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Archive for the ‘Sacramento Family Travel’ Category

The Smith Family Adventures: California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento

June 16th, 2011 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Sacramento Adventures, Sacramento Family Travel

Destiny and Jared Show off their Label Creations@ California State Railroad Museum

Yesterday the Smith Family visited the California  State Railroad Museum in Sacramento California.  I have fond memories of visiting this museum with my four year old train fan Justin.  The little engineers cap we bought him was worn by three Smith kids before being passed on to a friend of ours.  At the time, Justin was fascinated by the Thomas Trains upstairs, but also enjoyed the full sized train exhibits.

Jared, Jr. Thomas the Tank Engine Engineer 2011, California State Railroad Museum

Eight years later Justin returned with his  brother and sister in tow.  The Thomas the Train play area was still a big hit with every Smith kid.  We spent about half of our time in that area.

Twelve Year Old Justin's View, California State Railroad Museum Sacramento

Twelve Year Old Justin's View, California State Railroad Museum Sacramento

This Sacramento Road Trip is focused on our family’s rich history.  My Dad’s grandfather,  Frank McGarrity was a train engineer as was my Mom’s Uncle Frank. (Ironic,  isn’t it? Two engineers named Frank on two different sides of the continent)  This engine was the same kind driven by my Great Grandfather Frank at the turn of the century.

Great Grandfather Frank's Engine, California State Railroad Museum Sacramento

One of the most kid friendly activities at the museum was about those beautiful labels that they put on the side of fruit crates.  Tucked away in a corner, this exhibit covers the fruit growing and packing industries which played an important role in our family’s history.  My mom worked as a peach packer one summer,  Destiny’s great grandma works for a Watsonville fruit cannery, and my Dad’s cousin Jack was an orange rancher.  The kids enjoyed learning important role that trains play in moving California fruit across the country.  They also had a chance to use a magnet board to make their own colorful fruit crate labels.  What an ingenious activity!

Destiny's Fruit Variety Label, California State Railroad Museum Sacramento.

Jared Prouldly Displays His Fruit Label, California State Railroad Museum Sacramento

The kids enjoyed walking through a variety of real train cars from different periods of history.  The mail car and the train kitchen was particularly impressive.

Mail Car, California State Railroad Museum Sacramento

Kitchen Car, California Train Museum Sacramento

The California State Railroad Museum is a must visit Sacramento attraction for kids of all ages.  Be sure it has a spot on your family’s itinerary.

Happy Trails,



Kid Friendly Sacramento Hotel: Best Western Sandman

June 14th, 2011 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Sacramento Adventures, Sacramento Family Travel

Jared enjoys the Grotto, Best Western Sandman Sacramento

Yesterday we officially kicked off our Sacramento road trip.  My mom grew up north of Sacramento in Auburn California.  The grand daughter of a gold miner, she has unique insight into this area.  For many years I have dreamed of taking a trip up North to explore our mining heritage and to introduce the kids to all the kid friendly Sacramento attractions that I have visited over the  years .  I’ve been waiting and waiting for the little guys to be old enough to enjoy such a journey and we’re  finally here!!!!

My mom discovered a fun and kid friendly hotel about a 2o minute walk from Old Town Sacramento.  From the outside the Best Western Sandman looks like the classic 1960′s style motor lodge.    Behind  closed doors, the rooms are updated and spacious.  They include a microwave and refrigerator. The also have free Wi-Fi that actually works!  The hotel has a laundry room and a fitness room as well as a small pool. 

 The kids loved the “secret” gate that led out to the banks of the American River.  We all enjoyed a walk before taking a dip in the pool.

American River Walk, Sacramento California

The Best Western Sandman serves continental breakfast including waffles.  The attendant was so kind, helping the kids get their food as I juggled the needs of  two hungry younsters.

Jared is still discovering new cool statues throughout the property.  I’ll take some  pictures of the more ambitious works of art (some  are two stories high), but here are two of Jared’s favorites.

Jared and his Bear Buddies, Best Western Sandman Sacramento

Off to the train museum and Sutter’s Fort.

Happy Trails,


*Best Western Sandman did not provide me with anything complimentary.  In fact they don’t know I exist.  I just think that their hotel is great for families with kids.

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