Founded in 1848, Sacramento, CA is full of rich history. With many historic buildings and museums to help keep history alive! The cold and rainy season is almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking about some indoor activities for your children to enjoy. One of my favorite things to do is, visit Sacramento’s local museums. By visiting the local museums, you are providing an excellent source of history, science, and art education in a warm, dry place for your children to explore and learn. With over 25 museums in the Sacramento area, its hard to decide which one to visit. Well, I say visit them all! Each one offers an excellent lesson in history, and range from automobiles to art. I have listed a few of my family’s favorite museums in the Sacramento area to help you get started on your journey through Sacramento’s rich history.
A great place to start and one of the more popular museums in town is The Discovery Museum Science & Space Center . Our family has visited this museum on numerous occasions and we always have a good time! Plus, my children always find something new and fascinating every time we visit, and keeps them talking about what they’ve learned for days after. This is a great museum for all ages and offers hands on activities to keep those little minds and hands busy. My favorite activity at the Discovery Museum is the Planetarium. It’s just like taking a guided tour through our night sky and will have you staring at the starry skies in your backyard with a whole new outlook. My children love the Nature Discovery Room. Here they can learn about different species of wildlife and see them up close, from their owls Tucker and Milo, to the frogs Bud and Prince. Another favorite are the rotating exhibits that the museum offers. Each one focuses on a different topic and offers hands on interactive activities. The exhibits are rotated every six months to help keep the museum new and exciting with every visit. The exhibits in rotation are Got Trees?, Bone Zone, Space Quest, and Gee Whiz Geology. Currently the Bone Zone is on display until Dec. 31, 2010. My older children love to blast off into outer space in the Challenger Learning Center and complete missions to Mars, the Moon, or chasing Haley’s Comet. Each mission scenario is a fun and interactive way to learn what it takes to be an astronaut, with realistic mission controls, and a simulated spacecraft.
Where: 3615 Auburn Blvd Sacramento, CA
When: Sept. – June hours are, Tue. – Fri. (12p-4:30p) & Sat/Sun (10a-4:30p) Closed Mondays for school visits
Admission: Weekdays – $5 Adults, $4 teens(13-17), $3 children (4-12), 3 and under FREE.
Weekends – $6 Adults, $5 teens, $4 children
For your next stop, might I suggest the California State Railroad Museum in Downtown Old Sacramento. California has plenty of railroad history and this is a great place to learn all about it. This museum takes Thomas the Train to a whole new level, offering real life railroad cars to explore. This museum was one of our first stops in the Sacramento area when we first moved here about 10 yrs ago. My children were amazed by how big the trains are and were very curious about how they worked. We spent hours here and the boys loved climbing on and walking through the many railroad cars that have been restored to their historical appearance. The Railroad museum also offers a 3,300 sqft. interactive area where children can play with toy train sets and watch trains power through elaborate scenery. If you can make it down before the end of September they are still offering Steam-Powered Train Excursion rides on the weekends. If you have young boys or girls that are into trains, and even if their not, this should definitely be on your list of museums to visit in the Sacramento area. For more information on the California State Railroad Museum you can visit their website at : www.csrmf.org
Where: 125 I St. Sacramento, CA (Map/Directions)
When: Daily from 10a – 5p (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day)
Admission: $9 Adults, $4 ages (6-17), 5 and under FREE
Last but definitely not least on the list, is the Aerospace Museum in McClellan. Located on the old McClellan Air Force Base, that closed it’s doors in 2001. The museum carries on the aviation history that was made here and so many other bases like it. There are many planes to see from military fighters and civilian planes, to space vehicles. There are even a few planes that you can climb into and look around. Your kids are sure to enjoy this museum and will have them telling stories to their friends about the ‘cool’ planes they got to see and more! So, fly, I mean drive on over and check it out! You won’t be sorry you came, but you will be if you miss it! The Aerospace Museum is also currently featuring the well talked about, Star Trek Exhibit. If you are willing to boldly go where thousands have gone before this is for you! If you want to find out more information on the Aerospace Museum, please visit their website at: www.aerospacemuseumofcalifornia.org
Where: 3200 Freedom Park Drive, McClellan, CA 95652 (Map/Directions)
When: Mon – Sat 9a – 5p & Sun 10a-5p
Admission: $5 ages 6 and up, 5 and under FREE
So, there you have it. Top three museums to visit with your kids in the Sacramento, CA area. When you visit a museum with your children you are helping reinforce your child’s education, as well as showing that you can have fun and learn at the same time! Like, I said before, Sacramento is rich in history and the local museums have a lot to offer the young minds of the world. One note to keep in mind, is that usually around the first weekend in February, the Sacramento Association of Museums holds its annual Museum Day! What this means is that you can go to just over 25 museums in the Sacramento area for FREE! To Help you save time and money on parking, they also offer a FREE shuttle that stops at the museums, making it easy for you and your loved ones hop from museum to museum all day long! Now that’s a deal for a family outing…FREE! I know we will be attending again this year! See you there! For more information on FREE Museum Day 2011 check the Sacramento Association of Museums website for more details.