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.
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In October, many of the 30 members of Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM) are offering fun Halloween and harvest-related events and activities to get guests in a festive spirit, including:
Dia de los Muertos/Souls of the City Pop Up Art Labs at the Sacramento History Museum on Oct. 5, 12 and 19;
In honor of “Day of the Dead” activities celebrated each year in Mexico and in major cities around the world, Sol Collective and the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation have teamed up to present a series of community workshops and special activities in October that showcase the traditions and/or demonstrate how to create some of the special items used in “Day of the Dead” celebrations. For more information visit historicoldsac.org;
Ghost Tours at the Sacramento History Museum on Oct. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26 — Visitors to Old Sacramento can journey back in time to hear ghostly tales and spooky stories as they walk through the history-rich streets and re-live 19th century lore. Entertaining yet knowledgeable tour guides will take daring and inquisitive guests through Old Sacramento’s infamous locales to experience a bit of the dark side of California’s history. For more information go to historicoldsac.org;
Acorn Day at the State Indian Museum on Saturday, Oct. 12 — Get ready for the new autumn season by visiting the State Indian Museum during an educational and fun-filled “Acorn Day” that celebrates the acorn, a traditional dietary staple of California Indians. Guests to the State Indian Museum will enjoy learning about the time-honored tradition of preparing acorn for food and sampling traditional acorn mush and flat breads. For more information visit parks.ca.gov/indianmuseum;
“Observe the Moon Night” at the Discovery Museum on Oct. 12 and 13 — Visit the Discovery Museum Science and Space Center to learn about Earth’s nearest neighbor — the Moon. This international event reminds people to look up and enjoy the nearest celestial neighbor. Families can pick up a “Moon Packet” with good viewing tips, complete with activities and a moon map. Museum visitors will also enjoy a special presentation about Sacramento’s role in building the rockets that sent the first unmanned craft to the Moon (note: the Museum will not be open during the evening). For more information visit thediscovery.org;
Spookomotive Train Rides at the Railroad Museum on Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 — All aboard for some Halloween fun Old Sacramento style. The California State Railroad Museum is proud to offer diesel-powered “Spookomotive” train rides aboard a whimsically decorated train crawling with spiders, cobwebs and cornstalks while staffed with an entertaining “skeleton crew.” Also, don’t miss a special “Moonlight” train ride one-night-only on Oct. 19. For more information visit csrmf.org;
Second annual Monster Bash at the Sacramento Children’s Museum on Oct. 19 — Come one, come all to Sacramento Children Museum’s Monster Bash. Get those costumes ready for a memorable Halloween with an entertaining night of music, dancing, refreshments and museum play. For more information visit sackids.org;
Going Batty at the Discovery Museum Science and Space Center on Oct. 19 and 20 — This weekend the museum is highlighting some infamous creatures of the night — bats. Families are invited to explore some of the science behind these nocturnal mammals. A special bat display will be set-up for this weekend only and children may assemble a “bat clip” craft to take home. For more information visit thediscovery.org;
“The Hobbit” at Fairytale Town — Oct. 25, 26 and 27 — To get everyone in a magical mood, Fairytale Town will be transformed into Middle Earth for this year’s Safe and Super Halloween event at the storybook park. The imaginative world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” will come to life for three nights of family fun. For more information visit fairytaletown.org;
Halloween Fun with Worm, Compost and Pumpkin Guts at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center on Oct. 26 — During a special and very hands on Children’s Workshop, participants will have fun and take home their own ghoulish creation. They’re sure to have a spooky good time inspecting slimy, creepy crawlers who help make it disappear. For more information visit roseville.ca.us/explore/;
Pumpkin Smash Bash at the Heidrick Ag History Center on Oct. 26 — The Heidrick Ag History Center invites one and all to Woodland for a smashing good time. Guests will have the chance to hurl a pumpkin 20 feet in the air for prizes, sample seasonal craft beers and local wines, and haunt the museum in your favorite costume. Plus, the best costume will be decided at the end of the night by the crowd for spooktastic prizes. For more information visit aghistory.org;
“Creepy Crawly Critters” at the Discovery Museum Science and Space Center on Oct. 26 — Spiders, cockroaches and walking sticks — oh my. Are you ready for some creepy crawly fun? Get into the Halloween spirit this weekend at the Discovery Museum with the smallest live animals. Plus, kids ages 12 and under make a spider craft to decorate the house with for Halloween. For more information visit thediscovery.org;
Hallozeum 2: The Sequel (Bigger and Battier) at the Discovery Museum Science and Space Center on Oct. 26 — Looking for a safe, fun place to haunt this Halloween with your little goblins? During this one evening in October, the Discovery Museum will be inhabited by a bunch of spooky characters after dark — all with a real sense of fun. Families are invited to bring their youngsters in costume to visit trick-or-treat stations, participate in fun game and activity stations, and a Halloween craft to make and take home. For more information visit thediscovery.org;
Mansion After Dark at the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park on Oct. 25 and 26 — The Governor’s Mansion SHP is proud to present unique self-guided tours featuring tales of ghosts, bats, great pumpkins, coffin corners and Halloween adventures in the decorated darkened rooms of the mansion. Storytellers will captivate visitors with tales of the season and fortune tellers will predict interesting futures. Additionally, children will have the opportunity to have their faces painted with Halloween-themed decorations. For more information go to parks.ca.gov/governorsmansion;
The Haunted Fort at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park on Oct. 25 and 26 — Looking for something ghoulishly unique to do this Halloween? For a spirited good time, check out the fourth annual “The Haunted Fort” at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP). Once again, the historic site will offer a special Halloween program based in fact but with a decidedly creepy twist. Daring visitors will go on guided lantern-lit tours through the darkened rooms and hear unusual and intriguing tales of how some of California’s early pioneers perished throughout history. Some even believe many of the rooms at the fort are still haunted by the spirits of past inhabitants. For more information visit suttersfort.org;
Trick or Treating in Old Sacramento on Oct. 26 — Trick or treating will be held through the streets of Old Sacramento once again this season. Last year, more than 40 nearby merchants participated. The Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum is a great place to start as maps and bags are available for interested participants. For more information go to scoe.net/oldsacschoolhouse.
Wee Halloween at the Crocker Art Museum on Oct. 30 — Celebrate the “wee” in Halloween with this fright-free alternative to trick or treating. Families will start by decorating treat bags before being guided in small groups through the galleries. Along the way, they will encounter gentle surprises in the form of music, poetry, and dance, and receive a non-candy treat at the end of each performance. The delightful Halloween stroll will end with a delicious celebration. For more information crockerartmuseum.org;
Boo at the Zoo at the Sacramento Zoo on Oct. 30 and 31 — Two nights of ghoulish family fun, rain or shine. Kids can safely trick or treat around the lake at 25 different candy stations. Other activities include magic shows, costume dance party, ghoulish games and lots of family fun. You can also ride the Spooky Train or Creepy Carousel for an additional fee. Please note: Only the front half of the zoo will be open during this event. The spookiness is appropriate for children under 10 years of age. For more information visit saczoo.org.
To stay connected to Sacramento Museums “like” them on Facebook at Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Twitter at SacMuseums or visit the Website at SacMuseums.org.