Known as one of America’s premier wine and culinary destinations, Sonoma County is offering travelers a collection of new attractions and seasonal events this summer. From exploring the new Children’s Museum and enjoying plenty of live concerts, to sleeping under the stars or visiting one of the many family-friendly wineries, Sonoma County offers a well-rounded mix of events for travelers of all ages. Here is why a family trip to wine country is in order this summer. Remember, San Diego has a direct flight to Sonoma now.
New Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County opened its first phase to the public in late March 2014. The museum’s outdoor nature education area is representative of Sonoma County’s landscape, allowing children to play and learn in a redwood grove, the Russian River, wetlands and beaches. While the museum is targeted toward children 10 and under, the interactive environment makes it enjoyable for guests of all ages. More attractions in the museum will be added later in the year including an indoor Science and Imagination Gallery and a TOTtopia toddler room.
The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County will be open 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Fridays; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays; and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $7 for adults and children. For more information, call (707) 546-4069 or visit www.cmosc.org.
Camping in Sonoma Gets Digitized
The recently launched Hipcamp.com makes planning ahead easier for guests interested in sleeping under the stars. Guests of Austin Creek State Park in Guerneville can now secure camping spots online in advance of their visit. In addition to booking abilities, the site also provides a map of the full campground and real photos of the various areas. The 5,700-acre reserve has 23 campsites, 15 of which can now be reserved through the site at a cost of $35 per night. For more information or to reserve a campsite, visit www.hipcamp.com/ca/north-coast/austin-creek/bullfrog-pond-campground.
New Exhibits and Museum Mondays at Charles Schulz Museum
A Santa Rosa staple, the Charles Schulz Museum offers attractions that cater to an audience of all ages. On July 9, the museum welcomes ”˜Journey to the Reuben: The Early Years,” an exhibition that takes an in-depth look at Schulz’s early career. The Reuben Award is the highest honor bestowed annually by the National Cartoonist Society, a recognition which Schulz earned twice.
For the little ones, ”˜Museum Mondays’ takes place on the last Monday of every month through August. Aimed at children 5 and under, families can enjoy stories, movement games, art and craft activities and a movie. Admission is $5 per child and up to two adults are free before 11:00 a.m. For more information, call (707) 579-4452 or visit www.schulzmuseum.org.
Inaugural World Giraffe Day at Safari West – June 21
In an effort to raise awareness of the current status of Africa’s wild giraffe population, Safari West is inviting guests to celebrate the first ever World Giraffe Day on June 21. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the event will be an all-day affair followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. with a guest speaker. Nine stations will be set-up and staffed by animal experts to provide information on giraffes as well as conservation tips. Admission is free for all guests on-property inclusive of those staying overnight or with day trip or meal reservations. For more information, call (707) 579-2551 or visit www.safariwest.com.
Sonoma County Fair, July 24-August 10 (Closed on Mondays)
Games, food and music come together during the annual Sonoma County Fair, which this year is celebrating the 60’s with a theme of “Peace, Love & Fair”. Musical headliners include Australian pop star Cody Simpson and rock band Lifehouse. The carnival is open daily from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tickets are on-sale now with single day admission starting at $8 for guests 13 and up and $5 for kids age 7-12. For more information, call (707) 545-4200 or visit www.sonomacountyfair.com.
Fantastical Family Night with Broadway Under the Stars, July 25-26
Theater enthusiasts can experience a night of music and performances while enjoying the summer’s breeze at Jack London State Park. The dedicated ”˜Fantastical Family Night’ takes place on Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 and will be an evening full of magic and popular Disney and Broadway songs. Pre-show picnicking begins at 5:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets start at $29 for guests under 21 and $42 for adults. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.transcendencetheatre.org/index.html.
Visit Family-Friendly Sonoma Wineries
A visit to Sonoma County isn’t complete without a stop at one of the over 400 wineries and there’s plenty that are suitable for even the youngest visitors. A sampling of family-friendly Sonoma wineries are listed below:
- Arrowood Vineyards & Winery – This large New England-style veranda overlooks well-tended, organic vineyards and the oak-studded hills of the Sonoma Valley, allowing for plenty of space for kids to run around. The tasting room is also equipped with a toy train to help keep kids occupied while mom and dad sample wines. Tasting room open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (707) 935-2600 or visit www.arrowoodvineyards.com.
- Larson Family Winery – Equipped with picnic tables, a bocce ball court, and green grass for blankets, the winery has plenty of open space, making it both kids and pet-friendly. Tasting room open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, call (707) 938-3031 or visit www.larsonfamilywinery.com.
- Benziger Family Winery – Kids can frolic on the winery’s playground and learn about bird species at the small bird zoo. Tasting room open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, call (888) 490-2739 or visit www.benziger.com.
In addition, families can enjoy inner-tubing, zip lining, gorgeous beaches and so much more. What is your favorite thing to do in Sonoma with kids?
*All photos are courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism.