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Effie Yeaw Nature Center Clem western pond turtle

Kid-Friendly Places in and around Sacramento

After last year’s lockdowns and stay-at-home protocols, families with young children are now looking for “safe” places to stretch their legs, do outdoor activities, or simply get out of the confines of their house. 

 

Here we compile the list of kid-friendly places in and around Sacrament, CA. 

 

(Note: We choose facilities and establishments that offer outdoor areas that make it easy to follow the social distancing protocols.) 

 

Children’s Museum of Sonoma County 

 

Since April, this child-centered museum has opened their outdoor areas on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, between 9 am and 4 pm. While they accept walk-in visitors, it remains ideal that you make a reservation in advance since they limit the number of people to allow for physical distancing protocol. 

 

This beloved museum is known for its child-focused exhibits, including an art studio, science laboratories, learn and play areas for toddlers, and a huge garden. (As of this writing, some of the exhibits are closed.)

 

The outdoor areas include a helicopter playground set, farm stand and raised vegetable beds, a real farm tractor that has been transformed into a kid-proof playground, a sandpit that replicates the Sonoma County coastline, an imagination playground, a mechanical waterplay area, and an interactive butterfly-themed play area. All these areas are part of the Mary Garden exhibit. 

 

Other exhibits include TOTopia, Ella’s Art Studio, and Science & Imagination.  

 

Location: 1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Contact: 707-546-40-69

 

White Rock Splash Park 

 

One of the largest kid-focused, interactive waterplay parks in Northern California, White Rock Splash Park features canons, two water slides, a dump bucket, a spray park, and other similar features. 

 

As a family-friendly water park, it also has an open grass field and two picnic areas. Meanwhile, its amenities include drinking fountains, restrooms and showers, and snack and beverage vending machines. 

 

As of this writing, the water park limits the number of visitors to 30 in line with the local government’s COVID-19 protocol. This means that field trips and large groups are not yet allowed until further notice. 

 

Location: 2729 Prospect Park Drive, Suite 230, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Contact: (phone) 916-842-3300 / (fax) 916-573-3622

 

Effie Yeaw Nature Center 

 

Situated along the American River Parkway in Carmichael, this 100-acre nature preserve includes riparian and oak woodlands, meadows, marshes, and other aquatic habitats. 

 

The nature reserve’s trails are open daily from dawn to dusk, while its center that houses exhibits, a gift store, and resident animals is open between 9 am and 5 pm. (Note: The center is closed on Mondays except on public holidays but excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 

 

Aside from the nature trail, you can also find here a replica of the Nisenan Maidu village whose people lived along the American River before the European settlers arrived. 

 

The nature preserve also houses a natural playground that was built 11 years ago by volunteers. It includes large river rocks and flat cuts of wood from local trees (surrounded by a softwood chip ground cover) where children can climb, jump, and practice their balance. Meanwhile, there are nearby picnic benches where you can rest or have lunch. 

 

In addition, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center has a butterfly garden that exhibits native, drought-tolerant flowering plants and shrubs that attract butterflies such as cabbage white, orange sulfur, monarch, mourning cloak, painted lady, common buckeye, and California hairstreak, to name a few.

 

(Note: The center does not allow bikes, skateboards, dogs, and horses to minimize disturbance to wildlife.)

 

Location: 2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael CA 95608 (The Nature Center is located in Ancil Hoffman Park.)

Contact: (916) 489-4918

 

Sacramento Valley Live Steamers Railroad Museum

 

The SVLSRM features more than 6,300 feet of a railroad line that includes a truss bridge, a girder deck bridge, and wooden trestles. The “kid-sized” train also offers a magnificent view of the American River. 

 

Location: Hagan Community Park PO Box 273 Rancho Cordova, CA 95741

Contact: (916) 361-7140 or info@svlsrm.org

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