California’s capital city of Sacramento is a haven for families. Sac kids love the array of kid-friendly and delicious restaurants, indoor play spaces, museums and more. To highlight everything Sacramento has to offer, we’ve done our homework to find the best activities for parents and kids of all ages. Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor, here are our ideas and suggestions for the best destinations in Sacramento for families and kids.
photo 12019 via pixabay
A City Walking Tour
Many of Old Sacramento’s buildings are either originals or reproductions of the real thing. The Sacramento History Museum walking tour takes you back in time to the mid 1800s when gold was plentiful and women were scarce. The audio tour can hold the attention of kids aged five and up and takes about an hour. With the real-life sound of trains whistling and the clip-clop of hooves from the horse-drawn carriages, it’s easy to imagine the past. Even the trappings of the modern world, like mail boxes and trash cans, are cleverly hidden within period wooden crates.
Sacramento History Museum
Old Sacramento, CA
Old Sacramento Schoolhouse
Before you leave Old Sacramento, walk along the river and take a quick look inside the Old Schoolhouse. It’s free and worth a visit if only to seek out the list of punishments dispensed in a classroom circa 1900. The steepest penalty was 10 lashes for playing cards or misbehaving with girls. Ow!
1200 Front St.
Old Sacramento, CA
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
Head away from the river, past the palm tree-lined Capitol buildings and over to Midtown to visit Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. The fort captures the pioneer spirit of families arriving in wagon trains at the dawn of the California Gold Rush. Check online for special living history days when actors and enthusiasts bring to life the days when John Sutter was in charge of the adobe ranch 150 years ago.
27th and L Streets
Swap Old Sacramento’s horse and carriage rides for Cinderella’s pumpkin at nearby Fairytale Town. This is the perfect excursion for toddlers—it’s a theme park dedicated to fostering imagination and play with 25 playsets based on nursery rhymes and fairytales. Watch the kids run the crooked mile, slide down the Old Woman’s shoe, sit on King Arthur’s throne and pet the farm animals.
3901 Land Park Drive
photo: ATIX via pixabay
California State Capitol Museum
California’s State Capitol is both a museum and the location of the state’s working government. The breathtaking granite building is a beautiful place to explore, and there are exhibits to teach kids the history of Sacramento and its government.
1315 10th St, Room B-27
California State Railroad Museum
This should be the first stop for train-hungry toddlers. Twenty-one locomotives are on display, from steam engines to the 220-mph-bullet train. Hop on a sleeper, walk through the dining carriage or peek into the first class compartment to get a feel for railroad history. After that you’ll want to seek out the half dozen train tables on the second floor. Kids can take their pick from Chuggington, Thomas or Brio sets. If you can tear them away, there’s more to explore: lots of fun artifacts, helpful docents and a movie that chronicles the railroad journey. While the film’s a little outdated, it still captures the cultural impact of these glorious giants.
Second and I Streets
Old Sacramento, CA
Aerospace Museum of California
Little ones more interested in planes than trains will get a kick out of the Aerospace Museum of California, just a short drive northeast of downtown. It houses meticulously-restored aircraft like a B-14 bi-plane and a MIG-17PF, as well as a ride simulator that creates the effect of piloting everything from a WWII bomber to a more modern jet.
3200 Freedom Park Dr.
photo: 12019 via pixabay
William Land Park
This sizable park offers many amenities including a zoo, amphitheater, golf course and ball fields.
1702 Sutterville Rd
This popular park, surrounding the California State Capitol, has trees from around the world and memorials to significant state events.
1300 L St
The McKinley Playground is a colorful custom-designed playground, which is based on East Sacramento’s 125 year old past. It includes an “Alhambra Theater” entry archway, river boat, street trolley, the “Tower” bridge, large tree house, rubber surfacing with animal graphics, large climbing wall and boulders and concrete turtle.
3330 McKinley Blvd
Children and adults alike delight in this zoo’s almost 400 species of wildlife.
3930 W Land Park Dr
Old Sacramento boasts four candy stores within its three block radius. If you make it past Candy Land without going in (good luck, it’s opposite the California State Railroad Museum) or miss the staff handing out flyers for free samples at Candy Barrel, you might want to head downtown to Andy’s Candy Apothecary. The owner promises his selection is the best of the best. Local, national or imported, everything is hand picked to produce a gourmet candy experience.
The Best Upcoming Events for Kids in Sacramento
If you’re looking for events and activities, don’t miss our local Sacramento family events calendar, which has everything from story times to seasonal activities like apple picking, pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms.