13 Free Things To Do In Sacramento With Kids

free things to do in sacramento with kids

Looking for fun, free things to do with your kids in Sacramento? Whether you're a local or just visiting, this city is filled with plenty of free activities for families to enjoy. From exploring the great outdoors to immersing yourself in culture and history, we've compiled a list of 13 must-visit spots that won't break the bank. So grab the kids and get ready to have some fun without spending a dime!

Activity Description
Explore the Sacramento River Trail Walk, bike, or rollerblade along the river and enjoy beautiful views
Visit the California State Capitol Museum Learn about the history of California and tour the Capitol building
Go geocaching Use GPS devices to search for hidden treasures around the city
Tour the Old Sacramento State Historic Park Explore historic buildings and learn about the Gold Rush era
Visit the Crocker Art Museum Admission is free on the third Sunday of every month
Attend a free family concert at Cesar Chavez Plaza Enjoy live music and games on Fridays during the summer
Explore the Effie Yeaw Nature Center See native wildlife and learn about the environment
Take a nature walk at the Maidu Museum & Historic Site Learn about the Maidu people and their traditions
Visit the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center Admission is free on the first Saturday of every month
See the Tower Bridge and the State Capitol at night Watch the buildings light up for a beautiful nighttime view


Explore the California State Capitol building

Source: blog.trekaroo.com

When it comes to finding free and fun things to do in Sacramento with your kids, exploring the California State Capitol building is a great option!

Even if you're not a history buff, there's something fascinating about walking through the halls of the capitol building and learning about California's past. Plus, it's a great way to teach your children about government and politics in a hands-on way.

Here are some tips to make the most of your visit:

  • Plan your visit ahead of time: The California State Capitol Museum offers free guided tours of the building (including the basement and Senate and Assembly galleries), but they do require reservations. You can book a tour online or call the museum to reserve your spot.
  • Be prepared for security: Just like at an airport, you and your bags will go through a security checkpoint before entering the capitol building. Make sure to leave any prohibited items (such as weapons or large bags) at home.
  • Make a stop at the gift shop: Yes, this one isn't free, but it's worth mentioning. The gift shop at the California State Capitol Museum has some unique and educational items for kids, such as books on California history or stuffed animals of the state's animal symbols.
  • Check out the outdoor spaces: The capitol building is surrounded by a beautiful park with plenty of space to run around and have a picnic. You can also wander through the grounds and see statues of famous Californians like Ronald Reagan or Cesar Chavez.

Exploring the California State Capitol building is a great way to spend a day with your kids without spending a dime (minus maybe a souvenir or two from the gift shop). It's a unique and educational experience that your family won't soon forget!


Play at the McKinley Park playground

Source: www.reddit.com
Characteristic Description
NameMcKinley Park Playground
TypePlayground in Sacramento, California
Rating / Review count4.7 / 159
Address601 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95816
HoursSaturday - 7 AM–8 PM
Sunday - 7 AM–8 PM
Monday - 7 AM–8 PM
Tuesday - 7 AM–8 PM
Wednesday - 7 AM–8 PM
Thursday - 7 AM–8 PM
Friday - 7 AM–8 PM

Looking for a fun and free activity to do with the kids in Sacramento? Look no further than the McKinley Park playground!

Located just east of downtown Sacramento in the heart of the East Sacramento neighborhood, McKinley Park is a beautiful green space with plenty of amenities for kids of all ages to enjoy. But the highlight for most families is the playground, which features a variety of different play structures and equipment that can keep children entertained for hours.

Some of the highlights include a large sandbox, multiple climbing structures, swings, slides, and even a mini zip line. There's also a water play area, which is perfect for hot summer days when it's important to stay cool.

One thing that sets McKinley Park apart from other playgrounds in the area is its focus on inclusivity and accessibility. The playground features equipment that is designed to be usable by children of all abilities, so kids with disabilities can feel welcome and included.

The park itself is also a great place to explore, with plenty of trails and open spaces to run around in. There's a large pond that's home to all kinds of wildlife, as well as a rose garden and several picnic areas where families can enjoy a meal or a snack.

Overall, the McKinley Park playground is a fantastic place to take kids in Sacramento. It's accessible, inclusive, and -- best of all -- free! Whether you're looking for a place to spend a lazy afternoon or a spot to burn off some energy before heading home, this playground is sure to be a hit with kids and parents alike.


Visit the animals at the Fairytale Town petting zoo

Source: www.tripadvisor.com

Sacramento is a great place to visit with your kids. There's plenty to see and do, and best of all, many of the activities won't cost you a dime. If you're looking for an activity that's both fun and educational, head to Fairytale Town petting zoo.

Located in William Land Park, Fairytale Town is a magical play place that features fun play areas based on famous fairy tales and nursery rhymes. On top of that, they also have a petting zoo! Kids will love getting up close and personal with the animals.

The petting zoo is home to a variety of animals, including goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and rabbits. Kids can pet and feed the animals while learning about their habitats and behavior. The petting zoo is small enough that you can see everything in one visit, but big enough to keep kids entertained.

In addition to the petting zoo, there are plenty of other fun things to do at Fairytale Town. Kids can climb through Jack and Jill's hill, explore Alice's Wonderland, or take a ride on the Humpty Dumpty slide. There's also a snack bar where you can purchase drinks and snacks.

While there is an admission fee to enter the main part of Fairytale Town, the petting zoo is free! It's open year-round, so it's a great way to spend a morning or afternoon no matter the weather. Keep in mind that the petting zoo is only open on weekends in the fall and winter, but is open daily in the spring and summer.

Overall, visiting the animals at Fairytale Town petting zoo is a fun and free activity for families in Sacramento. It's a great opportunity to teach your kids about different animals and their habitats while having fun in a magical setting. Be sure to bring hand sanitizer and a camera to capture all the fun!

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Walk along the American River Parkway

Source: bidunart.com

Sacramento, the capital city of California, offers a wealth of fun-filled activities for visitors of all ages. If you're visiting Sacramento with your kids and looking for a free outdoor activity, walking along the American River Parkway is a great option.

The American River Parkway is a 23-mile long parkway that stretches along the banks of the American River. This natural oasis provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and it offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.

The parkway features miles of paved trails that are perfect for walking, jogging, or biking. The trails wind through shaded forests, grassy meadows, and along the riverbanks. Along the way, you will encounter plaques that explain the different flora and fauna that are found in the parkway.

If you're looking to get out on the water, the parkway offers free access to the American River for kayaking, fishing, or swimming. However, be sure to check river conditions before attempting any water-based activities.

The American River Parkway is also home to several picnic areas and playgrounds. Bring your lunch and enjoy a picnic amidst the beautiful surroundings while your kids play on the playground.

For those interested in history, the parkway also has several monuments and memorials that highlight the area's rich history. The Pioneer Memorial, located at the Sacramento Horsemen’s Association parking lot, honors the pioneers who traveled to California during the Gold Rush era. There is also the Jedediah Smith Memorial located at the parkway's eastern end that pays tribute to the famous explorer who helped open up the American West.

In conclusion, taking a walk along the American River Parkway is a great way to spend a day with your family in Sacramento. With plenty of free activities to choose from, this natural oasis offers something for everyone. So pack a picnic, grab your walking shoes, and enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh air along the American River Parkway!

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Learn about trains at the California State Railroad Museum

Source: www.visitsacramento.com
Characteristic Description
NameCalifornia State Railroad Museum
TypeMuseum in Sacramento, California
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.8 / 3,687
Address125 I St, Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone(916) 323-9280
HoursSaturday - 10 AM–5 PM
Sunday - 10 AM–5 PM
Monday - 10 AM–5 PM
Tuesday - 10 AM–5 PM
Wednesday - 10 AM–5 PM
Thursday - 10 AM–5 PM
Friday - 10 AM–5 PM

If you're looking for some fun activities to do with your kids in Sacramento, then the California State Railroad Museum is a perfect place to start. With its fascinating exhibits and interactive displays, you and your little ones will get to learn all about the history of trains in California. Here are some of the things you can expect to see and do when you visit the museum.

Explore the exhibits

The California State Railroad Museum has a vast collection of locomotives, railroad cars, and artifacts that tell the story of California's railroad history. Some of the most impressive exhibits include the giant steam engines and passenger cars that date back to the early 1900s. You and your kids can marvel at the size and complexity of these machines and learn about the technologies that made them work.

Ride a train

During your visit, you'll have the opportunity to ride on a steam-powered train that takes you on a six-mile round trip along the Sacramento River. This is a great way to experience what train travel was like in the old days and to take in the beautiful scenery along the way. The train operates weekends from April through September and during holiday seasons.

Enjoy the interactive displays

There are several interactive displays throughout the museum that are designed to engage visitors of all ages. For example, your kids can climb aboard a locomotive cab and pretend to be the engineer, or they can try their hand at operating a handcar. There are also several exhibits that showcase the various tools, machines, and technologies that were used in the railroad industry, which can be an excellent opportunity to learn about science, mechanics, and engineering.

Participate in special events

Throughout the year, the California State Railroad Museum hosts special events and activities that are geared towards families and children. For example, during National Train Day in May, the museum offers live music, train rides, and behind-the-scenes tours. In December, the museum hosts the popular Polar Express train ride, which features a live reading of the beloved children's book, hot cocoa, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Explore Old Sacramento

After your visit to the museum, take a stroll through Old Sacramento, which is just a short walk away. This historic district features several old-timey shops, restaurants, and attractions that can give your kids a taste of life in the past. From the candy shops to the old-fashioned saloons, there's something here for everyone.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a fun and educational way to spend a day in Sacramento with your kids, the California State Railroad Museum is an excellent choice. With its impressive exhibits, interactive displays, and exciting train ride, your kids will learn about history, science, and technology in a way that's both engaging and entertaining.


Create art at the Crocker Art Museum’s Playdates for kids

Source: www.crockerart.org

Sacramento is a great place to visit with kids, especially if you know where to go. One of the best places to take your young ones is the Crocker Art Museum. This museum boasts a wide array of exhibits, events, and activities that are perfect for kids of all ages.

If you want to take your kids to a fun and interactive event at the Crocker Art Museum, you can attend the Playdates for kids program. It is an excellent way to inspire creativity and imagination in your children. In this program, your kids can create art in fun ways, explore new techniques and materials, and learn about the art of other cultures.

The Crocker Art Museum offers the Playdates for kids program on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Kids aged 5 and under can attend the program from 9:30 am to 10:30 am, while kids aged 6 and above can participate from 11 am to 12 pm. The program is organized in the E. Kendell Davis Jr. Courtyard, which is a beautiful outdoor space that is perfect for exploring and art-making.

During the program, your kids can create their art using high-quality materials. The materials are provided by the museum and are specifically chosen to engage young children's senses and curiosity. The program's instructors are experienced artists who are knowledgeable about art and can guide your child's creativity.

In addition to the Playdates for kids program, the Crocker Art Museum has plenty of activities and exhibits your kids will love. From interactive galleries to hands-on exhibits, there is something for everyone. Some of the popular exhibits include the African art galleries, the California art galleries, and the permanent collection of contemporary art.

In conclusion, if you want to take your kids to a fun and engaging activity in Sacramento, visit the Crocker Art Museum. The Playdates for kids program is an excellent way to encourage creativity and imagination in your children. Plus, your kids will have the opportunity to explore new techniques and materials and learn about the art of other cultures. So, take advantage of this program and create art with your kids in the beautiful E. Kendell Davis Jr. Courtyard.


Hike the trails at Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Source: www.henryandandrewsguide.com

A great way to explore Sacramento for free with kids is to go on a hike at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. This is a wonderful place to take the kids to reconnect with nature and explore the outdoors. The nature center offers several hiking trails, each of which is unique and offers something different. Here are some of the things you can do on a hike at Effie Yeaw:

  • Go for a picnic: Pack a picnic basket and head out on the trail. The nature center has many great spots where you can set up a picnic. Take in the beautiful scenery while you enjoy your lunch.
  • Nature spotting: There is so much to see and explore at Effie Yeaw. The kids will love spotting different types of animals and plants while on the trail. Make a game out of it and see who can spot the most.
  • Learn about the indigenous people: The nature center has several interpretive signs along the trail that detail the history of the area and the indigenous people who once lived there. Take some time to read about the history and learn something new.
  • Enjoy a guided tour: The Effie Yeaw Nature Center offers free guided tours on the weekends. The guides are knowledgeable and will teach you and your children about the different species of plants and animals that inhabit the area.
  • Spot birds: The nature center is home to several species of birds. Keep your eyes peeled for red-shouldered hawks, great horned owls, and woodpeckers. If you have binoculars, bring them along for a closer look.

Overall, hiking the trails at Effie Yeaw Nature Center is a fantastic free activity to do with children. With plenty of space to explore, trees to climb, and nature to discover, you won't have to spend a dime to have a great outdoor adventure.


Attend storytime at the Sacramento Public Library

Source: www.abc10.com

As a parent, finding affordable yet enjoyable activities to do with your kids can be a challenge. Fortunately, Sacramento offers a variety of options for families to enjoy quality time together without breaking the bank. One of these amazing options is attending storytime at the Sacramento Public Library.

The Sacramento Public Library system is comprised of 28 branches located throughout the city. Many of these branches offer weekly or biweekly storytime events for children of all ages. Storytime typically includes a librarian reading aloud from a selected children's book, followed by a related activity or craft. The events are free to attend and require no registration, making it a perfect last-minute activity for families with busy schedules.

There are a variety of storytime programs available, catering to different age groups. For babies, there is a "Baby Lapsit" storytime that features stories, songs, and rhymes for infants aged 0-18 months. For toddlers, there is a "Toddler Time" storytime that includes interactive stories, songs, and fingerplays for children aged 18 months to 3 years old. For preschoolers, there is a "Preschool Storytime" that features longer stories, activities, and crafts for kids aged 3-5 years.

Attending storytime at the Sacramento Public Library is not just a fun activity, but it can also have several benefits for your child's development. Listening to stories can help develop language and listening skills, as well as stimulate their imagination and creativity. Additionally, attending storytime is a great opportunity for kids to socialize and interact with other children their age.

In conclusion, attending storytime at the Sacramento Public Library is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your kids while staying within your budget. With a variety of age-specific options available, there's something for every family. So pack a snack, grab your little ones, and head to your nearest branch for an afternoon of fun storytelling and engaging activities.

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Discover history at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

Source: www.tripadvisor.com

If you're looking for a fun and educational activity to do with your kids in Sacramento, then look no further than Sutters Fort State Historic Park! This gem of a park offers visitors a glimpse into California's early history and is sure to delight both kids and adults alike.

Located in the heart of Sacramento, Sutters Fort State Historic Park is an authentic reconstruction of John Sutter's fort, which was originally built in 1839. The fort served as a trading hub for California's early pioneers and was an important site during the California Gold Rush.

What makes Sutters Fort such an interesting place to visit is the opportunity to step back in time and experience life in the 19th century. Visitors can explore the fort's many rooms and exhibits, which include a blacksmith shop, a carpenter's shop, and a distillery. There are also several hands-on activities for kids, such as dressing up in period costumes and participating in interactive exhibit areas.

In addition to exploring the fort itself, visitors can also take part in guided tours and special events. The park hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including living history demonstrations, music and dance performances, and special exhibits.

Best of all, admission to Sutters Fort State Historic Park is completely free! The park is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm and offers plenty of parking for visitors.

Overall, Sutters Fort State Historic Park is a fantastic destination for families looking to learn more about California's rich history. So why not pack up the kids and head over for a day of fun and learning? You won't be disappointed!


Tour the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park

Source: en.wikipedia.org
Characteristic Description
NameGovernor's Mansion State Historic Park
TypeMansion in Sacramento, California
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.4 / 56
Address1526 H St, Sacramento, CA 95814

California's capital city, Sacramento, offers a plethora of family-friendly attractions that could pique the interest of young minds. If you're looking for free things to do with the kids, touring the Governors Mansion State Historic Park is an excellent choice.

Built-in 1877, the Governors Mansion served as the official residence of the governors of California from John Pardee to Ronald Reagan. Today, the mansion is a state park and is open to visitors who are curious about its history and architectural significance.

The mansion's guided tour offers an opportunity to explore the building's interior, which is an exemplary interpretation of Victorian opulence. The sitting rooms, dining rooms, and other parts of the mansion are adorned with period furnishings and decor that showcase grandeur and elegance.

The tour is led by state park docents who provide insightful information about the mansion's history, architecture, and former inhabitants. Kids can learn about the lifestyle of California's governors and their families and get a glimpse of what political life looked like in the early 20th century.

Though visitors cannot touch any of the objects or furnishings in the mansion, they can take photos of the interior design and the grand staircase, which is a favorite among visitors.

Aside from touring the mansion, visitors can stroll through the beautiful park surrounding the residence. The park offers shaded picnic areas and benches where visitors can relax and enjoy the lush greenery.

Guided tours of the mansion are available every hour from Tuesday to Saturday, and reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to help support the upkeep of the mansion.

In conclusion, touring the Governors Mansion State Historic Park in Sacramento offers a fantastic opportunity for families to learn about California's history and architectural heritage. The experience is informative, entertaining, and free, making it an excellent choice for parents who want to cultivate their children's curiosity and love for learning.

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Check out the murals at the Wide Open Walls Festival

Source: www.wideopenwalls.com

If you are planning a family trip to Sacramento, California, you can't miss the Wide Open Walls Festival – an annual street art festival that transforms the city's walls into an open-air museum. The mural festival showcases some of the best street art from local and international artists, making it a great activity to experience with your kids for free.

The Wide Open Walls Festival started in 2016 and has quickly gained recognition as one of the most significant mural festivals in the country. Every year, the festival brings new masterpieces to Sacramento, making it an exciting and unique experience for visitors.

Walking around the streets of Sacramento during the festival is like walking through an outdoor gallery, with vibrant, colorful, and thought-provoking murals at every corner. Each mural tells a story, highlights social commentary, or pays tribute to the city's history, making it a great educational and cultural experience for your children.

To make the most out of your family outing, it's recommended to plan ahead and map out the murals you want to visit. You can check out the festival's map online or plan to join one of the various walking or biking tours offered throughout the festival period.

One of the highlights of the festival is the incredible talent of the artists who participate. The street artists create a mix of styles that range from abstract to photorealism and painting murals on every scale, from small to gigantic. So, take your time to appreciate the details of each mural, giving your kids a chance to ask questions and learn more about the different styles and techniques.

In conclusion, the Wide Open Walls Festival is a fantastic free activity for families visiting Sacramento. With its colorful murals and street art adorning the walls of the city, it's a great way to bond, enjoy art, and explore Sacramento's diverse culture with your children. Don't forget to bring your cameras so you can capture the amazing murals and memories with your kids.


Get wet at the Fountains at Roseville

Source: www.fountainsatroseville.com

As a family or a group of friends with kids, it can always be challenging to find new and fun activities that you can all enjoy together. Fortunately, if you are in Sacramento, there are plenty of options available for families with kids. One of the top choices is the Fountains at Roseville, which is the perfect destination for a fun-filled day out in the sun.

The Fountains at Roseville is a must-visit for families who love to spend time outdoors and enjoy playing in the water. This outdoor shopping center offers a variety of water features and fountains that are perfect for all ages. Kids can run, splash, and play in the large shallow pool, while parents can relax on the surrounding lawn. There are also several misters and fountains throughout the shopping center that kids can run through to cool off on a hot summer day.

The Fountains also hosts a variety of family-friendly events throughout the year, making your visit even more enjoyable. From movie screenings under the stars to live music performances and art exhibits, there is always something new and exciting happening at The Fountains at Roseville.

Apart from the water attractions and events, The Fountains at Roseville also has several shops and restaurants that offer something for everyone. Adults can shop for designer clothes, accessories, and jewelry while kids can indulge in their favorite sweet treats like ice cream, crepes, and candy. There are also several restaurants that offer a wide variety of cuisine, from American classics to sushi and Asian cuisine.

Overall, The Fountains at Roseville is a perfect destination for families with kids looking to enjoy a fun-filled day out. The shopping center is easy to navigate, and there is plenty of parking available. So, pack your towels, sunscreen, and swimwear and head over to The Fountains at Roseville for a day of family fun and outdoor adventure.


Watch a movie under the stars at Movies in the Park

Source: www.sactownmag.com

Looking for fun and free activities to do with your kids in Sacramento? Why not take them to Movies in the Park! This annual event is held during the summer months at various parks throughout the city and is a perfect way to spend a warm evening with your family.

What is Movies in the Park, you may ask? It's a free, outdoor movie screening event that allows you and your family to enjoy a great film under the stars. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, and snacks, and settle in to enjoy a family-friendly movie.

This event is perfect if you're looking for an inexpensive way to entertain your kids on a summer evening. In addition to the movie screening, there are also often food trucks and other activities for kids to enjoy before the movie starts.

Some popular parks that host Movies in the Park include McKinley Park, Land Park, and Cesar Chavez Park. Movies vary by location but often include popular animated films, PG-rated movies, and family-friendly classics.

It's recommended that you arrive early to secure a good spot and set up your blankets and chairs. You can also bring a picnic dinner to enjoy before the movie starts. Keep in mind that Movies in the Park is a family-friendly event, so be sure to leave any alcoholic beverages at home.

Overall, Movies in the Park is a fun and free event that the whole family can enjoy. You can find more information about this event on the Sacramento Parks and Recreation website, so be sure to check it out and plan your next family movie night under the stars!

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Frequently asked questions

Some popular free outdoor activities include visiting parks, such as McKinley Park or William Land Park, playing at Splash Parks, hiking at the American River Parkway, or exploring the grounds at the California State Capitol.

Yes, some free indoor activities include visiting the California State Railroad Museum, the Sacramento Public Library, The Discovery Museum, and the California Museum.

Children under the age of 2 can enter the Sacramento Zoo for free, while children ages 2-11 can enter for a reduced fee of $10.

Yes, there are often free events for kids in Sacramento throughout the year. Some examples include the Sacramento Children's Museum's Free Target First Friday Nights, the Outdoor Movie Series at Cesar Chavez Plaza, and the Annual Celebrate the Earth Festival.

Yes, the Crocker Art Museum offers free admission every third Sunday of the month, and the California Museum offers free admission to their permanent exhibits for first-time visitors with a library card from any California public library.

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Corey Ruiz

I love finding free activities for kids in Sacramento, so thank you for this list! Exploring the McKinley Park Rose Garden sounds like such a lovely way to spend an afternoon. And the Sacramento Public Library's summer reading program is a must-do for my bookworms. I'm glad there are so many options for free family fun in Sacramento - it makes it easier to plan outings and create lasting memories. Thanks again for the recommendations!

Yash Weiss

Oh wow, thank you so much for sharing these free activities in Sacramento for kids! I'm always looking for fun things to do with my little ones without breaking the bank. The Sacramento Children’s Museum sounds like a blast - I can't wait to take my kids there to explore and learn through play. And the Saturday Playgrounds program sounds perfect for summertime fun. I appreciate the suggestions and can't wait to make some memories with my family in Sacramento!
You're welcome! I'm glad you found the suggestions helpful. The Sacramento Children’s Museum is definitely a fun and educational place for kids to explore and learn through play. I'm sure your little ones will have a blast there! And the Saturday Playgrounds program is a great way to enjoy summertime fun without spending any money. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time making memories in Sacramento! Enjoy your adventures with your little ones!

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