“We passed through Sacramento on the way to Tahoe” was a statement I heard often during the six years I lived in Orange County and later, Los Angeles. It was said innocently, but it always kinda irked me because my hometown has so much more to offer than your average passer through town and I never understood why more people couldn’t make the distinction between Sacramento and say, Modesto (no offense to Modesto). Home to over a million residents, the Sacramento region has an NBA team, a United Soccer League team (there’s talk about them becoming an MLS team) and a minor league baseball team, which is a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. It also has a lengthy history dating back to Sutter’s Fort, The Gold Rush and the Central Pacific Railroad. It’s home to the Crocker Art Museum which houses internationally recognized art pieces, not to mention our rich pool of local artists. We have endless nightlife options and a booming restaurant scene (even according to our Bay Area frienemies). PLUS, we’ve been declared the ‘Farm-to-Fork’ Capital of America, which means you can rest assured that your food is most likely sustainably sourced from a nearby farm. I should probably also mention that Sacramento is the Capital of the sixth largest economy in the world, but I’m assuming you already know that.
Hopefully all of this info has drawn you into visiting if you haven’t already, because I’ve teamed up with a group of California Mom bloggers (check out their links at the end of this post) and we are spilling our local knowledge of places to take your kids throughout our beautiful state. I decided to share about a less obvious spot, Gibson Ranch Country Park, about 20ish minutes outside of Sacramento, because it’s a destination you wouldn’t easily find just by googling.
Located in Elverta, CA, this 30 plus acres park is still within Sacramento County lines, but you’ll feel like you’re out in the country. When you enter the property, you’ll almost immediately see horses peacefully grazing, as well as endless natural fields, heritage oak trees and a pond filled with fish, ducks and geese. I immediately feel a sense of tranquility when I enter; I roll down the windows and let that clean country air blow through the car.
Here are a few activities you can do while you’re there:
Feed the Ducks
I’ve been reading more and more about how feeding bread to ducks is bad for them, so here are some alternative options, or pick-up some duck feed
Have a Picnic
There are shaded picnic tables all around the pond, near the playground
Let the Kids Play
There’s a large playground close to the pond
The pond is stocked with catfish and trout
Fly a Kite
The park’s wide-open fields are the perfect spot
Just set the kids loose! There are acres of fields for them to run around and wear themselves out
Visit the Stables
You can see the horses close-up, or you can call ahead and see if there are any horses available to rent for a little ride around the property
There are five-ish miles of trail
Host an Event
Gibson Ranch accommodates parties as large as weddings and as small as family BBQs – I’m thinking this could be a good spot for my son’s 4th birthday in September 🙂
You can reserve a campsite or even a rustic cabin
This park is seriously cool – it’s a must see if you’re ever out this way, even if you are just passing through on your way to Tahoe 🙂