Hunker down for a rainy week, Sacramento. If you have little kids in your family you’re probably looking for fun, inexpensive activities out of the rain, and if you’re like me you’re finding your choices very limited. It doesn’t seem like those should be too many limitations, but I always find that you have to be pretty creative to find sheltered fun for the little ones. I have a few picks and pans, and I’d love to hear from y’all as well.
Of course the first thing that comes to mind is the liberry. Our personal favorite (and I hesitate to recommend it, lest it become totally overplayed) is the E. K. McClatchy branch on 22nd and V streets in Poverty Ridge. (In that older post I guessed that the building style is Georgian but I believe it is simply Victorian). It is basically like a giant drafty old mansion where every room is the library and none of them are the smoking den or the servants’ quarters. Great kids section, neat little sun room, wonderful staff. The only drawback to this one with the little ones is that it is teeny tiny so loud voices carry and you’ll get dirty looks from the other patrons.
Because of this the Central branch, with its lower floor dedicated to children’s books, is probably the best. It has a bean-bag chill out area and tons of books. Parking is the only issue with Central.
I’m not as happy with Explorit!, a “hands-on science center” in Davis. I suppose I wouldn’t warn you off visiting once, after you’ve read this and know what you’re getting in advance.
As you approach Explorit! you notice that it is in a large warehousey building and you’re excited to try out the hundreds of large fun activities they must have — and you’re even more excited because it only costs $4 for kids over 3 for all that. When you enter the front door you see a large room with a bunch of stations, and you are looking around for how you get into that big giant area in the back. Then you are too embarrassed to ask “so hey, where’s the rest of it?” Indeed, Explorit! consists entirely of a large room with little activity stations focusing mostly on environmental and everyday science — microscopes, ecosystems, how substances interact, etc.
If one parent takes one kid who is reading age, the admission price is about $8, which I suppose is worth it — the kid can read instructions at each station and will get a lot out of it. For the little ones, you have to explain everything and by the time you’re getting to the part about pouring one capful of yeast into the water mixture they are on to something else, and after about 5 of those exchanges you’re over it. So just don’t go into it expecting Exploratorium scale on a value meal budget; but if you expect value meal Exploratorium on a value meal budget you might have fun.
What about you, friends? What are your go-to activities with little kids when the rain, she is pounding down from Father Sky?