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. For those who are in town for the holidays, or those who need a fresh take on some of their favorite museums, this holiday season will offer a splendid collection of events to get everyone into the holiday spirit.
Throughout December, many of the nearly 30 members of Sacramento Area Museums (SAM) are featuring a number of holiday-related events and activities, a sampling of which includes the following:
Twinkling Tractors at the California Agriculture Museum – Now thru December 31
The California Agriculture Museum in Woodland offers fun holiday sights and music to experience as they showcase tractors decked with holiday lights. Offered on Tuesdays through Fridays now through the month of December, guests can stroll through the Museum and enjoy holiday lights without concern of being rained out.
For more information, visit www.californiaagmuseum.org.
State Capitol Holiday Music Program – Now thru December 23
Amid a beautiful backdrop of vintage decorations in the Capitol Rotunda, a variety of diverse and amazing holiday musical performances will entertain State Capitol guests throughout the holidays. Depending on the day, visitors will enjoy FREE live musical entertainment from groups and performers such as High Voltage – El Dorado Theater Co., Camellia Flute Choir, Sacramento Opera Carolers, Salvation Army Brass Band, Girl Scouts of the Sierra, bell-ringers, harps, accordions, Broadway-style song and dance, baroque and brass ensembles, talented school choirs, and barbershop harmony.
For more, call 916-324-0333 or visit capitolmuseum.ca.gov.
Home for the Holidays Exhibit at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center – Now thru January 4
Shopping, decorations, visitors, travel….the holiday season can be a stressful time for everyone and for our planet, too. Learn ways to take care of yourself and the earth as you prepare for this busy time. Stop by for some helpful hints on making your holidays more sustainable with the Home for the Holidays exhibit. Learn what lights are the most efficient to use when decorating, where to dispose of that tree when you’re done with it and how to keep those pipes clear when you’re cooking all day. Help make it a clean, green and happy holiday for everyone.
For more, visit roseville.ca.us/explore.
Gingerbread Holiday at the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum – Now thru December 21
The community is invited to enter gingerbread creations at the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum 12/1 or 12/2 and also encouraged to visit the museum to see dozens of sweet confections on display during the 30th 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, visit oldsacschoolhouse.scoe.net.
DDSO Holiday Pop-up at Verge Center for the Arts – 12/9 & Ongoing thru December
Verge is teaming up again with DDSO (Developmental Disabilities Service Organization) for the holidays! The community is invited to shop for original artworks, pillows, clothes, jewelry and other one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones (or for yourself). DDSO is one of the most respected nonprofits in the Sacramento and San Joaquin regions, providing a diverse range of services for adults with developmental disabilities. This is a great opportunity to help support them and champion the creativity and potential within the hearts and minds of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Verge looks forward to welcoming the community this December on First Friday, Second Saturday (6 to 9 p.m.) or during normal gallery hours.
For more information, visit vergeart.com.
Gold Fever! Tours Offered by the Sacramento History Museum – Weekends thru December 17
Perfect for families and friends, guests to Old Sacramento can experience what it was like to catch gold fever while getting actively involved in the intriguing Gold Fever! guided tours. Each tour guest has the unique opportunity to take on the persona of a character in history – or a “real-life rascal” – who scratched and clawed their way to make this area the center of the Gold Rush. Never the same tour twice, Gold Fever! tours depart at 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. from the Sacramento Visitors Center in Old Sacramento.
For more, visit sachistorymuseum.org.
Old Sacramento Underground Tours Offered by the Sacramento History Museum – Weekends & Daily 12/26 thru 12/31
To finish off the 2017 season in a festive and fun way, Old Sacramento Underground Tours continue on weekends in December and are offered daily between Christmas and the New Year. The Sacramento History Museum offers a unique and memorable underground tour experience for friends and families to enjoy together. Visitors can take the hour-long tour at either 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. each weekend and day during this holiday week. Note no tours are available 12/24 or 12/25.
For more, visit sachistorymuseum.org.
Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town – December 9, 10, 16 & 17
Celebrate the holiday season in Whoville! Fairytale Town will be trimmed with festive holiday décor and a dazzling display of lights, starting at dusk each evening. Guests will enjoy Dr. Seuss and Grinch-themed hands-on activities throughout the event. Visitors can listen to strolling Victorian carolers, shop for gifts from local vendors, step inside a giant snow globe and enjoy a flurry of snow falling nightly at 7 p.m. near the Mother Goose Stage.
For more information, visit fairytaletown.org.
Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo – December 9
Why should only humans receive gifts during the holidays? It’s time for Holiday Magic when the community has the special opportunity to watch as the animals unwrap their holiday goodies! Plus, Zoo visitors who bring a donation for Loaves & Fishes will receive $1 off admission.
For more, visit saczoo.org.
Holiday Craft Bar at Verge Center for the Arts – December 9
Stop by Verge and add that extra touch to your holiday gifts and decorations! Whether you want to make your own wrapping paper, holiday cards, present tags, bows, or other holiday touches, Verge will have the materials for you. This is a drop-in event running from 2 to 5 p.m. for one-day-only. Head to Second Saturday after making your items for a full art day.
For more information, visit vergeart.com/classes/holiday-craft-bar.
Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas at Sutter’s Fort – December 9
In John Sutter’s day, people from around the world passed through the gates of Sutter’s Fort, each with their own customs and traditions for the holiday season. “A Simple Emigrant Christmas” offers several vignettes showing holiday scenes, including foods, music, decorations, and traditions from other cultures. During this special “Hands on History” event, Fort visitors can participate in a number of hands-on activities such as dipping and creating their own holiday candles, crafting their own “keepsake” holiday ornaments – that include snowflakes, cornhusk angels and bird nests – plus making holiday cards with nib (or “dip”) pens and colored ink, grinding raw wheat into “Christmas flour,” singing Christmas carols with Fort musicians and more.
For more, visit suttersfort.org.
Pajama Party at the Sacramento Zoo – December 24
Guests can celebrate Christmas Eve for FREE at the Sacramento Zoo without even changing out of their pajamas! Festive and fun, get there early as the Zoo will close early at 1:30 p.m. that day so the dedicated staff can enjoy time with their families. Plus, the community is encouraged to join the Loaves & Fishes Holiday Drive at the zoo by donating baby wipes, new gloves, news socks, or unused toiletries at the zoo entrance.
For more, visit saczoo.org.
New “Forces: Earth & Space” Exhibit Opens at the Powerhouse Science Center – December 16
Powerhouse Science Center is offering a wonderful holiday destination for guests to enjoy when they open a new exhibit that showcases how the forces of the universe make stars shine, planets orbit, and galaxies hold together complex extraterrestrial systems. In addition, guests will learn how matter and energy work in synchronicity and incredible things happen in the vastness of space. Note the museum will be closed 12/4 thru 12/15 to prepare for the exciting new exhibit.
For more, visit powerhousesc.org.
Free Admission Day at Fairytale Town – December 24
As a special holiday treat, Fairytale Town is giving the gift of free admission to guests who visit on Christmas Eve between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with a day of free play for the whole family. What fun!
For more, visit fairytaletown.org .
“Twelve Days of Space Science” at the Powerhouse Science Center – December 26 thru January 7
The community is invited to celebrate “Twelve Days of Space Science” at the Powerhouse. From alien encounters to comet parts and fizzing liquids to ice moons, guests will check out a different hands-on space activity and space-themed story each day (excluding New Year’s Day when the science center is closed).
For more, visit powerhousesc.org.
“The Sound of Music Holiday Event” at the Crocker Art Museum – December 28
The Crocker’s screening of The Sound of Music returns for its sixth and final year with costume contests, door prizes, yodeling, singing, and lots of laughs. Starring Julie Andrews, with music by the famed Rodgers and Hammerstein, this multi-Academy-Award-winning film tickles the heart and warms the soul. Dress in costume, purchase a Movie Fun Pack to make things even more interesting, and sing your heart out to the film’s iconic and beloved soundtrack. Two screenings will be held in the Crocker’s plush auditorium at 1:30 and 6 p.m. Advance registration is encouraged as this event sells out each year.
For tickets, please visit crockerart.org or call 916-808-1182 for more information.
Who Year Celebration & New Year’s Eve Party at the Sacramento Children’s Museum – December 31
During the daytime, the Museum is proud to offera fun Who Year New Year celebration! Every hour on the hour starting at 12 p.m., guests can enjoy bubble stomps to ring in the New Year around the world. They’ll also have noise-maker making in the Art Studio and more! Then in the evening, guests can enjoy the 2nd Annual Who Year New Year’s Eve Party (a ticketed event). Festivities will go from 9 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. and will include dancing, continued noise maker-making and bubble stomps, games, light refreshments, and Museum play, culminating in a New Year’s countdown to midnight.
For more information on the Sacramento Children’s Museum, visit sackids.org.
For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @SacMuseums or visit the user-friendly website at SacMuseums.org.