15 Sacramento Attractions for Kids & Family

Family Fun near Downtown Sacramento

Sacramento is a great place for the family to enjoy some bonding time together. There are many activities in which are aimed at families and all different ages. Instead of each individual doing their own thing, why not encourage the family to have some fun together? Sacramento makes this possible with its many various family-friendly activities.

In Sacramento CA, where the old west meets contemporary, you’ll discover a variety of vacation excitement and fun for the entire family. Fishing in Sacramento is a great past-time. Take a river cruise. Take a a hiking or biking excursion into nature. Play a round of golf. Kayak or ride the river rapids. Sacramento is famous for its abundance of shopping venues.

Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo has grown from a 4 acre “Little Zoo in the Park” to a 14 acre site committed to education, conservation and recreation. This beautiful zoo is home to a delightful collection of exotic animals in spacious, interesting habitats.

The Claire Mower Red Panda Forest is an exceptional, mixed species Red Panda habitat that houses the endangered red panda along with various Asian birds, reptiles and turtles. The natural forest environment and the animals within are a wonderful addition to the zoo.

The zoo has a lake complete with waterfowl and flamingos near the entrance. As you wind around the paths, you’ll see the reptile house, the Australian Outback, an aviary with vultures and hornbills, a sensory garden, the Red Panda Forest, African gardens, the rare feline center, primates, giraffes, zebras and a Redwood Grove.

A whimsical playground is a great spot for the kids to burn off some extra energy. A large spider web play structure lets the kids get the wiggles out in an unusual way. You’ll find nice shady spots to enjoy a break, a snack or a picnic.

The zoo offers numerous programs and events throughout the year such as Earth Fest, fun runs, Critter Capers, gourmet dinners, lecture series, pajama parties, shows and more.

Summer camps and overnight safaris are popular educational events held each year. A unique program designed just for seniors is the Tea and Tours program. This program is held on selected Mondays from 9:30 to noon and includes a guided tour of the zoo and a tea break complete with finger sandwiches, cookies, breads, tea, coffee or lemonade.

Visiting the Sacramento Zoo is easy on the wallet as prices top out at $8 for adults on weekends and holidays, seniors pay just $7.25 and children from three to twelve pay $5.50, children two and under are admitted free. Weekday prices are slightly less at $7.50 for adults, $6.75 for seniors and $5 for children age three to twelve.

In addition, the zoo offers several “free admission” days throughout the year. Click here for a list of animals and wildlife you’ll discover at the Zoo which include many on the endangered list.

Sacramento Zoo
3930 West Land Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95822
Phone: 916-264-5888

Sutter Fort State Historic Park

When John Sutter received a land grant for the Sacramento Valley from Mexico in 1839, he named it “New Helvetica” (New Switzerland). John Sutter was a Swiss immigrant responsible for creating an agricultural empire which became Sacramento’s earliest non-Indian settlement in central California. He also became known for aiding the Donner Party and gained a reputation of generosity and hospitality. As word traveled, New Helvetica became a destination for immigrants coming to California.

Sutter's Fort SHP

John Sutter planted grapes and wheat and raised cattle on over 150,000 acres of land. In less than ten years after the founding of New Helvetica, one of John Sutter’s carpenters, James Marshall, discovered gold at a sawmill under construction in Coloma on the American River. This discovery set off the famous Gold Rush.

The fort was part of the settlement that John Sutter established and was the only building of New Helvetica to survive after being overrun by gold seekers less than a decade after being built. With walls 2 and ½ feet thick that towered 15 to 18 feet high, this fort was impressive. The fort has been restored and has the designation of being the oldest restored fort in the United States. Step into Sutter Fort and step into the past as you see the furnishings of the period.

Sutter Fort represents the big dreams that shaped California. Today you can tour the fort and view numerous exhibits and programs. You’ll see the store, Sutter’s bedroom, Blacksmith’s room, gun repair, carpenter’s shop, a mill, distillery, kitchen, doctor’s office, bakery, weaving room, immigrant’s quarters, stables and more within the walls of the fort.

A statue across the street from the fort shows and commemorates the contributions John Sutter made to California. Also, just behind Sutter Fort is the California State Indian Museum which features a collection of cultural artifacts like baskets, beadwork and clothing. An exhibit about Ishi, the last Yahi Indian can be found here. If time allows, after visiting Sutter Fort, plan on stopping by at this inexpensive museum. It costs just $2 for adults and $1 for children from 6 to 12.

Researchers can make an appointment to view the archives located at Sutter Fort. The archives here are unique, climate controlled collection of photos, tintypes, daguerreotypes, diaries, letters, books, business records and maps that document the lives of John Sutter and many pioneer families who settled the area.

Sutter Fort is open daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day) from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Sutter Fort
2701 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95816

Fairytale Town – Sacramento

Sacramento’s Fairytale Town. Wonderful for children. A place where children can bring nursery rhymes and fairy tales to life. This is a fun- filled 2.5 acre family theme park of imaginative play. There are no rides here. Just creative experiences that allow kids to be what ever fairy tale character they would like to be and to make-up stories of their own imagination.

Fairytale Town

This is imaginary land. Home to laughter and giggles. It’s an interactive learning experience for the “pint-sized”. Even the main entrance is created for the little ones. You adults and big kids will have to stoop down just to enter this little people kingdom to discover the 25 sets of fantasy, resident animals. learning gardens, multicultural programs, events, outdoor stage and children’s theater.

Fairytale Town is a 50 year-old facility and as a non-profit operation entrance fees are very affordable. Visit the Fairytale Town website for fees, event schedules, directions from various origination points and other information. The Sacramento Zoo, and Funderland are both within easy walking distance of Fairytale Town and are located at William Land Park south of downtown Sacramento, California.

Fairytale Town
3901 Land Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95822

Funderland Amusement Park

Families on vacation should consider an attraction for the little guys to. Funderland Theme Park is the perfect place. The rides here are in miniature and kid-friendly. Rides like a Carousel, Tea Cup, Oscar The Fish, Airplanes, Dragon Roller Coaster, Back Road Buggies, Log Flume, Himalaya and the popular Funderland Train. Top it off with the typical carnival style snack bar and you have ideal setting for hours worth of kid fun designed for ages 2 through 12.

Picture of Rides at Funderland

Admission to Funderland Park is free. The rides require a nominal fee with an optional “ride all day” pass. The Park also offers birthday party packages. Hours of operation vary depending upon the month and season. Contact the Park for open hours, fees and detailed descriptions of the rides at Funderland Amusement Park.

Funderland Park is located in William Land Park at the corner of Sutterville Road and South Land Park within walking distance of the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town. Take the Sutterfield Road Exit from Interstate 10 or the 12th Avenue Exit from Highway 99.

Funderland Amusement Park
1350 17th Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 456-0115

William Land Park – Sacramento

Huge. An oasis designed for family recreation. A wonderland for kids. Throw-down a blanket under a shade tree. Picnic at numerous spots. Jog the trails. Fish the ponds. Golf the course. Relax near the fountains. Join the fun at children playgrounds. Play some sports. Or grab a book and do nothing at all. That’s what city parks are all about, but Land Park near downtown in South Sacramento CA is really special for the entire family.

Picture of Land Park in Sacramento CA

The Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town and Funderland. These are perfect places kids and younger children, and they are all within walking distance from each other at Land Park. Fairytale Town is a dream world for the little ones. Funderland is an amusement park that features rides and the Funderland Train. Everyone will love the Sacramento Zoo which showcases over 400 animals across 40 acres. Families on vacation could easily spend three days enjoying these attraction venues giving kids exciting things to do and see for very little cost.

William Land Park
4000 South Landpark Drive
Sacramento, CA 95822

Tower Bridge – Sacramento

The Bridge is a prominent Sacramento icon. It crosses the Sacramento River connecting West Capitol Avenue and Tower Bridge Gateway in West Sacramento with the Capitol Mall in Sacramento near Old Sacramento. It was the first vertical lift bridge in California which permits cargo and passenger ship traffic under the bridge.

Picture of the Sacramento Tower Bridge

The lift towers that permit large ships to cross under the bridge are 160 feet tall. The bridge was originally built with four traffic lanes for cars with one large center lane for trains which no longer run on the bridge. Today, traffic is limited to autos and pedestrian crossing. In 2007, regional transportation agencies were considering the possibility of adding trolley traffic across the bridge.

Interestingly, the bridge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places is painted gold, emblematic of its Gold Rush days and in context with the historic buildings built during the 1850s in Old Sacramento. The bridge is repainted about every 30 years.


For families looking to mix fun with physical activity, BounceU is a great place to do so. This indoor bounce arena is filled with numerous rooms of fun things to do. Though it is most widely known for its inflatable bounce houses, BounceU also has arcade rooms, basketball courts, boxing arenas and a rock-climbing wall. Since this is a climate-controlled indoor location, regardless of what the weather is like outdoors, BounceU would be a perfect fit for the family.

Sacramento Community Center Theater

Instead of the same old movie theater shows that families go to, why not go to something more original? At the Sacramento Community Center Theater families are able to experience live productions right in front of their eyes. Many families take this type of theater for granted and do not realize the excitement that it can provide them with. Many of shows are interactive and can allow the family to enjoy them together. The Sacramento Community Center Theater houses many different productions, including The Sacramento Ballet, Opera, Philharmonic, Choral Society and Orchestra, and various Sacramento Community Concerts.

North Laguna Creek Park

For those beautiful days, why stay indoors? Families should be out exploring the beautiful weather and scenes that are located throughout Sacramento. The North Laguna Creek Park is a wonderful location to enjoy various outdoor activities. When at the North Laguna Creek Park families can create their own fun. Whether they choose to have a picnic, play with a Frisbee or put to use the park’s volleyball court, there will always be something entertaining for them to do. Going to a park with the family is a great alternative to sitting at home watching TV or playing on the computer. This will allow the family to bond and create memories while having an enjoyable time together.

Discovery Museum Science & Space Center

For a family activity that also stimulates the brain, the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center is a great place for the family to head to. This museum is filled with hundreds of different activities and displays. It also includes an outdoors trail that goes through over 14 acres of land. From insects to reptiles, the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center has it all!

Sacramento History Museum

If you are looking to learn more about the city of Sacramento, then there is no better place in the city to visit than the Sacramento History Museum. The Sacramento History Museum is the only museum in the state that is solely devoted to honoring the history of the city and the California Gold Rush. The museum first opened its doors in 1985, and it currently features thousands of artifacts on display each day. Sacramento has an extremely interesting history, and there is no better place to learn about it than this museum.

Crocker Art Museum

The Crocker Art Museum was established in 1871, which makes it the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River. The museum was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1971. There are currently six different permanent displays in the Crocker Art Museum that all revolve around art from a different location in the world. The museum is best known for its collection of drawings and international ceramics. Some of the most famous artists with works on display in the Crocker Art Museum include Renoir, Edwin Deakin and Georgia O’Keefe.

Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park

The Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park is the home of the mansion where the California governor lived from 1903 to 1967. The mansion originally built in 1877, and it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Ronald Reagan was the last person to live in the building. You will have a hard time finding a building that is more beautiful in the city of Sacramento.

Leland Stanford Mansion

The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park is a Californian park revolving around the mansion of U.S Senator Leland Stanford. Leland Stanford is one of the most influential men in California history, so it always interesting to see how such a powerful person lived. The mansion has been named a U.S National Historic Landmark and a California Historic Landmark.

Leland Stanford Mansion

The California Museum

The most popular attraction in Sacramento is probably The California Museum. The California Museum first opened its doors in 1998, and it currently features seven different exhibitions. All of the exhibits revolve around a different period of history in California. The California Museum is also home to the California Hall of Fame and the Constitution Wall. The California Hall of Fame was designed to honor the greatest people to live in California. There are very few attractions in the world that offer as much to see as The California Museum.

Share on: