Ideas for excursions for children in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado


The school trip was one of the many traditions erased by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While students in the Sacramento area have finally returned to in-person learning after months of online learning, most field trips have been canceled. The trip to Sutter’s fort. Overnight in the mountains. Nature walks. All canceled.

Now that the school is closed, many families are looking for activities to do with their children – and perhaps re-enact activities lost by the tumultuous school year.

Popular field trip sites are open for the summer. The Sacramento Bee has compiled a short list of some of the funniest and most interactive places kids will enjoy over the next few months.

Sutter Fort Historical Park

Sutter’s Fort, a historic state park located in downtown Sacramento, educates elementary-age children during the days of the California Gold Rush in 1849. Visitors can learn more about the Swiss immigrant John Sutter, who used the land to build a farming settlement, and also visit the Indian Museum next door to learn about the native California population whose lives changed when settlers rushed to California.

Today, the state park is typically used for self-guided tours, school programs, and overnight field trips.

Since March 2020, more than 7,000 students have taken part in free virtual outings on the site. Sutter’s Fort will once again be open for school outings, Allison Parks said. Families can book tours through Reserve California.

“Sutter’s Fort is directly linked to the school curriculum,” said museum supervisor Alison Parks. “It’s great for elementary school kids to come here to learn more about the history of California. It was here before California became a state, and it played a role in why California became a state.

The oldest building in Sutter’s Fort dates back to 1839, revealing some of the oldest artifacts that can be seen in the Sacramento area.

Wearing a mask is compulsory on the site if people are not vaccinated.

Sutter’s Fort is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In July, the fort will remain open until 8 p.m.

Sacramento area museums

Most museums in the Sacramento area are open. Some museums, including the Aerospace Museum of California, offer summer camps for children. The California Museum offers visitors a California Hall of Fame, educating people about those who have made a contribution to the world.

All museums require visitors to wear masks even after the state reopens on Tuesday. The announcement came from a group of seven local museums: the Aerospace Museum of California, the California Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the Locke Boarding House, the Sacramento Children’s Museum, the SMUD Museum and the Sierra Sacramento Museum. Valley Medical Society.

“The extension is essential to protect vulnerable members of the community, including children under 12 who are currently not eligible for vaccines, as only about 40% of residents in the greater Sacramento area are fully immunized. California Museum spokesperson Brenna Hamilton said.

Placer County Museums

Several Placer County museums are open, including the Placer County Museum on the first floor of the historic Auburn Courthouse.

“The museum offers a glimpse into the history of the county during the printing press era and the state’s gold rush period,” said Renee Thompson, Placer County Museums.

The DeWitt History Museum, open the first Wednesday of each month from noon to 4 p.m., and the Gold Rush Museum are also open in the county.

Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo has been a must-see for field trips for preschool and elementary children. On the 14-acre zoo property, kids can marvel at the herd of giraffes, lions and jaguars, walk around the reptile house, and enjoy over 20 species of birds.

The zoo does not currently allow private events.

Masks are recommended for outdoors and mandatory at all locations indoors. Children under 2 are exempt from mask policies.

The zoo does not accept cash. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Zoo opening hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fairytale town

Fairytale Town offers an imaginative space for children who can enjoy 26 play areas based on nursery rhymes and fairy tales. The mask is compulsory for all people from 3 years old.

Advanced tickets are recommended.

Fairytale Town hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Located in Carmichael, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center offers an educational program for children in a natural environment, teaching the importance of the ecosystem and how to conserve resources.

Visitors can enjoy the site’s butterfly garden and 30 non-releasable animals that are recovering from injuries or are orphans. The site is also home to a Swainson’s hawk, a peregrine falcon and a great horned owl.

The nature reserve and the trails are open every day. Dogs are not allowed.

The visitor center and the museum are open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sly Park

The Sly Park Education Campus is still closed, but teachers still support Sacramento area students online and the center offers virtual tours.

The Sly Park Recreation Area, managed by the El Dorado Irrigation District, offers nine miles of trails, fishing, boating, water skiing and other activities on the lake.

Families can book overnight camping trips, but reservations fill up quickly at Jenkinson Lake. Masks are mandatory in interior spaces.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and other Coloma activities

Coloma, east of Sacramento, gives kids another look at life during the Gold Rush.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park features buildings that survived the 1849 Gold Rush and walking tours, hiking trails, and an air-conditioned museum. Children can take gold panning lessons throughout the day when the temperature is below 92 degrees. Families must register in person for panning lessons on a first come, first served basis.

“We are where James Marshall found the first gold coin that led to the California Gold Rush,” said Holly Thane, park interpreter. “A lot of them missed it this year, and a lot of families are trying to relive it.”

The historical park also offers a junior ranger program, where children complete a booklet and participate in a swearing-in ceremony.

“It’s a chance to explore the park on our own when we haven’t been able to arrange tours or when we are overwhelmed with people,” Thane said.

Outside of the historic park, Coloma also offers a tree climbing course and all-day eco-science program, whitewater rafting and the Coloma Outdoor Discovery School.

“We tend to focus on the gold rush, but so much has happened after this gold find,” Thane said. “A lot of agriculture has started here, and various groups of people have come here for the first time.”

Daytime use areas are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Adventures in the quarry park

This is a recreational site for school-aged children, young and old, looking for thrills and adventure.

The park offers rock climbing, freefall, and ziplining over a crater-shaped hole in Rocklin. Participants must weigh between 70 and 250 lbs and masks are mandatory.

Visitors can expect to spend between two and four hours at the park depending on the package they choose.

Quarry Park is open seven days a week. Reservations are required.

Utility exploration center

The Roseville Utility Exploration Center gives kids an insight into how to save energy, water and reduce waste.

Kids can explore the greenhouse setting, learn ways to create a sustainable environment around them, and design building structures like an engineer.

“We recommend between 30 minutes and an hour,” said Lauren Bradt, interactive services program manager.

Bradt added that the center has activities for children that families can experience. Before the pandemic, the site offered larger interactive items that children could touch and play with, but kits replaced those accessories.

“We also have so many activities for families to do at home,” Bradt said. “The Backyard Creek Adventure includes a few sheets with a list of streams in Roseville and an adventure journal to fill out. Children can bring it back for a price.

The center is now open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Sawsan Morrar covers responsibility and school culture for The Sacramento Bee. She grew up in Sacramento and is an alumnus of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Previously, she was a freelance writer for various publications including The Washington Post, Vice, KQED and Capital Public Radio.


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