Sacramento offers a wealth of fun things to do for the whole family with many kid-centric attractions and activities. The sunny city is sprinkled with a land of fairytales, a train museum, a science center and planetarium, a children’s museum and art studio, as well as enough candy stores to keep the little ones happy. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Sacramento State Railroad Museum
© Sacramento State Railroad Museum
The California State Railroad Museum is a must for train-hungry toddlers and their families. Located in located in Old Sacramento, the museum features 21 beautifully restored locomotives on display, ranging from steam engines and sleeper trains to the 220-mph-bullet train. Other exhibits include artifacts, ephemera, and photographs from the museum's collection, the lives of railroaders and the diversity of people who work on railroads, and a large-scale mockup of a construction scene high the Sierra Nevada known as the ‘Sierra Scene.’ Visitors can explore a sleeper carriage by walking through the dining carriage and discovery what first-class travel was like by checking out the first-class compartment and watch a movie that chronicles the railroad journey. The Museum also offers an extensive educational program for students to learn more about railroad history using re-enactments, costumed docents, and including train rides.
125 I St, Sacramento, CA 95814, Phone: 916-445-7387
2.Powerhouse Science Center
© Powerhouse Science Center
The Powerhouse Science Center is an interactive, family-friendly natural history museum that features an array of nature-related exhibits, hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics-focused exploration stations, and after-school programs. Set on 14 acres of natural parkland filled with old Heritage Oak trees and a tranquil wildlife pond in north Sacramento, the science center features the Challenger Learning Center with classrooms and learning labs, state-of-the-art exhibits, and live animal displays, and the only public planetarium in the city. The Powerhouse Science Center can be hired for special events and functions for up to 100 people.
Discovery Campus, 3615 Auburn Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95821, Phone: 916-808-3942
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3.Sacramento Children's Museum
© Sacramento Children's Museum
The Sacramento Children's Museum (SCM) is designed to inspire children to explore, discover and learn through interactive and immersive play. Located in Rancho Cordova near Sacramento, the 7,000 square foot museum engages children and families with an array of meaningful discovery experiences that aim to develop foundational skills and encourage a love of learning. Designed for children up to the age of eight, hands-on activities in the museum include experimenting with balls in chutes to explore gravity, playing with pressurized tubes and artificial currents, and painting and craft art activities. Immersive exhibits include a little grocery store and a pint-sized city for children to role play.
2701 Prospect Park Dr, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670, Phone: 916-638-7225
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4.Explorit Science Center
© Explorit Science Center
The Explorit Science Center is a science museum designed to foster and inspire curiosity about science and nature through exploration and discovery. The non-profit, family-friendly institution features a wealth of hands-on science fun in the form of interactive activities and programs, such as permanent and changing public exhibits, classes and workshops based on current exhibitions and other topics, weekend family programs, presentations, lectures and symposiums, science clubs, and summer camps. Aiming to spark a lasting curiosity and interest in science and nature, the center also offers traveling programs such as classroom and after-school programs, family science nights in schools, science assemblies, teacher workshops, and science talks by topic experts.
3141 5th St, Davis, CA 95618, Phone: 530-756-0191
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5.Sacramento History Museum
© Sacramento History Museum
Sacramento History Museum is devoted to showcasing of the history of Sacramento and the California Gold Rush and how historical era contributed towards the heritage of the area. Located in Old Sacramento near the Sacramento River, the museum is based in a beautifully maintained building that replicates Sacramento's 1854 City Hall and Waterworks building with a façade of two stories of 14-foot double doors. Exhibits in the museum include displays about the Gold Rush and mining of the time, the fur trapping industry, local agriculture, and the cultural heritage of the Nisenan and Maidu Indian Nations.
101 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, Phone: 916-808-7059
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© Fairytale Town
Fairytale Town is an enduring 3.5-acre children’s play park and outdoor children’s museum with a storybook theme that features an animal petting area, beautiful gardens, and a casual café. Located in William Land Park in Sacramento, Fairytale Town has provided a safe place for children and their families to imagine, play and learn for more than 50 years. The park is home to over 25 bright and colorful play sets to encourage creativity and form a backdrop for children to act out their favorite fairytales and nursery rhymes. The park also has two performing arts stages, lovely gardens to explore, and a friendly flock of farm animals.
3901 Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822, Phone: 916-808-7462
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Located in William Land Park, the Sacramento Zoo is a leading conservation institution and animal sanctuary that was established to inspire a connection with wildlife and nature through education, recreation, and conservation. Home to home to over 500 animals representing more than 120 unique species, including native, rare and endangered animals, the zoo provides not only natural habitats for these animals but also provides veterinary care, welfare, and treatment for sick and injured animals. The zoo also includes animal training which focuses on husbandry behaviors, which is a varied and wide-ranging craft that improves the lives of animals. There is also an Interpretive Center at the zoo where certain animals play a role in the zoo’s education programs by participating in wildlife stage shows and visiting schools on ZooMobiles.
3930 W Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822, Phone: 916-808-5888
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8.Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Nestled among 100 acres of oak woodland along the American River Parkway in Carmichael, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center is an award-winning natural wildlife oasis and environmental and cultural education center. Designed to teach visitors about the rich history and heritage of the region, along with the importance of conserving and protecting the natural environment, the center features an array of informative exhibits, animal displays, and several nature trails. The surrounding nature preserve is home to acres of pristine riparian woodland and native and non-native plants and animals, along with a replica of a village built by the Nisenan Maidu native peoples, who used this area during the summer months. A well-maintained garden of flowering plants can be found next to the natural playscape area in front of the center, and several nature preserve trails offer a unique perspective of the varied habitats.
2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael, CA 95608, Phone: 916-489-4918
Set on two beautiful acres in historical William Land, Funderland is a family-friendly amusement park with nine children-size rides and slides, including a vintage carousel, climbing and playing apparatus, and adventure-themed photo ops. Opened in 1946, this low-key attraction is located next to the adjacent to Fairytale Town and the Sacramento Zoo and is the perfect place to spend the day with young children, who can climb aboard vehicles of all sorts from boat and plants to cars and trains, ride the Flying Dragon Roller Coaster, ride the classic Log Run, and zoom around in Backroads Buggies. Funderland can also be hired for private parties, celebrations, and other special events.
1350 17th Ave, Sacramento, CA 95822, Phone: 916-456-0131
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McKinley Park is a relaxing nature preserve with an array of amenities for visitors of all ages to enjoy. A colorful custom-designed playground includes a historical ‘Alhambra Theater’ entry archway, a street trolley, a riverboat, a large tree house, a tower bridge, and a large climbing wall, all of which are based on the rich history of East Sacramento. Other amenities at the park include basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts, horseshoe pits, a climbing wall, a softball field, a swimming and wading pool, and a paved jogging trail. The park also features a community center, a garden and arts center, several shady picnic areas with tables and benches, a tot lot, adventure play area for toddlers and young children, and modern restrooms.
601 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95816, Phone: 916-808-6060
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Capitol Bowl is a family-friendly bowling alley in West Sacramento that features an award-winning bowling alley, flat-screen televisions showing sports games, a casual bar and grill restaurant, live music and karaoke nights, and a large games arcade. Capitol Bowl hosts a bowling league and tournaments throughout the year, as well as being open to the public for family and friends to come and enjoy a night of bowling, live music, great food, and fun. The bowling alley also has glow bowling with special lighting, parties and league nights, and Caps Bar and Grill serves casual fare such as pizza, burgers, sandwiches and other snacks and a full-service bar offers a variety of drinks.
900 W Capitol Ave, West Sacramento, CA 95691, Phone: 916-371-4200
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12.Raging Waters Sacramento
© Raging Waters Sacramento
Raging Waters Sacramento is a family-friendly water park located on the Cal Expo grounds in the heart of Sacramento that features more than 25 exhilarating water attractions, rides and slides, swimming and splash pools, and an array of fun-filled activities for visitors of all ages. Formerly known as Waterworld USA and Six Flags Waterworld, the water park boasts heart-stopping rides such as Cliffhanger Speed Slides, Hurricane, Splashdown, Breaker Beach Wave Pool and the famous Shark Attack Waterslide complex. The Calypso Cooler Lazy River and the Treehouse Reef offer more relaxed fun, and a new five-story water attraction designed for young children includes secret tubes, water slides, hidden tubes and hundreds of water activities.
1600 Exposition Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95815, Phone: 916-924-3747
13.The Aerospace Museum of California
© The Aerospace Museum of California
The Aerospace Museum of California is dedicated to all things aviation and features amazing displays of authentic military and civilian aircraft as well as space vehicle replicas. Located the grounds of the former McClellan Air Force Base in North Highlands, the Aerospace Museum of California showcases meticulously restored aircraft like a fully restored 1932 Curtiss Wright speed wing biplane, a MIG-17PF, a B-14 bi-plane, and a WWII bomber. Visitors can also play pilot and ride realistic Flight Zone simulators, enjoy motion movie rides and scavenger hunts, and STEM activities such as building block competitions. The Aerospace Museum of California is open Tuesday through Sunday.
3200 Freedom Park Drive, McClellan, CA, Phone: 916-643-3192
14.Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
© James Sakaguchi/stock.adobe.com
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is a pristine wildlife area and birder’s paradise within the Yolo Bypass in Yolo County. Managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with the aim of preserving the habitats in the Yolo Basin, the 16,600-acre Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is home to scenic farmlands and lush wetlands that attract a myriad of bird species ranging from songbirds, waterfowl, and pheasant to migratory birds, and birds of prey. Around 4,000 acres of the area is currently farmed for domestic and wild rice, which offers a winter buffet for migrating ducks and geese and makes for excellent bird watching year-round.
45211 Co Rd 32B, Davis, CA 95618, Phone: 916-445-0411
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Lake Natoma is a recreational lake located within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area between the Folsom and Nimbus Dams along the lower American River in Sacramento County. The lake is a favorite spot for outdoor recreation and water-based activities, such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, and no-wake power boating. Lake Natoma is home to the Sacramento State Aquatic Center and hosts several rowing championships throughout the year, and a paved cycling and jogging trail encircles the lake along with unpaved equestrian trails. Other attractions around the lake include the historic gold rush era African-American mining camp known as the Negro Bar area in Folsom, and the California State Historical site of the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, which preserves an early hydroelectric power station.
Sacramento County, California
16.Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
Nestled in the valley of the Sacramento River in northern California, the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is one of five Wildlife Refuges that make up the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex and features over 10,000 acres of seasonal marsh, permanent ponds, and rolling uplands. Home to a wealth of wildlife and bird species, including waterfowl, ducks, geese, and raptors like Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, the refuge can be explored on a six-mile auto tour with three viewing areas or two easy walking trails through the park. A modern visitors center features a wildlife exhibit, a Discovery Room, and a bookstore.
752 Co Rd 99W, Willows, CA 95988, Phone: 530-934-2801
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17.Nimbus Fish Hatchery
The Nimbus Hatchery is operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and conducts an artificial propagation program and hatchery programs for salmon and steelhead spawning, whose natural habitats were destroyed with the construction of Nimbus Dam in 1955. The program also aims to support river and ocean fisheries by helping with natural hatching of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout for release to the American River. Located in eastern Sacramento County, the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center provides an array of educational activities for visitors of all ages that aim to promote and encourage an interest in conservation of the environment and highlight the importance of preserving the natural habitats of these fish. There is also an on-site nature trail along the American River where local wildlife and birds can be viewed.
2001 Nimbus Rd, Gold River, CA 95670, Phone: 916-358-2884
18.ArtBeast Children's Studio
© ArtBeast Children's Studio
Art Beast Children’s Studio is a creative art center and unique arts exploration environment that is designed for children up to the age of seven years to explore various arts. Opened in 2009, the studio offers an inclusive space for young children and their families to share art experiences and take an interest in the world of art. The studio features arts exploration rooms and open studio space in which weekly classes and workshops are offered for children and their families. Monthly memberships packages include unlimited studio and play space-time with weekly class offerings, and the studio is open daily to members and visitors from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
2226 K St, Sacramento, CA 95816, Phone: 916-441-1233
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19.West Wind Drive-In
© West Wind Drive-In
The West Wind Drive-In is a retro drive-in movie theatre experience that shows the latest releases complete with sound piped into cars via FM radio. Offering a unique and historical slice of Americana, the family-owned and operated drive-in theatre experience first opened in 1952 and has grown into the largest drive-in theatre chain in the world. The family-friendly drive-in boasts an old-school drive-in vibe with modern-day technologies, such as large digital projection screens with crystal clear imagery and surrounds sound which is beamed into cars through FM radio channels. Fully stocked snack bars provide food and drinks, and game-filled arcades and playgrounds offer alternative fun for young visitors before and after the show.
9616 Oates Dr, Sacramento, CA 95827, Phone: 916-363-6572
20.Gunther's Ice Cream
© Gunther's Ice Cream
Gunther's Ice Cream is a long-standing landmark café with retro décor that has been serving homemade ice cream in various flavors, ice milk, sherbets, sorbets, yogurts, and frozen fruit juices. The casual café also serves a menu of light fare and sweet treats such as milkshakes, Sundaes, Hawaiian shaved ice, and locally roasted coffee, along with sandwiches, ice cream cakes, and pies. Gunther's Ice Cream caters for special occasions such as birthday parties and other celebrations, and also operates a wholesale business. Gunther's Ice Cream is open seven days a week.
2801 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95818, Phone: 916-457-6646
21.Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Book Den
© Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
The Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Book Den is a warehouse that forms part of the Sacramento Public Library that sells second hand and used books, magazines, CDs and more. Located at 8250 Belvedere Ave., Suite E, between Power Inn and Florin-Perkins Roads, the Book Den Warehouse hosts book sales throughout the year with the proceeds going to support materials and programs at the Sacramento Public Library. Free parking is available outside the warehouse, and sale dates are posted on the Sacramento Public Library website or at the library.
8250 Belvedere Ave E, Sacramento, CA 95826, Phone: 916-731-8493
22 Fun Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids of All Ages
- Sacramento State Railroad Museum, Photo: Sacramento State Railroad Museum
- Powerhouse Science Center, Photo: Powerhouse Science Center
- Sacramento Children's Museum, Photo: Sacramento Children's Museum
- Explorit Science Center, Photo: Explorit Science Center
- Sacramento History Museum, Photo: Sacramento History Museum
- Fairytale Town, Photo: Fairytale Town
- Sacramento Zoo, Photo: Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
- Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Photo: vencav/stock.adobe.com
- Funderland, Photo: Funderland
- McKinley Park, Photo: Dmitry Naumov/stock.adobe.com
- Capitol Bowl, Photo: Oleg Znamenskiy/stock.adobe.com
- Raging Waters Sacramento, Photo: Raging Waters Sacramento
- The Aerospace Museum of California, Photo: The Aerospace Museum of California
- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Photo: James Sakaguchi/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Natoma, Photo: DSGNSR/stock.adobe.com
- Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: John/stock.adobe.com
- Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Photo: Ennira/stock.adobe.com
- ArtBeast Children's Studio, Photo: ArtBeast Children's Studio
- West Wind Drive-In, Photo: West Wind Drive-In
- Gunther's Ice Cream, Photo: Gunther's Ice Cream
- Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Book Den, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
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