Parenting is a Journey
An Adventure of Discovery Not Only of our Children But of Ourselves as Well
Would your kid like to walk the aisles of a gently moving night train,with lights passing by in the windows? The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento lets you experience this simulated ride, with a motor moving the sleeping car to make you think you’re really moving.
The train museum offers much more, with many engines to climb on, a mock-up of the famous snow sheds that let trains penetrate through the Sierra during winter and even a hands-on area with every Thomas the Tank Engine toy you ever wanted to play with.
Within walking distance of the train museum (and Old Town Sacramento, if you wish to have lunch in a charming 1800s district with wooden sidewalks) is the Sacramento History Museum, which interprets the city’s history from its Native American beginnings to Gold Rush flushness and beyond. Older kids will want to check out the museum’s Sacramento Underground tour, which explores the city’s original level before it was built upon because of recurring floods.
The Crocker Art Museum is a world-class facility with a strong permanent collection and a varied array of visiting exhibitions. Through the end of October, the exhibit “Plink” is aimed at children, with colors, lights, nature and magic (and involves a virtual component, so you can participate with your computer remotely). Watch for a Diebenkorn exhibit Oct. 8-Jan. 7, among other offerings. The Crocker is great for all ages; check the website in advance to take advantage of art-making programs.
Finally, the capitol building itself is well worth visiting. Take a free guided tour to learn about the legislative chambers, the building’s architecture and artwork—it’s fun to see the gallery of governors’ paintings—and restored historic rooms, like the 1906 offices of “Earthquake Governor” George Pardee. http://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/
On your way back to the Bay Area, you’ll pass through the city of Woodland. Stop at the California Agriculture Museum to see the Heidrick Tractor Collection spanning nearly 90 years of rustic farm equipment yielding to more modern machinery. Learn more about barns, livestock, blacksmithing and even moonshine making. http://www.californiaagmuseum.org/
Don’t forget, Free Museum Day, when access to all of Sacramento’s 28 museums is free, takes place in early February every year.
Erika Mailman is a Northern California freelance writer. Reach her at Erikaeditor@cs.com.