytale Story. With help from the audience and her new-found friend the Storyteller, she wanders through other famous Fairytales searching for her own while the evil Nefaria, for her own devious purposes, tries to keep Lilly trapped in those other stories.

6/20 – 6/22 – Juneteenth Celebration – Juneteenth has been a day of celebration for many African-Americans, a de facto second Independence Day commemorating the end of slavery and a first step toward inclusion in the greater American dream.

6/21 – 6/22 – International Sun Day at the Discovery Museum – Welcome the summer season by taking part in International SUN-day — both Saturday & Sunday. The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society, will be outside with their solar telescopes. These hydrogen-alpha scopes allow you to see the sun directly — so you can actually see sun spots, solar flares, and prominences — all in real-time.

6/21 – Hands-On History:  War in California at Sutter’s Fort – Stepping back in time to 1846, the Fort will re-visit a time when Mexican California was in a continuous state of political unrest and threats from foreign powers were a constant menace.  The turmoil reached an apex in June of 1846, when as many as five flags may have had a turn flying over Sutter’s Fort.  At the special “Hands on History” event, guests will hear debates about which alliance Sutter and the Fort should take in the conflict and will find out which five flags may have flown over the Fort.  During this exciting day, interested Fort guests will be treated to an award-winning presentation about the Bear Flag Revolt that showcases rare historic photographs and treasured maps from the Fort Archives.  Fort visitors can also participate in history-themed scavenger hunts and watch black powder weaponry in action including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon.

6/21 – Lego Block Party at the Franklin Community Library – Come build with us! Join our Lego Block Party. You bring your imagination and creativity, and the library supply lots and lots of Duplo and Lego blocks to build with. This is a Summer Reading event.

6/22 – Critter Close-up at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Get eye to eye with one of our feathered, lumpy, or scaly residents.

Weekend Family Fun

Sacramento weekend family fun

5/16 – Museum Campfire at the Maidu Museum – Sit under the stars at our outdoor amphitheater to enjoy native stories around the campfire. The museum will provide roasting sticks and marshmallows for a sweet program’s end.

5/17 – Armed Forces Open Cockpit Day at the California Aerospace Museum –  Join us in celebrating & honoring those who serve in our Armed Forces.  This special FREE Open Cockpit Day is hosted by Wells Fargo. Planes Open & Lots to See and Do!

5/17 – Farms, Friends and Fairytales – Join Fairytale Town for a fun-filled celebration of agriculture! Arrive early to watch the amusement park’s twin Babydoll sheep get sheared, then watch as the wool is spun into thread using an old-fashioned spinning wheel. Plus, participate in agriculture-themed hands-on activities, shop the mini farmers’ market, and visit with local area farms and organizations.

5/17 – Splash Park Season Opener – The Swanston Splash Park is gearing up for its sixth year of fun in the sun! This is a free event for families to come out and celebrate the opening of Splash Park for the summer and enjoy fun activities including magic shows for the kids, games, dance performances, and a bike rodeo where the first 1,000 kids will receive a free bike helmet! There will also be information on the many programs and services available.

5/17 – Fish Family Fest –  103.9 The Fish’s Christian Music festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy a day full of music with Francesca Battistelli, Hawk Nelson, Lincoln Brewster, Bob Smiley and many more.  Of course, like any good festival, there will be plenty to do, including food, carnival rides for the kids, and the artist booths.  It’s hours of music and fun for the whole family you won’t want to miss!

5/17 – 5/18 – Sleeping Beauty Dreams –  Sleeping Beauty Dreams, written by award-winning playwright, Amaranta Leyva, re-imagines the famous princess as an overprotected daughter looking for a way to break free of her castle walls in order to search for true love and her true self. A contemporary look at this classic tale, Marionetas de la Esquina’s humorous storytelling and whimsical puppetry awaken this sleeping princess as never before.

5/17 – Eppie’s Kids Duathlon –  Local nonprofit health and wellness organizations, Eppie’s Great Race, Nicolas’ Garden, and Soil Born Farms, are partnering to present ninth annual Eppie’s Kids Duathlon (running and cycling) along with a children’s health and wellness expo.  Activities will have a “Farm-to-Fork” focus, incorporating entertainment, and educational, hands-on health, nutrition and fitness activities.

5/17 – Birding for Families – Bring the family out for a birding and nature walk led by a naturalist and special guest guides from the Sacramento Audubon Society. Birdwatchers of all levels welcomed. Remember to bring your binoculars (or the group can loan you a pair)!

5/18 – Unleash Your Inner Animal – Join a Naturalist for an afternoon of channeling your inner animal to create an animal mask of your favorite oak woodland creature! Have fun getting creative and learn some fun art techniques. Supplies provided, space is limited. Sign-ups taken the day of the event.

5/18 – 22nd Annual Pacific Rim Street Fest – Taking place in Old Sacramento and the Sacramento Downtown Plaza, for years the festival has displayed the richness and diversity of many Pacific Rim cultures through cultural programs, entertainment, art, and food. The event also enhances the community’s knowledge of Asian/Pacific Island cultures in a fun and positive environment.  So stop by and taste the food at one of their many food booths, watch and listen to the variety of entertainers at one of the four entertainment stages, and purchase a T-shirt or merchandise from one of the art and craft vendors.

5/18 – A Day on the Farm at Soil Born Farms – Soil Born Farm’s spring fundraiser is a family favorite! Collaborating for the past seven years with their title sponsor Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, the intention of this event is to create an opportunity for families to visit the American River Ranch for a day of learning, eating, music, celebrating community, and exploring the natural world.

Weekend Family Fun

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4/24 – Free Movie Night at West Wind Drive-In – Head to the drive-in for a family friendly movie night. There will be live music, games, food and much more.  Movies include Frozen, The Hunger Games Catching Fire, The Lego Movie, and Ride Along.

4/24 – 4/27 – Sacramento Rivercats vs. El Paso Chihuahuas – Fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights, and kids of all ages will enjoy Sunday Fundays, featuring pregame player autographs, face painters and balloon artists, and the opportunity to “Run the Bases” on the field after every Sunday home game!

4/26 – Save the Frogs at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Celebrate Mother Earth by learning all about some of her most precious creatures, frogs.  See resident amphibians up close, learn how important they are in the web of life and how they let you know about the health of local waterways.  Afterwards you can make beautiful art celebrating your favorite amphibian.

4/26 – Family Fun Fest at Fairytale Town -Join the Junior League of Sacramento for a magical evening of fun games, activities, food, beer and wine, live music, and picnics on the lawn. See the amazing work of JLS community programs including “Kids in the Kitchen.”  Enjoy local produce at Raley’s Farmer’s Market and be entertained by Joey Ventitteli and the City of Trees Brass Band. Proceeds raised from these annual events go to support the League’s vision of enhancing the well-being and future of women and children in the greater Sacramento area.

4/26 – Kids’ Day in the Park celebrating Hagan Oak’s 25th Anniversary – It’s all about kids on April 26. In its 25th year, this celebration will be the biggest party of all! Break out the strollers, the sneakers and sunscreen and head down to the park for a great line-up of fun activities, health screenings and parent resources, all wrapped up into giggles and activities for children.

4/26 – Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA – The Sacramento Central YMCA is celebrating YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day® with a free community event to get kids moving and learning, and families living healthier. Sacramento Central’s Healthy Kids Day is the YMCA’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families, featuring fun active play and educational activities to help kids be healthy and reach their full potential.

4/26 – 4/27 – The Secret Garden at the Sutter Street Theater – After Mary Lennox is orphaned, she becomes the ward of an uncle in England she has never met. As she adjusts to her new life at secluded Misselthwaite Manor, Mary discovers a secret garden. If she can uncover the mysterious circumstances behind the garden, she might be able to save her sickly young cousin and melt the heart of her emotionally distant uncle. A touching coming-of-age story, based on the classic novel.

4/27 – Sketch It! at the Crocker Art Museum – Visitors ages 5 and older can sketch at their own pace while receiving drawing instruction. This drop-in program meets in a different gallery each month. No experience necessary, and all supplies are provided.

4/27 – Yomen: A Spring Celebration at the Maidu Museum – Celebrate and experience California Indian culture at our biggest event of the year! Spend the day with your family and enjoy the opening blessing, tribal dance groups, traditional art and craft demonstrations, native storytelling, hourly guided tours of the historic site, and live animals on display. Children’s activities include flute and bracelet making, petroglyph rubbings, soapstone carving and acorn grinding.  Shop at the vendor booths and don’t forget the Indian tacos and other foods available for sale.

4/27 – Science Sunday at the Aerospace Museum of California – Mad Science come to the museum, so bring the whole family and experience flight and space travel in an exciting way. See how hot air balloons, rockets and space travel affect the human body!  The Mad Science presentation is FREE with paid admission.



Weekend Family Fun

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4/18 – Campfire Night at the Maidu Museum – Sit under the stars at the Maidu Museum’s outdoor amphitheater and enjoy native stories around the campfire. Roasting sticks and marshmallows will be provided for at this sweet program’s end.

4/19 – Eureka! at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Get your hands on a pan and catch gold fever! Learn about some of the local Gold Rush history and get your hands dirty as you learn how to pan for gold in hopes of striking it rich.

4/19 – California Missions Workshop – Presented in partnership with Re-Create, this new series assists 4th grade students with their mission report in conjunction with “California Missions: A Journey Along the El Camino Real.” Each session includes a historical presentation, guided exhibit tour, help researching primary sources for written report, assistance building a mission or creating an art piece out of recycled materials, a take home reference folder specific to student’s mission, key facts reference card specific to student’s mission, and a souvenir map highlighting all 21 missions.

4/19 – Family Friendly Comedy & Magic Show at Laughs Unlimited – Bring the family out for this hilariously entertaining comedy and magic show featuring headliner Justin Rivera, Ron Josol, and your host Justin Lucas.

4/19 – 4/20 – Diesel Days at the California State Railroad Museum – On one weekend each month from April thru September, California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum are offering special train rides on the Sacramento Southern Railroad featuring two visually exciting and gracefully styled diesel locomotives. Especially when these eye-catching diesels are in operation, guests of all ages will enjoy taking a memorable and relaxing weekend excursion train ride that is reminiscent of train travel from an earlier era. Those aboard are treated to a six-mile, 45-minute roundtrip excursion along the levees of the Sacramento River.

4/19 – Old City Cemetery Tour: Sacramento History for Kids -The tales of pioneers, trappers, railroad men, society women, heroes, and villains come to life as Old City Cemetery recount the stories of a bygone era and the people who lived it. Come see why sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.  This tour is designed specifically for children in the fourth grade and up.

4/20 – Hornblower’s Easter River Cruises – This Easter, get your family together for an afternoon on the Sacramento River. Enjoy a one-hour cruise along the River and visit with the Easter Bunny! See where the American and Sacramento Rivers come together to experience the wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty that this historic and important waterway has to offer.

4/20 – Hop, Leap, Jump at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Hop on over for a “hare” raising good time. Learn if rabbits actually lay eggs and take a hike to discover a rabbit’s habitat. Explore where they might make a home, hide from danger, and find a tasty plant to eat.

For a list of area Easter events and activities, click here.