Whether you are planning a trip to Sacramento or you already live in the region, California's capital city and its surrounding area make a great destination for spending the day with your kids. Whatever interests you and your family may have, there are numerous opportunities to get out of the house or hotel and try something new. If you are looking for fun things to do in Sacramento with kids, check out this list of 12 excellent activities that are sure to keep the whole family entertained.
To experience underwater life like never before, you do not want to miss out on the SeaQuest Folsom land and sea adventure. Here, you can go snorkeling in tropical water with stingrays, sharks and colorful fish. You can also hang out with a two-toed sloth named Flash and pretend you are in Australian grasslands by spending time with a wallaby. Porcupine, Asian otter and fishy kiss foot exfoliating interactions are also available at this location.
For nurturing your kids' imagination and building confidence while encouraging creative thinking and wonder, plan a visit to the Sacramento Children's Museum. With educational exhibits and programs that align with California's state curriculum standards, children can paint plexiglass walls with tempera paints or sit in specially designed seats within water activity tables. You might finally convince your children that learning can be fun.
Without a doubt, museums make up some of the best things to do in Sacramento with kids. For another exciting option, visit the Sacramento State Railroad Museum. The museum features 21 restored locomotives including steam engines, sleeper trains and a high-speed train that goes as fast as 225 mph. With interesting artifacts, photographs and other memorabilia, visitors can see how old railroaders used to live.
For a more comprehensive look at history, visit the Sacramento History Museum. With historical information about the California Gold Rush and its contribution to the area, this museum is another one you can find in Old Sacramento. If you appreciate architecture, you will love the building which replicates the city's 1854 City Hall and Waterwork building. Featuring Gold Rush and mining exhibits as well as information about fur trapping, local agriculture and the Nisenan and Maidu Indian Nations, there is much to learn.
For an imaginative and safe place for your children to play, learn and explore, Fairytale Town offers a unique escape for young people. This attraction features a 3.5-acre children's play park as well as an outdoor children's museum with a fairytale theme, a petting zoo, and a cafe where parents can relax. For even more entertainment, your family can catch a show on one of its performing arts stages. Take a step out of reality for an afternoon for a refreshing break from your day-to-day obligations.
The city can be nice, but sometimes all the hustle and bustle calls for reconnection to nature when finding things to do in Sacramento with kids. For an award-winning wildlife educational center that features 100 acres of oak trees on the American River Parkway, check out the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. With a natural playscape area, numerous trails to explore different outdoor habitats and a replica village of the Nisenan Maidu native peoples, the center teaches visitors about the region's history and natural environment with emphasis on conservation.
On the other hand, maybe you and the kids need a bit more action. If there are any bowlers in your family, Capitol Bowl offers an award-winning bowling alley that is definitely worth a visit for both novice and experienced bowlers. Featuring flat-screen televisions, live music, delicious food and glow bowling, Capitol bowl is an exciting place to spend the afternoon or to host a party or special event. Depending on your children's ages, there are also league night options available.
When the weather is hot and you want to cool off, pack up the car and take everyone to Raging Waters Sacramento. There are over 25 different attractions including rides, slides and splash pools. You and the kids can have a blast riding the Hurricane and Splashdown or enjoy time in the Breaker Beach Wave Pool and famous Shark Attack Waterslide. For something more relaxing, try the Calypso Cooler Lazy River.
For another chance to get in touch with nature when looking for things to do in Sacramento with kids, be sure to visit the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. If you love birds, it is a birder's paradise with numerous bird species, including songbirds, waterfowl, migratory birds, and birds of prey. Featuring over 16,000 acres of scenic farmland and lush wetland, there are year-round opportunities to catch sight of various feathered creatures.
If you want a different perspective of the city while sitting aboard a one-hour narrative historical cruise, sign your family up for a ride on the Capitol Hornblower. While enjoying the fresh air and seeing Sacramento from the water, you can listen to entertaining stories about the city's past, from the early years of the Gold Rush to the famous Pony Express. You can also explore Old Sacramento before and after your adventure.
If you and your family love outdoor recreation, another must-see destination to consider for a day with the kids is Lake Natoma. Located along the lower American River, Lake Natoma provides the perfect place for kayaking, canoeing, swimming and rowing. Featuring the Sacramento State Aquatic Center which hosts numerous rowing championships, there is even a historic African-American mining camp from the Gold Rush era.
How can you visit the Golden State's capital city without checking out the State Capitol Building? Open to the public for free and often hosting special events, there is a lot of history to appreciate. After going on an educational tour, you and the family can walk over to the nearby Sutter's Fort State Historic Park and learn about the important role it played during the Gold Rush. To complete your day of fun-filled learning, you can then enjoy the numerous food trucks that line up around the street.
When you are looking for fun and exciting things to do in Sacramento with kids, there are many options to choose from. Whether you spend the day on a land and sea adventure of a lifetime at SeaQuest Folsom, take in the area's history at an interesting museum or reconnect with nature at one of the several outdoor activities around Sacramento, there are numerous ways to make memories with your family that can last forever. Remember to bring your camera and call ahead to make reservations so you do not run into any unwanted delays or surprises.