Crocker Art Museum in downtown Sacramento is one of the adventures my grandson and I enjoy together. We started visiting when Cal just started walking, and he loved going up and down the stairwells and walking along the long corridors. He was afraid of the elevators but loved looking at the sculptures and glass sculptures in the stairwells. The museum is a quirky mix of old mansion and new museum connected by long ramps–perfect for toddler legs to run along. Now he confidently explores all parts of the museum.
Tot Land on the ground floor of the old mansion is always a popular stop. There are a number of structures and activities to keep people under 5 busy. Over the years there have been additional exhibits for kids and by kids. There are also art programs for Wee Wednesdays (ages 3-5) and Artful Tots (19-36 months)–check the calendar for specific dates.
If your child guests are older than 5, you may want to use the Story Trail books available at the admission desk to go on a museum art scavenger hunt.
The cafe has a variety of foods. We bring our own kid snacks and I get a beverage or light snack and relax (briefly) in the light filled dining space.
It is worth a membership to make more frequent trips easy. Then if you are having a fussy day, you don’t worry about a short visit. If you are trying it out for the first time, your visit is free for children under 5, and costs youth to 17 $6, seniors and students $8, and adults $12. Your entrance is good all day and it is walking distance to Old Sacramento, so you may combine your activities.
This weekend I spent Saturday afternoon enjoying what my hometown has to offer. Sacramento has invested in protected bike lanes and traffic safety. And now the Jump scooters and electric bike programs are fully implemented. I rode my own cruiser round town and couldn’t help but smile at the number of people enjoying the bright red Jump scooters and bikes. Why not? The sun was shining and a light breeze kept the temperature in the 80’s. Trees are leafing out on every avenue, roses around the capitol are heavy in bloom, and the rivers are running full.
I cycled across Midtown to my favorite local spot, Easy on I, for a brunch steak with breakfast potatoes (yum!). Then I traveled across 16th Street into downtown. Families were excitedly headed to the Convention Center for the Lego event. Young girls in white were posing for photos after their first communion, wedding parties set digital memories in front of the Capitol, and a poker tournament was getting underway at Morton’s.
I stopped in the middle of Capitol Mall to check out the Jorge Marin “Wings of the City” statues. One is designed for taking photos to look as if you have just touched down from your own flight over the capitol. The other two are interesting and part of an exhibit sponsored by the City of Sacramento, the Mexican Consulate and the Jorge Martin Foundacion. There are nine monumental pieces of bronze sculpture located around the perimeter of the capitol.
My destination was the River Walk Park in West Sacramento. It is just across the Tower Bridge (on the other side of the river from Old Sacramento state park). The City of West Sacramento has done a great job developing their side of the Sacramento River. I was going to listen to my friend Nailah Pope-Harden speak at the March for Science. It made a great setting, but I wondered if participation was dampened at all by people who aren’t familiar with the River Walk Park. It was my first visit.
I cycled home thinking how wonderful our city is for young people, families, and old farts like me. Next weekend Sacramento will be hosting the Tour of California bike race. We will welcome bicycling professionals and their fans to our fair city. See you soon.
I have a beloved toddler grandson and he and I go on adventures most Friday mornings. He likes being outside so we rotate between the Sacramento Zoo, Effie Yeaw Nature Area, and McKinley Park. About 6 months ago we went to the California State Railroad Museum one afternoon about 3:00 p.m. We had to park some distance from the museum and walk past the horse drawn carriages. So we rode the carriage and had them drop us at the museum. Then we became fascinated with the wooden sidewalks, the cobblestones, the full size caboose by the river, then the river, then the turntable for turning engines. By the time we made it back to the museum it was almost closing.
This time we got there as it opened at 10 a.m. Staying outside was not an option as the smoke from the Camp Fire (Paradise, 2018) was just too great to stay outdoors. When we walked through the entrance Cal saw a train engine and his smile was huge. He was so excited he was starfishing with his hands. When the greeter asked if anyone was a member or wanted to become a member I knew I might as well invest right away.
Admission is $12 per adults, $6 per child 6-17, free for children 5 and under. Memberships start at $30 per year, so it is worth considering. The museum is open daily from 10a.m.-5p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
I used to bring my children here about 25 years ago. My son and daughter were not as excited about trains as my grandson clearly is. At the urging of the greeter we went directly up the stairs to the 3rd floor to where the model trains are displayed. There is also a “toy room” where wee people (ages 2-5) can play with wooden train sets. I was concerned that Cal would never willingly leave. He was over the moon.
We did eventually make it back to the ground floor to climb aboard all kinds of train engines and train cars. We saw a mail car, a sleeper, and a dining car. When we climbed up to the biggest engine we found our family friend Tom! He volunteers as a docent 2 days a week. He loves trains and he clearly enjoyed telling people about this engine. In fact, I believe the museum has more volunteers than any venue in Sacramento and they definitely make the experience.
We will be returning often.
P.S. The gift shop is also a great place to find things for the train enthusiast. You can shop without paying admission.
We were not sure what to expect. I signed up for The Urban Bike Adventure via Amazon Local and only received a ticket. The website was equally vague. Honestly I had forgotten that I bought the tickets some months ago, and then it popped up on my calendar. I recruited my friend Alison and team “Sactown Friends” was ready to go.
The Urban Bike Adventure (TUBA) team made full use of social media. We received text message updates; advance clues were provided via Twitter and Instagram, and they encouraged people to bring a computer or digital camera (practically speaking: a smart phone will do). Bike helmets are required so Alison purchased hers just the day before and forgot to take off the tag. We decided it added to her look! We arrived at the pizza place Hot Italian at 16th and O Streets in Sacramento about 11:30 a.m. We registered and we were none the wiser about what to expect. We sized up the crowd and felt reassured that this event did not require one to be a Serious Cyclist.
We got our Clue Sheet at noon and interpreted the instructions to “be sure to read all of the clues and directions carefully” as permission to solve the clues and plan our route for fastest time. We had a great time and it reminded us of a Young Life event.
Everyone in the team has to be in the photos so it forced us to ask for help from other teams and strangers. The clues took us to Old Sacramento and Land Park and I learned Sacramento is very busy on the weekend!
We had to recruit a stranger to sing for us as we did background moves (I promised Alison the video would not end up on YouTube!). We probably bicycled about 15 miles over the 2:09 it took us to complete the tasks. We did not expect to be competing for a top prize and yet we were among the top 20 teams!
I also learned that there is a Funderland next to the zoo and Fairytale Town. How did I escape going there with my children?
Here is a sample clue: “Sacramento is also nicknamed “The Big Tomato” for its role in the tomato canning industry. Find a tomato and take a team picture with it.”
The event takes place around the country and $2 of every entry goes to the Wounded Warriors nonprofit.
We definitely recommend this event for friends, families or co-workers who want to team build. We are looking forward to next year.