More than 25 sites will be celebrating Sacramento Museum Day on February 4 as the annual celebration welcomes guests to explore the region’s popular museums at a free or reduced price of admission. In its 19th year, a collection of special events are scheduled to attract young and old patrons alike to the many offerings available.
As a guest eager to explore Sacramento’s participating museums, you may be wondering what the best itinerary is for yourself or your group. Needing to account for crowds, parking, your group’s interests, and time to enjoy your stay at each museum plays a big part in determining where you’ll to go and what you’ll do.
Here to help you decide are tips for the best places to hit to make the most of your day.
Top Picks for Young Kids
Science museums are a world of discovery and imagination–and the perfect choice if you have kids. The key ingredients to the science museums that will appeal to your kids most are hands-on activities where exploration is encouraged and piqued interest is a must.
- Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus offers many hands-on exhibits in science, nature, technology, and space exploration. Their latest exhibits include “Eat Well, Play Well, Live Well.”
- Sacramento Children’s Museum is geared for children 8 and under with hands-on exploration displays on water, airways, raceways and more.
- The Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town is the perfect place to spend the morning or afternoon with sprawled out grounds and lots to see to keep kids entertained, moving, and engaged.
- Roseville Utility Exploration Center‘s engaging displays focus on water efficiency, waste reduction and energy. On Sacramento Museum Day they invite you to view “the good, the bad and the buggy” at their latest Bird and Bug Bonanza exhibit.
Lines can be long but they flow pretty fast. Bring an umbrella or warm jackets just in case it rains.
The Best All-in-One with Something for Everyone
Old Sacramento transports you back in time with many sights from days of yore and a multitude of shops, restaurants options, museums and special activities for Museum Day. This is your best place to go if you want a lot to do in one spot.
- In addition to displays of local historical significance and interest, the Sacramento History Museum will host a gold panning experience for 49ers of all ages.
- The California State Railroad Museum is just a short walk away, featuring an acclaimed collection of trains and a host of new exhibits including a 251,000-pound rotary snowplow, the reopening of the Railroad Passenger Station, and an exciting High-Speed Rail exhibit.
- A quick stop at the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum offers a look at what schooling was like way back when (be sure to check out the school rules while you’re there!).
- Carriage rides for the whole family will take place throughout Old Sacramento.
- Visit the many shops along Old Sac’s vintage streets, grab a hotdog (or ice cream? Coffee? Candy? Sit down meals? You name it) and enjoy strolling on the wooden sidewalks and along the river.
For the Hobbyist…or Soon to be After
California Automobile Museum
There are more than 150 vehicles on display at the California Automobile Museum, which can be touched, cranked or sat in for photo-ops. Ranging from every historical period in California’s history, there is a car to fascinate each visitor, regardless of age (or interest in cars!). For those looking for a true venture on the wild side of history, be sure not to miss the current exhibit, “Live Free: California’s Motorcycle Culture.”
California Agricultural Museum
If you like all things with big engines and wheels then the California Agricultural Museum is the place is for you. See the history of California’s agricultural advancement through machines in Woodland, CA. This will be a rare opportunity to meet some local artists and authors, as there will be a special book signing and debut of a new exhibit highlighting the region’s history.
For Those Looking for a Bite to Eat Before, After or During Museum Skipping
Especially for those participating in Sacramento Museum Day is the extension by 18 local restaurants of special offers and discounts to guests wearing a Sacramento Museum Day sticker. Discounts and participating restaurants include (all discounts exclude alcohol):
- Café Bernardo (2726 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento) – 10 percent off food bill
- Café Bernardo (1431 R Street, Sacramento) – 10 percent off food bill
- Centro Cocina Mexicana (2730 J Street, Sacramento) – 10 percent off food bill
- Danny’s Mini Donuts (900 2nd Street, Old Sacramento) — $2 off a dozen mini donuts
- DISTRICT (1022 2nd Street, Old Sacramento) – 25 percent off food bill
- Dos Coyotes Border Café (1800 15th Street, Sacramento) – 15 percent off food bill
- Dos Coyotes Border Café (6450 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento – 15 percent off food bill
- Esquire Grill (1213 K Street, Sacramento) – 10 percent off food bill
- Evan’s Kitchen and Catering (855 57th Street, Sacramento) – 15 percent off food bill
- Fat City Bar & Café (1001 Front Street, Old Sacramento) — Free children’s meal with purchase of adult meal
- Graciano’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizza & Speakeasy (1023 Front Street, Old Sacramento) – 20 percent off food bill
- Hock Farm Craft & Provisions (1415 L Street, Sacramento) – 10 percent off food bill
- Jack’s Urban Eats (8620 Sierra College Blvd., Roseville) – 20 percent off food bill
- Jack’s Urban Eats (1005 Galleria Blvd #150 Roseville) — 20 percent off food bill
- MOD Pizza (2100 Arden Way, Sacramento) – 15 percent off food bill
- MOD Pizza (5400 Crossings Drive, Rocklin) – 15 percent off food bill
- Paragary’s Midtown (1401 28th Street, Sacramento) – 10 percent off food bill
- Ten22 (1022 2nd Street, Old Sacramento) — 25 percent off food bill
- Brings snacks, drinks, jackets and an umbrella (if it’s raining).
- Wear comfortable shoes you will be standing and walking a lot.
- Plan on 2-3 hours per museum. The last museum entry is at 4pm.
- Parking can be tricky. Bring quarters to feed the meter or cash for some garages when street parking is not available.
- Give yourself some extra time for driving and entering museums due to the crowd.
- Note that the Aerospace Museum, California Statewide Museum Collections Center, and the Governor’s Mansion will not be participating due to closures to the public. The Crocker Art Museum will be charging $5 admission.
Featured photo: The High-Speed Rail exhibit at the Railroad Museum; By Jack Snell/CC Flickr