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Fun, Festive & Funky…Local Museums Get in the Holiday Spirit


In addition to its fascinating Gold Rush past, the Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California’s fine art, history, science, and wildlife treasures all year long. In December, many of the nearly 30 members of Sacramento Area Museums (SAM) are offering holiday-related events and activities, a sampling of which includes the following:

Pictures with Santa at the Aerospace Museum of California – 12/15

The community is encouraged to visit the Aerospace Museum of California to take the coolest Santa photos in town with the amazing F-86 as a backdrop. Interested guests can receive a Christmas family photo in a souvenir frame all FREE with museum admission. Plus, visitors can enjoy holiday-themed aviation and space-related STEM activities along with fun for the whole family. For more, visit AerospaceCA.org.

Sketch-a-Movie: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the Crocker Art Museum – 12/20

Budding artists are invited to celebrate the holidays at the Crocker’s first ever Sketch-a-Movie featuring “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The creativity and artistry of director Tim Burton are on full display in this critically acclaimed audience favorite, which first hit screens 25 years ago. Before the screening, visitors can enjoy a fun sketching lesson where they’ll learn how to draw Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie, and other characters from the movie. Then, visitors can sketch along as they experience the movie with new appreciation, or just sit back and enjoy the show. Limited sketching supplies will be provided and/or guests can bring their your own (no pens or markers please). Space is limited, advance registration recommended. For more, visit CrockerArt.org.

Charles Phoenix Holiday Jubilee at the California Automobile Museum – 12/21

With his keen expertise, clever wit and an eagle eye for oddball detail, Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix lavishes the very best of his colorful “flea-market found” mid-century era Kodachrome slides with eye-popping observations on the way we decorated, dressed, dined, and drank for the holidays in the 50s & 60s! Charles also shares his epic holiday-inspired “kitchen creations.” This delicious deep-fried dose of New Years, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas is sure to get you in the mood for the holidays like never before. Following the two-act show, Charles will sign copies of his latest coffee table book, Addicted to Americana. For more information or tickets, please visit CalAutoMuseum.org/charlesphoenix.

Gingerbread Holiday at the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum – Now thru 12/21

The community is invited to visit the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum to feast their eyes on dozens of sweet confections on display during the 31st Annual Gingerbread Holiday celebration. Always FREE, there will be houses, mansions, shacks and other gingerbread structures created by school children, families, bakery academy students and adults. Contest entries are divided into categories:  children, youth, adult, family, school or youth groups and high school culinary academies and guests can vote in the “Visitor’s Favorite” category. For more, please visit OldSacSchoolhouse.scoe.net.

State Capitol Holiday Music Program Now thru 12/23

Get ready for some holiday fun on your next visit to the California State Capitol. To set a festive stage and spread holiday cheer, beautiful vintage decorations create a lovely backdrop for a variety of diverse and amazing holiday musical performances in the Capitol Rotunda.  Each day, visitors enjoy live musical entertainment that includes the Camellia Flute Choir, Sacramento Youth Symphony ensembles, Sacramento Woman’s Chorus, Caltrans and CalPERS choruses, bell-ringers, harps, accordions, Broadway-style song and dance, baroque and brass ensembles, talented school choirs, barbershop harmony and much more. For more information about scheduled performances, please visit CapitolMuseum.ca.gov.

All Aboard for Story Time with Mrs. Claus at the Railroad Museum – 12/24

It’s All Aboard for Story Time! with Mrs. Claus as a celebrity guest reader at 11 a.m. at the California State Railroad Museum. Mrs. Claus will read children’s stories sure to entertain and delight, including The Night Before Christmas and Thomas and the Christmas Tree (both are Thomas and Friends books). In addition to this special, holiday-style All Aboard for Story Time!, photos with Santa Claus will be available (for a fee) on Wednesdays through Sundays through December 20 from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the historic Eagle Theatre located in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. For more, please visit CaliforniaRailroad.museum.

Who Year Celebration & New Year’s Eve Party at the Sacramento Children’s Museum – 12/31

Ring in the New Year at the Sacramento Children’s Museum during the New Year’s Eve Party! Festivities are from 9 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. and include dancing, noise maker-making, bubble stomps, light refreshments and Museum play, all culminating in a New Year’s countdown at midnight. Tickets are available at Blackbaudhosting.com/46160/Who-Year-New-Years-Eve-Party-2018.

Home for the Holidays Exhibit & Scavenger Hunt at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center – Now thru 1/3

Now is the perfect time to visit the Roseville Utility Exploration Center (that always offers free admission) to explore the limited-time “Home for the Holidays” exhibit to gain useful hints on how to ease holiday stress during this busy time of year. Guests are encouraged to complete the quick and fun scavenger hunt while learning how to reduce waste plus save energy and water. As a special treat, guests will receive a gift bag of useful items to help use resources wisely at home (one prize per family, available while supplies last). For more, visit Roseville.ca.us/explore.

For more information about Sacramento area museums (that is celebrating 20 years in 2018) and upcoming events and activities, “like” them on Facebook at Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @SacMuseums or visit the website at SacMuseums.org.

About the author

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack has 25+ years of media and public relations experience.  Her work experience includes News10 (ABC) as Promotion Manager from 1989-1998 (where she developed and launched “Coats for Kids’ Sake,” a winter coat drive that lasted 20+ years plus coordinated Oprah Winfrey’s first ever visit to Sacramento) and Fleishman-Hillard as Vice President from 1998-2005 (where she led the wildly successful statewide “California Grown” program and also produced the five-minute video that played on the Jumbotron on Opening Day at Pac Bell Park). In 2007, she launched T-Rock Communications and currently handles a wide range of marketing activities for a number of top-notch organizations.

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