fun to do kids old sacramento california   Travel for Kids
  | California | Gold Country
     
   

Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento
During the 1850's, Sacramento was a bustling city on the Sacramento River waterfront, a central hub for miners heading off to the gold fields. Today, kids will enjoy wandering down the wooden sidewalks of Old Sacramento, past historic buildings and reminders of a bygone era.
Railroad Museum
  California State Railroad Museum – This railroad museum is stacked full of the beautifully restored railroad locomotives and cars. On the main floor, check out the Governor Stanford steam locomotive, the first engine that chugged down the track for the Central Pacific, or peer inside the private "Gold Coast" train car to see how people traveled in style, walk through a mail car (find out how mail was picked up and delivered by train).
    Upstairs, toddlers can play with Thomas the Tank Engine wooden trains and tracks, and anyone who loves model trains won't want to miss the Lionel model trains and model train layout, with trains going round and round. The gift shop has engineer's hats, wooden train whistles, books and toys about trains.
    Catch the train – On the weekends, April to September, ride the rails on a real steam locomotive of the Sacramento Southern Railroad. On the 40 minute train ride, little kids will especially enjoy the whistle blowing, the big white clouds of puffy steam and gently rocking motion as the train rolls down the track along the Sacramento River. No food or drinks on the train, buy tickets at the booth on Front St.
Old Sacrmento
  Old Sacramento Schoolhouse – Imagine attending school a one-room schoolhouse, where you'd wash your hands outside at the pump or warm your hands by a pot-bellied stove in winter. You can sit at a wooden desk with a slate and chalk, and read the 1848 list of punishments for bad behavior, e.g. "Telling Tales out of School," 8 lashes, "Playing Cards at School," 10 lashes. Ring the school bell (rope is just inside the front door) or swing on swings in the schoolyard.
    Pony Express statue – On April 4, 1860, at 2:45am, the first eastbound Pony Express rider left Sacramento, arriving in St. Joseph, Missouri eleven days later. Sacramento was the endpoint for the Pony Express, which operated until 1861. The statue is located at J and Second St.
    Wells Fargo History Museum – Wells Fargo operated a stagecoach service, as well as banking for gold miners. Inside the museum is a model the Wells Fargo Coach, a beautiful old safe, gold scales. Practice your Morse code (an essential skill for telegraph operators). Next door, in the Visitor Center is a full-size stagecoach, strongbox used to carry gold and coins, model of a covered wagon, pioneer mementos.
Sacramento History Museum – This is the spot to find out all about the history of gold, the Gold Rush and lifestyles of gold miners (rich and poor). In the Gold Gallery, there are hands-on exhibits, gold nuggets galore, a simulated mine shaft, and re-creations of 19th century life in and around Sacramento.
Getting around town Rent bikes to pedal around Old Sacramento, or ride in style in a horse-drawn carriage. (You can rent bikes (including side by side bikes) at Practical Cycles at J Street.)
Walk or bike along the river Bike or walk on the wide promenade that goes along the Sacramento River. Start at the golden Tower Bridge and go either north or south on the American River Bike Trail as far as the kids feel like. Also, on the west side of the river is the River Walk Park with grass and picnic tables.
sutters fort
Sutter's Fort (L Street) – From 1840 - 1849, John Sutter (of gold rush fame) built and managed a substantial adobe brick fort. The fort was a stopover for immigrants arriving in California (Sutter helped the stranded Donner Party), there were workshops for carpentry, blacksmithing, weaving, Sutter raised wheat for export and sheep for wool – the fort was a busy place.
   

Today the fort is an excellent example of mid-19th century life in California. Climb up two towers with large cannons, look into cooper's, candle, gunsmith shops, vaquero and guard rooms, Sutter's bedroom and office, kitchen and bakery. In the orientation room, don't miss the original Patty Reed doll.

Sacramento Gold Rush Days – On Labor Day weekend, go back in time to the California gold rush, a three day celebration with people in period costumes, living history demonstrations, wagon rides, gold panning, storytelling, horse races, and music. Click here for details.
  Tip: In summer, Sacramento can get hot in the afternoons. Do outdoor activities in the morning – bike rides or train ride; in the afternoon, stop into the air-conditioned museums, such as the Railroad Museum or Sacramento History Museum.
   

Fun food

     

Anyone in your family with a sweet tooth won't be able to resist the old-fashioned candies – salt water taffy, horehounds, chico sticks, caramels, peanut brittle, giant-size lollypops, jawbreakers – at the candy stores in Old Sacramento.

Jelly Belly
   

Jelly Belly Candy Factory (Fairfield) – On Highway 80 to Sacramento, take a detour to visit the Jelly Belly jelly bean factory. See how a jelly bean is made from start to finish, including the "sugar shower" and polishing stages. The jelly bean art gallery is boggling – huge mosaics made with thousands of jelly beans, depicting American presidents and other celebrities. At the end of the tour, there are free samples and you can get hamburgers and pizzas shaped like a jelly bean at the restaurant. Factory tours daily, but on weekends you won't see the factory in operation.

kids books old sacramento california
     
The Railroad kids books old sacramento california  
The Railroad
Bobbie Kalman

In the 19th century, the railroad opened up the West, connecting the country coast to coast. Read about building the transcontinental railroad, work crews, steam trains, engineers and fireman, signals and train whistles, and how the railroad changed the United States. (Picture book)

 

     
Off Like the Wind!
Michael Spradlin, Layne Johnson

April, 1860. Go with the first Pony Express, riding almost 2,000 miles, to deliver mail from Sacramento to St. Joseph, Missouri in just eleven days. (Picture book)

 

 
Off Like the Wind! pony express old sacramento california
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