Oct 262021
 
 October 26, 2021  Fall, Northern California, Sacramento, travel Comments Off on Apple Hill: Sacramento Day Trip

Learn more about Apple Hill, a popular fall destination in Northern California! It is an annual tradition for most Sacramento families, with lots of great food, spectacular views, and activities for kids.

Apple Hill Sacramento Day Trip | Alldonemonkey.com

For many families in the Sacramento area, making a trip to Apple Hill is a fall tradition.  In part this is because here in the Sacramento Valley we are “seasonally challenged.”  It’s not that we don’t have seasons, it’s just the two main ones we experience are 1) Incredibly Hot (summer) and 2) Rainy and Cold (winter).  Spring and fall are just brief periods during which the weather jumps back and forth between these two extremes, as if unable to make up its mind.

Apple Hill, CA - Alldonemonkey.com

So for many of us, a day trip up in the mountains to Apple Hill helps us feel like we are experiencing what autumn should be like: cool yet sunny weather, gorgeous fall colors, and apples everywhere you look – in barrels, boxes, and bins, and in cider, tarts, jams, sauces, breads, and – of course – pies.
Apple Hill, CA - Alldonemonkey.com

The Apple Hill Growers – Contact Info and Schedules

Apple Hill is an association of apple orchards, all located within driving and sometimes even walking distance of each other in the towns of Camino, Placerville, and Polluck Pines, California.  But if you think Apple Hill is just about apples, you’d be mistaken.  Most of the orchards feature bake shops and/or craft stores, and many also have small cafés or specialty shops.  And best of all, there are quite a few with activities for kids, such as petting zoos and hay rides (more on this below).  You can even pick your own apples and pumpkins at some of the orchards.

From the association’s main page you can find a complete list of growers, with an interactive map.  They even have pages just for those where you can pick your own apples or pumpkins, and those selling Christmas trees.

Activities for Kids

Every year the association also publishes a complete list of growers offering kids’ activities.  There are pony rides, hay bale mazes, nature trails, crafts, and face painting.  (Please note that some of these activities are only offered on the weekend, and some may involve a small fee).

There are so many orchards at Apple Hill that it is impossible to visit them all in one day.  I have only visited a handful, although I have a friend who makes sure to visit a new orchard every year, with the goal of eventually visiting them all.  She is the person to ask about who has the best pie! (See her recommendations below).

There are so many good spots to visit in Apple Hill.  Here are just some of our favorite places to go:

Apple RidgeApple Hill, CA - Alldonemonkey.com

We always have a good time at Apple Ridge. This is without a doubt my favorite place to visit for those with young children.  When mine were small, they loved running up and down the hill that leads to the petting zoo, where kids can see and even feed goats, sheep, chickens, and bunnies.  There is also a pumpkin patch and a nature trail, plus a tractor to climb on!

This is also where we usually stop to eat, either for a picnic lunch or a sandwich from their café; it is truly beautiful to sit out and enjoy a meal (or pie or cider) under the trees.  This is also a good place to pick up a pie to take home or goodies such jams and sauces.

Denver Dan’s

Denver Dan’s is a great place to take kids, especially if you’d like to pick your own apples.  Don’t be put off by the odd look of the large silver bunker that houses their shop.  This is a really fun place for little ones, and it’s a great spot to buy a whole pie (see recommendations below) or some of the other specialty items. They even do small pie-making classes. Sometimes there is a (very) small petting zoo outside (think llamas!), but for us, the main attraction is the older gentleman who works at the back of the store.  He will let you sample all of the many kinds of jams and jellies they sell (including many flavors you would have never imagined), but he is best known for showing kids how to use the hand-cranked apple peeling gadget mounted on the back table.  He is such a sweetheart and a real character – trust me, he alone is worth the stop!

Delfino Farms (formerly Kids, Inc.)

This is one of the most popular spots in Apple Hill to take kids. You can pick pumpkins, walk on the nature trail, see farm animals, or play in the corn maze.

High Hill RanchApple Hill, CA - Alldonemonkey.com

This is one of the most popular spots in all of Apple Hill, partly because they have such a variety of activities and products, and partly because it is one of the first stops off of the highway.  One of the most popular features is a large fish pond, where you can either feed the fish or catch them with your fishing pole!  There are also ducks wandering around, which my kids love.

A warning, however: If you have a toddler as curious and active as mine were, you may want to hold off visiting High Hill Ranch until they are old enough to not want to run straight into the water (or go before they are old enough to walk!)  My oldest used to love High Hill Ranch, but I found it exhausting, as I spent most of my time chasing him around.  This is especially difficult because the pond is located at the bottom of a steep hill, which he also found very entertaining.

Beyond this, though, High Hill Ranch is a lot of fun.  One of the highlights for us was seeing workers clean and peel the apples in big machines and then making them into cider, which they give out in free samples.

Abel’s Acres

This is another fun spot for kids.  Behind the fully stocked bakery and specialty shops, there are a hay maze, pumpkin patch, and pony rides, plus a large field for running around.

Apple Hill Sacramento Day Trip | Alldonemonkey.com

Boa Vista

Boa Vista is not known for its kids’ activities, although they do have a small area to walk around and pick pumpkins. But it is a very popular spot to stop and enjoy some baked goods or buy jams and sauces.  In fact, now that my kids are older, this is our favorite destination because the food, including a café serving lunch, is really amazing. If you have small ones, keep in mind that there is a busy road running right through Boa Vista, which you have to cross to get to the main picnic tables.

Apple Hill: Plan Your Trip

 

Schedules

If you go to Apple Hill, you must pay attention to the schedule, especially if you are looking for something fun to do with the kiddos.  While some of the locations are open year-round (though often on a limited schedule), many of the orchards only open in the fall (usually September through December).  If you are unsure whether a location will be open, it is best to call ahead before making the drive.

Getting Around Apple Hill

Apple Hill is located in a beautiful area, but this means that once you arrive, your drive will be on narrow, winding roads.  (The drive to and from the area is all on highways).  This makes for a scenic drive, which is lucky because if you go on an autumn weekend, chances are you will spend much of your time in your car, looking out at the fall foliage, since you will be stuck in the traffic from all the other folks driving around on these small roads.

If possible, we go on a weekday morning instead, which makes for a much more relaxed experience with hardly any traffic.

Parking is free at each location, in parking lots of varying sizes, and usually easy to find, although if you go on the weekend, you may have to walk a bit at the most popular spots from the back of the lots.

Keep in mind that cell reception is very spotty throughout Apple Hill, though it has improved. So don’t count on having service until you get back on the highway.

Bathrooms are available at most places, but be aware that this often means a port-a-potty or a tiny stall at the back of a store.  Back when I had little ones, I could never find a changing table, so we always had to do diaper changes in our car.

Costs

Most locations are free to enter, though they may charge for the activities.  In many instances, though, this is fairly minimal – for example, fifty cents for a cup of food to feed the goats at a petting zoo.

Apple Hill Sacramento Day Trip | Alldonemonkey.com

Food in Apple Hill

The main food you can find at Apple Hill are baked goods. Some but not all orchards offer lunch, so we often packed a picnic, and it is easy to find beautiful picnic spots.  We have also found good meals to purchase as well.  Most are casual dining, offering sandwiches, salads, or barbecue that you can eat from paper plates at nearby picnic tables.

So, who really has the best pie in Apple Hill?

Every person you ask has a different opinion, and truthfully, it would be hard to go wrong with any Apple Hill pie.  (Pie is, admittedly, one of my main reasons for going to Apple Hill in the first place!)  But I asked my friend Crystal, who grew up visiting Apple Hill with her family and has now visited nearly every orchard, whose pies she likes best.  Her recommendations?

  1. Bavarian Hills, especially the French (crumble top) apple pies
  2. Denver Dan’s, especially for apple berry pies

Have fun deciding which orchard you think has the best pie (or doughnuts, or breads, or tarts, or cider…)! Let us know in the comments!

Related:

Sacramento for Families

Fall Crafts, Activities, and Books for Kids

Jul 062021
 
 July 6, 2021  California, Northern California, travel Comments Off on Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids

If you are visiting San Francisco or live in the area, be sure to include Alcatraz on your itinerary! It is a fun trip to do with your kids, and really brings history to life. Here are our top tips for visiting Alcatraz for families.

Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids

Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids

Alcatraz is most well known as an infamous prison, but it was also a military garrison as well as the site of one of the most significant political protests of the modern American Indian movement. In addition, it is a spectacular way to experience San Francisco Bay.

Here are our tops tips for visiting Alcatraz for families:

Alcatraz for Families: Top Tips

Park wisely.

Be careful of parking! Choose your parking lot/garage wisely. We parked very close by, and after we had already paid a large sum for all day parking, a bus driver took the time to flag us down, honking at us and warning us to be careful of thieves (!) We moved our car to the middle of the lot, took all our valuables with us, and hoped for the best, but when we returned in the evening, we did see two cars on the perimeter of the lot that had their windows busted out. Next time, we will probably choose a parking garage, even if it means a bit more walking.

Don’t worry, there are bathrooms on Alcatraz and on the ferry! There are also plenty of bathrooms at the dock back on the mainland, which is really convenient if you just drove in from outside the city.

Buy your tickets ahead of time.

Tours of Alcatraz sell out weeks ahead of time, so buy your tickets early. You will find plenty of companies offering tours: We chose Alcatraz Cruises because they are an official vendor with the National Park Service. You can find all the most up-to-date information about the tours on their website.

Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Plan on 3-4 hours.

There is a lot to see on Alcatraz, so allow for plenty of time on the island. The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes each way, and you need to queue up 20-30 minutes ahead of your departure time. (You won’t miss the boat if you get in line later, but you may not have a place to sit). On Alcatraz, the main attraction is the tour of the cells, plus there are special exhibits and gardens to see. We arrived on the 1 pm ferry (easy to do if you are coming from Sacramento, as we were), and left on the 4:25 pm ferry back to San Francisco. From there it is an easy walk to Pier 39, where you can have a bite to eat, look at the shops, or (if it’s the right season) see the sea lions.

Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Pack food.

Food and beverage (other than water) are not allowed on the ferry or most of the island, but they are allowed at the dock. Since you’ll be spending several hours at Alcatraz, I recommend at least packing snacks. (Keep in mind that as of this writing there isn’t any food for sale on Alcatraz either). We packed a light lunch and ate it on some of the benches looking out over the bay. It is a nice place to take a breather and enjoy the view.

Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Wear layers.

San Francisco is notorious for its changeable weather, which can be quite cool even in the middle of summer. We were there in July, and it was cold, especially on the island! The best thing to do is wear layers. If the sun comes out, you can always shed a layer or two, but you are going to want some good jackets for most of your time on Alcatraz.

Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Wear good walking shoes.

There is a lot of walking on Alcatraz, and most of it involves hills. My husband and I didn’t have any problems (except I wished I had brought my real sneakers instead of my cute ones), but the kids needed to have some breaks in the walk up to the main cell block.

Everything on the island is wheelchair accessible. They even have a special shuttle service for those with mobility issues, but this does not include those with small children. So if you have little ones, be sure to bring a stroller or carrier.

Don’t miss the audio tour.

When I asked my kids what their favorite part of Alcatraz was, the audio tour of the cells won hands down. You can either use the devices available there, or download the app on your phone once you arrive. The tour really brings history to life, as you walk down the corridors and peer into the cells (you can even walk into some!) hearing the voices of former prisoners and guards.

Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Have you ever visited Alcatraz?

Related Posts:

Sacramento for Families

Sonoma Mission with Kids

18 Most Picturesque Places to Visit in Northern California with Your Family

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California

Nov 092018
 
 November 9, 2018  music, Sacramento 4 Responses »

Did you grow up singing along to “Down by the Bay” or help your kids “Shake My Sillies Out” to Raffi’s infectious tunes? Then you won’t want to miss his live show, coming soon to a city near you! I’ve got all the concert details, plus a giveaway for my Sacramento readers, so just keep scrolling down while you eat, eat, eat your “Apples and Bananas”!

Raffi Live in Concert in Sacramento - Giveaway! | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the music below and tickets to the concert 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. 

For four decades Raffi has delighted audiences at his concerts and through his numerous albums, and now is your chance to share his music live with your little ones! Raffi is on tour now, singing from his beloved classics as well as his brand new 15-song album, Dog On The Floor (see my full review). Proceeds from his concerts benefit the Centre For Child Honoring.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see Raffi live in concert! For my Sacramento readers, scroll to the end to see how you can enter to win your own tickets!

Remaining dates are as follows:

Sunday, November 24, 2018 – Sacramento, CA – Crest Theatre – 1:00 PM (SOLD OUT), 4:00 PM

Sunday, November 25, 2018 – Glendale, CA – Alex Theatre – 1:00 PM

Saturday, January 19, 2019 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Theatre – 1:00 PM

Sunday, January 20, 2019 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Parker Playhouse – 1:00 PM

Saturday, March 2, 2019 – Calgary, AB – Jack Singer Concert Hall – 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM

Sunday, March 3, 2019 – Edmonton, AB – Winspear Centre – 1:00 PM

Saturday, March 16, 2019 – Tucson, AZ – Fox Theater – 1:00 PM

Sunday, March 17, 2019 – Mesa, AZ – Mesa Arts Center – 1:00 PM

Saturday, April 6, 2019 – Hamilton, ON – First Ontario Concert Hall – 1:00 PM

Sunday, April 7, 2019 – Montreal, QC – Maisonneuve Theatre – 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM

Sunday, April 14, 2019 – Victoria, BC – Royal Theatre – 1:00 PM

Saturday, September 28, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – National Arts Centre – 1:00 PM

Sunday, September 29, 2019 – Mississauga, ON – 1:00 PM

Find more details for the Sacramento concert as well as other stops in the tour.

Raffi Live in Concert in Sacramento Giveaway!

And now for our giveaway for Sacramento readers! Enter to win a pair of tickets to his November 24, 4 pm show in Sacramento! Just comment below to let us know your family’s favorite Raffi song!

Giveaway ends Thursday, November 15, 2018 at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random selection. Must be able to attend 4 pm show on November 24, 2018.

Jul 242018
 
 July 24, 2018  activities, Sacramento Comments Off on Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove

Looking for a fun play to take your kids when it’s just too hot outdoors? Here is our experience at a local indoor playground for young kids, where little ones can explore and enjoy no matter what the weather. And even better, local readers can win free passes in our #SummerFunSac challenge on Instagram, so don’t miss out!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: We received complimentary passes to Imagine Play of Elk Grove for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove

Imagine Play of Elk Grove is an indoor playground for young children and a haven for parents and caregivers wanting to give kids a safe place to play and explore. Everything is perfectly sized for little ones and designed to spark imaginative play and sensory fun.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

My toddler and I recently had a chance to visit, and she had an absolute ball! As the youngest of three, she reveled in having a play space full of toys and equipment designed just for younger children!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

There was a castle with stairs to climb and a ball drop built into the side, a pirate ship, a grocery store set up, and more hands on, open ended toys than I have room to list.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

And as if that weren’t enough, they also have art and sensory activities offered every hour on the half hour in a connecting room. My daughter loved playing with the kinetic sand!

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.comIndoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Just be warned that if you bring a child to Imagine Play, they will not want to leave! Luckily, you can bring in a packed lunch and drinks (not in the main play area, but in the adjacent seated area), or purchase snacks, juice boxes, and water.

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Parents must be present and supervising their children, but the space is designed so that you can comfortably do this from the seated area, while enjoying your complimentary coffee 🙂

Indoor Playground for Young Kids: Imagine Play of Elk Grove | Alldonemonkey.com

Can’t get enough? You could become a member, or host a party!

We loved our time at Imagine Play in Elk Grove, a wonderfully imaginative indoor playground for young children. Be sure to stop by, and don’t forget you could win free passes when you enter our Sacramento Summer Fun IG challenge!

Jun 192018
 
 June 19, 2018  Sacramento Comments Off on Sacramento Family Fun: Southside Park

One of my goals for this summer is to get out and explore the Sacramento area with my kids. It’s the whole reason I created the #SummerFunSac challenge on Instagram, to encourage others to do the same (and to commit myself publicly, so I’d follow through!) I’m happy to share with you today one of our great discoveries – Southside Park in downtown, beloved to Sacramento residents for many years and a new favorite for us. If you are looking for Sacramento family fun, you won’t want to miss it!

Sacramento Family Fun: Southside Park

Be sure to check out all of our Sacramento adventures, plus follow along on Instagram!

Features

The biggest attraction for my kids was the adventure playground! We loved the outer space theme and how the playground equipment itself had different features than what we typically see in neighborhood parks. And I always appreciate it when there is separate equipment for younger and older children, plus accessible ramps and handrails.

There was so much to climb on and connecting walkways that it reminded me of the Ewok village from Star Wars – kids can spend so much time playing without their feet ever touching the ground!

Sacramento Family Fun: Southside Park | Alldonemonkey.com

But by far my kids’ favorite part was the GINORMOUS sand pit! This is wonderful for open ended play for kids of all ages. My five year old and eight year old spent just as much time in here (perhaps more) than my two year old.

Sacramento Family Fun: Southside Park | Alldonemonkey.com

There is so much to do at the playground that we could easily come every day for a week without anyone getting bored!

Sacramento Family Fun: Southside Park | Alldonemonkey.com

While they were focused on the playground, however, I was enjoying all the big, shady trees and the view of the lake – you can even go fishing!

There are also a swimming and wading pool and a jogging trail, plus an amphitheater (though no alcohol is permitted).

Parking

One thing I was curious about and had trouble finding a definitive answer for ahead of time was about parking. Since Southside Park is in downtown Sacramento, I wanted to know if I needed to have quarters with me for the meters. In the end, I took them, but it turns out that you don’t necessarily need them. While much of the parking around the park is metered (and at least the ones we saw didn’t take cards), there is free parking right in front of the playground area. So in most cases you do not need to worry about having change with you, though I’m sure that on busy weekends you may still have to use metered parking.

Find out more about Southside Park on the City of Sacramento website. Do you have a favorite park for Sacramento family fun?

Jun 042018
 
 June 4, 2018  Sacramento, Summer Comments Off on Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge

The Sacramento area has so much to offer for families! This summer, get out and explore the River City with your kids by taking part in our #SummerFunSac Instagram challenge: You could win one of our great prizes, while celebrating Sacramento summer fun with your family! Read on for more details on this fun Instagram challenge.

Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge June & July 2018 #SummerFunSac

Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge: #SummerFunSac

Looking for a fun way to get out and explore the Sacramento area with your family this summer? Join in our #SummerFunSac Instagram challenge and giveaway, running this June and July and celebrating all the ways families have fun in the River City in the summertime!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

How to Participate:

It’s easy!

  1. Post a photo(s) of you and/or your family having fun in the Sacramento area this summer! All photos must be family friendly and include the #SummerFunSac hashtag.
  2. Follow me on Instagram.
  3. Follow the sponsor of the week on Instagram, if applicable (see sponsor list below).

Just think: you could go for a hike, stop by your local library, go to a museum, or just relax in the backyard!

Drawings will be held every Monday, choosing a random winner from the photos posted the previous week (Monday – Sunday).

The Prizes

I know, I know – You’re saying, just get to the good stuff already! What could we win?? I’m proud to say that all of the sponsors are local companies or events, so let’s show them some love!

June 4 – 10 (drawing June 11)

Sponsor: Sac Town Kids (@sactownkids)
Prize: a copy of their new book 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart) (read my review), plus one of their denim book bags, which reads, “All good things are wild and free.” -Henry David Thoreau.

June 11 – 17 (drawing June 18)

Sponsor: Fandemic Tour Comic Con (@fandemictour)
Prize: Pack of tickets to Comic Con, in Sacramento June 22-24, 2018! (See our review from a previous year)

June 18 – 24 (drawing June 25)

Sponsor: Pure Romance (@sizzlethefizzle)
Prize: Love Story body lotion

June 25 – July 1 (drawing July 2)

Sponsor: Mighty Kong Muffins
Prize: Pack of gourmet bran muffins (read our review)

July 2 – 8 (drawing July 9)

Sponsor: Upside Over Designs
Prize: $20 gift certificate

July 9 – 15 (drawing July 16)

Sponsor: Aerospace Museum of California (@aerospaceca)
Prize: Family pack of tickets

July 16 – 22 (drawing July 23)

Sponsor: Elite Bakery Cafe (@jasminematsoyan)
Prize: Coffee and dessert/pastry

July 23 – 29 (drawing July 30)

GRAND PRIZE
Sponsor 1: Fit4Mom Sacramento (@fitformomsacramento)
Prize 1: free one month unlimited membership for Stroller Strides & Stroller Barre

Sponsor 2: Imagine Play (@imagineplayeg)
Prize 2: Two play passes

Sponsor 3: Usborne Books and More Consultant Christina Garcia
Prize 3: $25 credit to be redeemed through this consultant only (shipping not included), plus a special offer if you choose to purchase more.

So start snapping photos, and you could be featured in my Instagram feed or win one of the fabulous prizes listed above! How will you showcase Sacramento summer fun this summer?

 

Mar 302018
 
 March 30, 2018  activities, Sacramento 2 Responses »

If you have kids that love airplanes, you won’t want to miss visiting the Aerospace Museum of California! Read more about our experience, plus learn about an incredible new resource for Sacramento families!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Aerospace Museum of California

My kids are fascinated by all things that go, so I was excited to take them to the Aerospace Museum of California, located right here in Sacramento!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Highlights

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!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Weather permitting, several of these are open every day for visitors to explore. When we visited, we got to climb aboard the “Jolly Green Giant,” a helicopter from the Vietnam War; a FedEx delivery plane; a Coast Guard aircraft; and (my favorite) a World War II era plane that flew supply missions during the invasion of Europe. Nothing teaches you history like being inside the actual aircraft that took part!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Sutter’s Fort – Sacramento History for Families

Back inside, there are even more aircraft (and engines) to see, plus rotating exhibits on different topics – the current exhibit is the Art of the Airport Tower. My kids loved getting into the training craft – which were actually used to train pilots – and pretending they were flying a plane!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

My oldest son’s favorite part, though, was the Morphis Simulator Ride. It is a mini-theater inside of an aircraft, which moves as you watch a short film about flight or space. (This is an additional cost from admission).

If you bring a toddler, you will need to watch them like a hawk in the main exhibit areas. Many of the aircraft on the exhibit floor are marked off with just a chain – an obvious “no touching” signal for most people, but not for a curious toddler! I actually ended up putting my two year old in a stroller as we went through these areas. Luckily there are several areas set up just for kids where she was able to play and really get a more hands on experience. She loved climbing up into the mini-aircraft and playing with the controls!

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

There is a small but well-stocked Kids Zone upstairs geared toward younger children. It is gated but open to the main exhibit floor so that parents can relax and enjoy the view while their kids are enjoying themselves with the many airplane-themed puzzles, toys, and art stations.

What made the visit special for me was chatting with the docents. These older gentlemen are so knowledgeable and really have a love for the aircraft. One told me that every time his wife goes to an outlet mall, he finds an airport to visit – win win! And they are all so patient with children and love to answer questions, so be sure to take advantage of this amazing resource!

Related Post: Sacramento Day Trip – Sonoma Mission

Planning Your Visit

How long you will spend here really depends on your child’s age and level of interest. My 5 year old was ready to leave after about an hour and a half, whereas my 8 year old could have easily stayed longer than the 2 hours we were there.

Aerospace Museum of California {Sacramento for Kids} | Alldonemonkey.com

Luckily Freedom Park is right next door, so I recommend packing a lunch (there’s nowhere to eat close by) and having a nice picnic lunch and playtime at the park after the museum or to break up a longer visit. (You can exit and re-enter the museum). Keep in mind that this park is one of the few in Sacramento without a shade cover, so it gets very hot in warm weather, so you’ll want to make sure you visit it earlier in the day during the summer.

I definitely recommend visiting the Aerospace Museum of California for hands on, real world learning about aviation!

Sacramento for Kids

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book 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 charge to you.

Long-time readers know how much I love to get out an explore the Sacramento area with my kids, but not having grown up here, I sometimes feel at a disadvantage. No more! Now I have in my hands an incredible new resource for families in Sacramento. No matter what your children’s interests or ages, you will find tons of ideas for family fun in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart).

Whether you love nature or art, sports or festivals, you will find lots to enjoy in 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart)! I also love that the book includes activities that encompass a wide range of ages, so this book can be enjoyed by your family for many years to come.

At first I wished that the book were organized into themes, but I’ve come to appreciate the intentional randomness of the list. As the author notes, often the best adventures are actually a tangent from what you meant to do! This book is great for spring break or weekend adventures. My kids and I had a lot of fun just flipping through the book to see which ones we have done and just how many we have left to do! (The Aerospace Museum is #36 on the list, by the way!)

1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart) is the ultimate bucket list for Sacramento families. I can’t wait for all of the adventures ahead of us!

You can find the book on Amazon or check out the website and now even the app (available on Apple and Google Play).

Dec 142017
 
 December 14, 2017  activities, family, food, Sacramento Comments Off on 3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids

As parents, life can get so busy that often we have to stop and catch our breath and wonder, where did the time go? I always look forward to spending time with my kids, but practically speaking I actually spend most of my time running errands and doing household chores. Someone is always tugging on my leg asking to play freeze tag or build a fort in the living room, but I usually put them off because there is always a diaper to change, or a meal to cook, or laundry to fold. Trust me, I would much rather build a pillow fort! If you also find yourself struggling to find time to enjoy your family, here are three simple ways to reconnect with your kids – even when you are really busy!

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Mighty Kong Muffins for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids – Even When You Are Really Busy!

1. Take Play Breaks

My four year old could play freeze tag all day long. From the moment he wakes up until time to brush his teeth at night, anytime there is a pause in activity (and usually when there isn’t), he asks to play freeze tag. Somehow it always seems like he asks just as I need to change a diaper or when I’m in the middle of cooking. Rather than put him off completely, I try to take short play breaks with him. Be realistic about how much time you have, then set a timer and give your child your focused attention – no checking Facebook, no picking up toys off the floor, or straightening the furniture – just playing with him.

For me, this is usually 10 or 15 minutes at a time on a weekday. (I make sure to do non-timed, longer play times together on the weekends, but these are usually not practical during the week).  This seems like a really short amount of time, but it always seems surprisingly long, considering I am really focusing on him and not multi-tasking like I usually do.

It doesn’t stop him from asking to play again 5 minutes later, but he is more understanding when I have to say no, and I feel less guilty about getting my work done.

2. Play a Game after Dinner

Our kids get screen time in the evenings, yet we noticed that this often resulted in a race to leave the dinner table and get back to electronics. So now we have instituted the rule that we play a game (or do a puzzle, etc) after dinner before we all retire to our corners to relax before bedtime. The kids love it, especially since Daddy is home to join in as well, so no one is watching the clock and rushing to leave the table. As much as I love game nights, this abbreviated version works for us during the week, so we can still get in play time together as a family and make sure we really reconnect with our kids in the evenings.

3. Do Read Alouds

We all know how important it is to read together, and most of us tend to do this at bedtime, which is such a snuggly, cozy time to share a good story. Yet I noticed that we tend to do this with our kids individually (as they all go to bed at slightly different times), plus the stories tend to be shorter because of the late hour.

I loved that old-fashioned idea of a family sitting around reading a great book together, so I started doing family read alouds during the day. It is wonderful bonding time, plus it is a great way to engage kids with slightly more challenging material or to read stories they might not have considered. For example, a younger child might be more inclined to stick with an easy chapter book because of the excitement of reading with older siblings, and another might be surprised to find that they like a story outside of the genre they tend to favor. (For great reading ideas, see my book reviews!)

I have found that the easiest way to keep everyone’s attention, despite the range of ages and interests, is to involve food. Give the kids something to eat at the table, and they are more likely to be sitting quietly and listening as you read. As homeschoolers, we can often do our read alouds over lunch, but it’s also a great way to relax together over an after school snack. This is especially true if you have a child that doesn’t like to sit and talk when they first come home – here is a great way to reconnect with your kids without forcing conversations they aren’t ready for.

Finding a Great Snack to Share

We have recently discovered a new favorite snack, which is perfect to share during our family read aloud. While we do have the occasional treat, I am rather picky about making sure my kids have healthy snacks. So I was excited to find out about Mighty Kong Muffins, a family-run and locally-owned Sacramento business that makes the most delicious gourmet bran muffins in a staggering 22 varieties. (See their interview on a local news show).

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Might Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I know what you’re thinking: Gourmet bran muffins? Yes, it’s true! The ingredients are all high-quality and non-GMO, with fresh fruits and nuts and high grade dark chocolate. You won’t find any flour in these muffins – or any preservatives or artificial ingredients, for that matter. These mini-muffins are a great snack you can feel good about sharing with your kids.

We received a variety pack of the Mighty Kong Muffins and so had fun sampling four different flavors: Ape Dates (date walnut), Naner Naner (banana walnut), Wapple Apple (apple raisin), and the seasonal Rumplepumpskin (cranberry pumpkin). (Note: all flavors are available without nuts). My younger son loved the Wapple Apple, which my older son couldn’t decide between the Ape Dates and the Naner Naner. Personally, I loved the Rumplepumpskin. In other words, every single one was a hit!

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Mighty Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Healthy and Fun Lunchbox Ideas

Which flavor will become your favorite? Check out Mighty Kong Muffins and order yours today!

What’s your favorite way to reconnect with your kids?

Oct 172017
 
 October 17, 2017  History, Sacramento 5 Responses »

During my parents’ last visit, I wanted to show them a part of Sacramento they hadn’t seen before, so we picked Sutter’s Fort, a site in the heart of Sacramento that 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. It is so convenient that it’s easy to make into one stop in a larger tour of the area, but there is so much to explore at Sutter’s Fort that we ended up spending the better part of a morning there.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Sutter’s Fort: Sacramento History for Families

History of Sutter’s Fort

If you travel in Northern California, you are bound to come across the name “Sutter.” There are the Sutter Buttes (named “Spirit Mountain” by the Maidu Indians) and Sutter County, and of course Sutter’s Mill, made famous by the discovery of gold there in 1848. All of these were named after John Sutter, a Swiss immigrant who received a land grant from the Mexican government in 1839. The settlement he established (named New Helvetia, or New Switzerland) was the first in Sacramento and the first non-native settlement in California’s Central Valley.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Soon after gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, Sutter sold his fort and left, and it was later overrun by gold seekers. In 1871, a movement began to restore the site. and the reconstructed fort was opened to the public in 1905.

We were most interested in the connection between Sutter’s Fort and the Donner Party, which my son is fascinated by. In 1846 the Donner Party set out for California, but because of a late start and a tragic miscalculation in taking an untested shortcut, they arrived at the Sierra Nevada mountains too late in the season and were trapped in a blizzard. They were forced to make camp for the winter, and many soon began to die of starvation. It was five months before all were rescued, and many resorted to cannibalism. Only 45 of the original 81 members of the Donner Party survived.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

When the plight of the Donner Party first became known, John Sutter sent help, and the survivors were eventually brought to Sutter’s Fort to recuperate. Among the artifacts on display at Sutter’s Fort today are items from the Donner Party, including the doll of young Patty Reed.

Many other artifacts from early California history are also on display, some of which can be seen in this online exhibit. They showcase the Gold Rush era, early California statehood, and the Civil War.

Planning Your Visit

Sutter’s Fort is located in midtown Sacramento at 2701 L Street. Parking is available on the streets surrounding the fort, so be sure to bring quarters for the meters. There is a grassy field surrounding the fort if your little ones need to burn off a little energy afterwards.

Be aware that the site consists of a number of buildings surrounding a large open courtyard, so while most of the exhibits are inside, you will spend a lot of time walking outdoors, so you need to plan accordingly in inclement weather.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

As you enter the complex, you’ll be able to visit displays in the various buildings around the fort, such as the general store or the smithy. We had a great time talking to the blacksmith, and my son even got to go in and give him a hand!

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

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! My kids really loved climbing up in the tower to see the cannons, which were hung from the ceiling in such a way that they could swing around to point in various directions to protect the fort from attackers.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Keep in mind that Sutter’s Fort does host demonstration days and fairs periodically, so check the calendar before you come. You can even come to the “Haunted Fort” just before Halloween! We got lucky and happened to be there on a day with a large school group, so there were even more interactive exhibits than usual.

Also, they work closely with school groups and scout troops, so be sure to contact them if you’d like to plan a visit with a group of students. One program even lets the kids stay overnight!

If you are looking for an interactive history experience, we highly recommend Sutter’s Fort! For more information, visit the state park website or the Friends of Sutter’s Fort.

Many thanks to my parents, who kindly allowed me to use their photographs above.

For more Sacramento fun for families, be sure to visit my Pinterest board:

California Family Destinations

Today we are joining with other California bloggers to share favorite family destinations in the Golden State! Find great resources in this list, plus link up your own below!

Participating Blogs

All Done Monkey: Sutter’s Fort – Sacramento History for Families
Family Review Guide: Ultimate Family Vacation Guide to Marriot Desert Springs Villas
The Funny Mom Blog: Tips for Picking the Perfect Airbnb in Big Bear Lake for Your Family
Mama Smiles: Jelly Belly Factory Tour & More California Fun for Kids
The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide: Free or Cheap Activities for Kids in the Hi-Desert of California
Little Hiccups: Kid-Friendly Fun in the Bay Area


Aug 302017
 
 August 30, 2017  activities, Sacramento 9 Responses »

Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy will be excited to know that a new Marvel Universe Live! show is coming to Sacramento in September! This exciting new show, which will be at the new Golden 1 Center from September 14-17, 2017, will feature Guardians of the Galaxy and more than 20 favorite Marvel super heroes and villains!

Marvel Universe Live Age of Heroes Giveaway & Coloring Page | Alldonemonkey.com

We are big fans of Marvel Universe Live and can’t wait to see a new show at the Golden 1 Center! And best of all, you can win a family pack of 4 tickets to opening night just be commenting on this post and telling us your kid’s favorite Marvel super hero (or villain)!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to this show for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Don’t miss the action-packed adventure of Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes. Spider-Man and The Avengers will be joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax. Witness a legendary battle to defend the universe from evil, in this newest production from Feld Entertainment, the world’s leading producer of live touring family entertainment.

What: Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes, featuring Guardians of the Galaxy
When: September 14-17, 2017: Thursday, Sept 14, 7:00 PM; Friday, Sept 15, 7:00 PM; Saturday, Sept 16, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM; Sunday, Sept 17, 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM
Where: Golden 1 Center, 500 David J Stern Walk, Sacramento, CA 95814
Tickets: Tickets start at $20 each! Discount Opening Night tickets available for only $15 each on select seating  (not valid for premium/VIP levels)

Grab your free Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes Coloring Page to get ready for the show!

This September, take your kids out for a show with non-stop action, movie-style thrills and amazing stunts! Immersive video projection and cutting-edge special effects will captivate and transport audiences across the universe from the fantastical Savage Land to New York City and beyond. Spider-Man and Wasp’s dynamic aerial stunts along with Captain America’s daring motorcycle skills will be on display in the ultimate race against time to save mankind.

Tickets now available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the venue Box Office.

*Ticket prices subject to change; tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees. 

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes will travel throughout North America on a multiyear tour, including stops in Denver, Las Vegas, Bay Area, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and New York.  After North America, the show will embark on an international tour starting in 2019. For a complete list of North American tour dates, locations and to purchase tickets, please visit MarvelUniverseLIVE.com.

Enter for a chance to win a family pack of 4 tickets to opening night on September 14: Comment below and tell us your child’s favorite Marvel super hero or villain! Winner chosen at random. Contest ends September 6, 2017, at midnight PT. 

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial