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 the Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM) are offering fun Halloween and harvest-related events and activities sure to get guests in a festive spirit, including:
Spookomotive Train Rides at the Railroad Museum — Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28. 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.”
For more information visit californiastaterailroadmuseum.org.
Wee Halloween at the Crocker Art Museum — Oct. 31. 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 go to crockerartmuseum.org.
Safe and Super Halloween: A Grimm Halloween at Fairytale Town — Oct. 26, 27 and 28. Trick-or-treat at 17 candy stations while wandering through the Grimm Brothers’ classic fairytales. Visit Sleeping Beauty’s castle, venture through Little Red Riding Hood’s forest, and sneak a peek at the Evil Queen’s Lair. Enjoy three nights of family fun with hands-on activities, a costume parade and performances of “Goldilocks and the Three Sharks” by Puppet Art Theater Company (additional cost).
For more information go to fairytaletown.org.
The Mansion After Dark at the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park — Oct. 26 and 27. For those looking for spooky and fun alternatives to trick-or-treating, consider visiting the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park (SHP) offering not one but two Halloween-related events happening at once. For the younger crowd, “Mansion After Dark” activities — coordinated by the Governor’s Mansion docents — take place upstairs and offer a spooky good time with scary music to set the mood, dim lighting, fortune tellers, darkened rooms and even “coffin corners.” Plus, new this year and in conjunction with the Atomic Angels, a “Dr. Arronax’s Mayhem Manor” haunted house is underway downstairs perfect for the 13 and over crowd. Sure to offer shrills and thrills, “Mayhem Manor” activities will take on a full scale “Steampunk” theme showcasing gravestones, mannequins, taxidermy and other oddities that offer a scary good time.
For more information go to parks.ca.gov/governorsmansion.
Ghost Tours at the Sacramento History Museum — Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27
As part of a returning Living History “Ghost Tours” program offered by the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation this October, Old Sacramento guests 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 (not appropriate for very young children).
For more information go to historicoldsac.org.
Trick-or-Treating in Old Sacramento — Oct. 27. Trick-or-treating will be held through the streets of Old Sacramento once again this season. Last year more than 30 stores and museums in Old Sacramento provided special treats to children. 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.
Boo at the Zoo at the Sacramento Zoo — 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.
Acorn Day at the State Indian Museum — Oct. 13. 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. Part of the month-long ARTOBER effort that highlights the arts in Sacramento, 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 visit parks.ca.gov/indianmuseum.
The Haunted Fort at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park — Oct. 26 and 27. Looking for something ghoulishly unique to do this Halloween? For a spirited good time, check out the third 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. Amid the glow of campfire, daring visitors will go on guided 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.
For more information about SAM, its partners and/or these and other events and activities visit sacmuseums.org.