Sacramento Field Trips: Homeschool Favorites
Sacramento is a wonderful place for families to explore, with numerous museums and and nature reserves to get hands on experience with science, history, and culture. Below are 10 of the best Sacramento field trips, which are favorites among area homeschoolers. Which one will be your family’s new favorite?
I’ve also included a review of a wonderful new picture book from an award-winning local author that features Sacramento and its vibrant Mexican-American community.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Sacramento Field Trips: 10 Homeschool Favorites
Below are some of our favorite Sacramento field trips, wonderful for exploring history, science, and culture.
Maidu Museum and Historic Site: The Maidu are among the original inhabitants of Sacramento area. The Maidu Museum has wonderful interactive displays and hands on activities for kids. In addition to the museum itself, you can visit a ancient Nisenan Maidu village and see petroglyphs. In the warm months, there is also storytelling from Maidu elders on select Friday evenings.
Sutter’s Fort: Located in the heart of Sacramento, Sutter’s Fort is of major historical importance not just to the region but to the history of the American migration to the West. It is popular site for families and school field trips because it provides great hands on experiences to help investigate our state’s history. Kids really get a sense of what life was like in those days – from doing laundry and baking bread to what it would have been like to travel cross country with your family in a wagon!
Aerospace Museum of California: Learn all about planes at the Aerospace Museum! Built on the grounds of the former McClellan Air Force Base, the Aerospace Museum consists primarily of a large, open exhibit hall plus outdoor space with 50+ aircrafts. Though they do have an area just for young visitors, the main museum is best enjoyed by older kids.
SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity: MOSAC is one of the newest area museums, dedicated to encouraging curiosity and imagination among its visitors through interactive exhibits about topics like space exploration and climate change. I love that there is plenty to engage children of different ages, including live demonstrations. There is also a state-of-the-art planetarium that runs programs throughout the day.
Crocker Art Museum: The Crocker is a beloved Sacramento institution, and it works hard to be accessible to all ages. There are special programs for very young children, plus several areas of the museum just for kids to play and explore. In addition, there are frequent special events, tours, and classes offered, including periodic homeschool days.
Old Sacramento: This historic part of Sacramento is a fun place to visit with kids, to see what life was like in the time of the Gold Rush. You can take a river cruise, enjoy the old-timey shops, or visit one of several museums, including the State Railroad Museum (always a favorite with kids!) You can find tons of great food, including local favorite Danny’s Mini Donuts.
Sacramento Adventure Playground: The Adventure Playground is a space where kids enjoy hours of messy, open-ended play. This free afterschool program is powered by Fairy Tale Town (another local favorite), and it operates on the principle that imaginations are sparked when kids are provided with raw materials rather than pre-designed play spaces. Adult supervision is provided, but parents are asked to leave, so that children develop a greater sense of independence. In addition to the free after school program, there are also special events and paid homeschool programs.
Effie Yeaw: Step outside of busy city life as you enter the 100 acres of woodland along the American River. The nature trails are all kid-friendly, with interpretive signs along the way. We frequently see deer and wild turkeys, among other wildlife. We usually end our visit by exploring at the Nature Center then enjoying the natural playground and butterfly garden.
Nimbus Fish Hatchery: The Nimbus Hatchery raises Chinook salmon and steelhead for release to the American River. The visitor’s center offers free educational programs, and you can also enjoy the lovely nature trail on site. My son loved looking at the fish ponds (raceways) when he was small. Be aware that the facility, including the parking lot, closes at 3 pm on most days.
Sacramento Capitol and Gardens: You can’t live in the capital of California and not visit the State Capitol! The Capitol itself is an impressive building and has so much history to explore. (Be sure to check out the paintings of the governors, especially Jerry Brown’s first portrait!). But the grounds themselves are also worth the trip, with plants from throughout the state. Our favorite time to visit is at the holidays, when you can enjoy the decorations – including the Christmas tree on the lawn – as well as holiday concerts.
New Picture Book from an Award-Winning Local Author Celebrates Sacramento
I’ve watched Leticia Ordaz as a news reporter for years, so I was thrilled to discover that she is also an award-winning children’s author! The Emmy-nominated anchor is a native of Northern California and is passionate about literacy. Her books, which are inspired by her own children, are helping to change the current statistics, which show low representation of Latinx characters in children’s books, as well as a surprisingly small number of Latinx authors and illustrators.
Mr. Macaw Lost in the Big City is part of a series of bilingual children’s books about two boys and a magical kite passed down from their abuelito. In this installment, the boys decide to sneak Mr. Macaw into their luggage after a trip to Mexico, but everything goes wrong when their suitcase gets mixed up with someone else’s! Will Mr. Macaw find his way back to them? A beautiful story of family ties and dealing with the loss of a loved one. I love how it showcases a loving Mexican/Mexican-American family. As the boys chase the kite through Sacramento, we see popular landmarks like the Tower Bridge and Old Sacramento. Mexican-American culture is also celebrated, as the boys inquire about the kite at a local panadería and talk with a mariachi band.
A wonderful adventure story for the whole family to enjoy. It would be the perfect accompaniment to any of these Sacramento field trips!
Buy Mr. Macaw Lost in the Big City on Amazon.