Got tips for family fun for 24 hours in Sacramento, CA in July?
July 13, 2010 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Got any tips for family fun for 24 hours in Sacramento, CA in July?

Ina few days, we (Mom and Dad and two boys ages 10 and 6) will be in Sacramento for a bit over 24 hours, staying in a hotel, before driving to Tahoe. (This will not be on the weekend.)

We all like science and art museums, we're not so hot for zoos, we like big neat parks and outdoor stuff, and we like shopping at independent and unique stores if we do shop (which isn't all that often).

We will have a rental car, but no bikes. We're willing to drive an hour or so, but not any more - unless it's on the way to Tahoe.
posted by chr1sb0y to Travel & Transportation around Sacramento, CA (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Railroad Museum is usually a pretty big hit with kids, especially boys.
posted by Big_B at 10:21 AM on July 13, 2010

Yeah, seconding the Railroad Museum, especially for boys of that age. It's right next to "Old Sacramento", six or eight blocks of wooden sidewalks and old-timey shops along the river. It's right downtown, and not at all a bad place to spend an afternoon.

Another place that might be worth checking out is Sutter's Fort, a big adobe-walled structure that runs as a "living history" museum. If you go on a Thursday there might be a school group there in costume, cooking and doing craft projects and whatnot, all dressed in 1840s clothes. Sometimes they fire off one of the cannon. It's a pretty low-key place, but if your group is interested in California history, it's a good place to spend a couple hours.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:33 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Railroad Museum. It's a really well done museum with lots of learning but there's also real trains to explore and those wooden trains and tracks to play with. It's in Old Sacramento, so there's a whole neighbourhood of fake Wild West to explore around it.
posted by kyla at 10:37 AM on July 13, 2010

The California State Fair will be going on. It looks like there'll be lots to see there for families.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, California State Fair, for sure. It's awesome. There's carnival rides. There's egg roll on a stick. There's horse racing. There's a cow giving live birth on stage every day. There's canning competitions, and wine competitions, and a marketplace with pitchmen who'd make Vince Shlomi jealous. Definitely Big Fun. It's hot and a bit dusty.

Beyond the Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento offers a variety of slightly hokey frontier town recreation.
posted by Nelson at 10:53 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

nthing Railroad Musuem and Old Sacramento. If you have time, check out Sutter's Fort and/or the Capitol. Also, there's an underground Sacramento tour that occurs sporadically. It's worth a Google to see if you can make it work. (Sacramento raised itself a story in the 1800s due to flooding and the old levels have recently been rediscovered.)

Maybe a ball game at Raley's Field?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:00 AM on July 13, 2010

I totally forgot about the Fair, now that they moved it up. That's a good one too. Also just so you know, it's going to be warm this weekend - 102 I think, but it's a dry heat!
posted by Big_B at 11:16 AM on July 13, 2010

The Capitol park is pretty nice too, but everybody nailed it with Old Sac and the Railroad Museum. It's too bad the Discovery Museum closed. I would also go to the State Fair (I think I actually am this weekend). It's sort of a trip, usually hot as snot, but you can see lots of cool crafts.
posted by kendrak at 11:22 AM on July 13, 2010

I had fun taking my kids to see a historic gold mine at Gold Bug Park in Placerville. Along the same vein, there's Sutter's Mill at the Marshall Gold Discovery Park in Coloma. And if your feeling adventurous, you can try rafting on the American River. I know there are launches out of Lotus.

You're probably taking 50 East to Lake Tahoe. Along the way is Placerville (about 1 hour from Sacramento), and north on highway 49 takes you to Coloma and Lotus.
posted by indigo4963 at 11:28 AM on July 13, 2010

The Railroad Museum is great, as everyone has said, and the State Fair is kind of a no-brainer, too. But if for some reason neither of those appeal, you could also head to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, which is a 45-60 minute drive down I-80 depending on traffic and on where in Sacramento you originate. The tour's free, and so are the jelly bean tastings, and it will be cooler there than it will be outside.

(It's a place that I find horrid, actually, because of all the kids running around on jelly bean highs. But your kids would probably love it.)
posted by mudpuppie at 11:44 AM on July 13, 2010

We're going to be in the triple digits in a few days. I'm very sorry.

There's the Discovery Museum that's off of I-80 and Watt Avenue. There's a planetarium and space center, and a natural science hall as well. And it's cheap.

Oof. Sacramento. It's an amazing place to live but a horrible place to visit. And I don't have kids so I can't think of anything else.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:24 PM on July 13, 2010

There's also the California and Crocker museums. Seconding a Rivercats game if they're in town, lots of fun. There's a water park near Cal Expo (where the state fair is), and one in Roseville. There are lots of parks in the downtown/midtown area, Capitol Park and McKinley. Ceasar Chavez park has a farmer's market on Wednesdays. Old Sacramento has some fun shopping. I love Evangeline's.

There's also a Bodies exhibit in town, near Arden way.
posted by bubsy012 at 5:01 PM on July 13, 2010

I have no idea where you're from, but you're bound to be disappointed by Sacramento culture. The Discovery Museum is embarrassingly small-- you could spend 25 minutes there tops. The Crocker is closed for the Summer.

The basic stuff that other people probably mentioned are:

Raging Waters at Cal Expo
State Fair
Old Sacramento
for your 6 year old: Fairy Tale Town, Funderland
For the 10 year old: RPM Kart Racing

Basic Parks for kids: South Side Park, McKinley Park

Going to the American River: Discovery Park, Rafting

A little more than an hour away, but sort of on the way to Tahoe, there are a series of caves. Worth the drive.
posted by Wayman Tisdale at 8:44 AM on July 14, 2010

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