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Blanketed in wall-to-wall trampolines, Sky High Sports delights barefoot fun seekers with springy terrain and an exclusive court for jumpers aged 8 and younger. Guests can hone front flips, backflips, and belly flops during intense free-bounce sessions. Each trampoline comes equipped with a specially designed spring-loaded frame and thick 2-inch safety pads that grant patrons a landing cushier than a corner office at a marshmallow factory. Stuffed with blocks of spongy, body-molding material, a foam pit dares treasure seekers to fling themselves in or scour its depths for the lost contents of bygone pockets. Pintsize aerialist posses can safely practice their synchronized salchows on 360 degrees of trampoline walls while court supervisors watch from the sidelines and award hard-earned praise with oversize scorecards. Sky High also offers AIRobics fitness classes to help jumpers explore the outermost stratospheres of trampoline possibilities.
A whirlpool drags boats into the watery abyss. Racecars vie for supremacy on a track. Inexorable gears grind in a vast and purposeless machine. These are not the dreams of a dozing Rube Goldberg, but the interactive exhibits at the Sacramento Children's Museum. Next to the fluid-dynamics room, where child Poseidons subject boats to their tidal whims, a solar-powered raceway and an interactive gear assembly teach important lessons about the forces that keep the natural world moving when it would much rather be eating Almond Joys. These entertaining, hands-on experiences with scientific fundamentals are bolstered by the museum's calendar of events. Regular showcases such as story time, cultural-history lessons, and exercise classes intersperse children's-museum interaction with traditional word-of-mouth learning sessions.
A pilot sinks into her cockpit, buckles up, checks the controls, and gets ready for takeoff. The engine hums to life and soon the ground rolls beneath her, until she lifts away and the buildings nearby shrink to the size of dust motes. But there's something unusual with the scene: the pilot isn't old enough to see a PG-13 movie let alone pilot an aircraft. That's because the Aerospace Museum of California doesn't let age become a barrier to flight. Children of all sizes climb into airplanes, pilot virtual jets in simulators, and experiment with the physics of flight while adults do the same, exploring the history of aviation both on Earth and beyond.
More than 37,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibits chronicle everything from the very first airplanes made of cloth and wood to futuristic Mars-destined craft made of space-wood. Some of the museum?s prize possessions include the McDonnell-Douglas A-4C Skyhawk I, better known as one of the Blue Angels? stunt rides, and the Grumman F-14D Tomcat, just like the one co-starring in the 1986 film Top Gun. The Fun with Physics exhibit hammers home the idea of hands-on learning, letting young engineers play with simple machines, whereas the engine room dishes up eye-candy for motorheads, including specimens from 1910?s Le Rhone to the marvels that propelled the Titan rockets.
RPM Indoor Kart Racing indulges a driver's need for speed with two connectable indoor racecourses, refereed by staff members during high-octane heats. After stepping into the spacious lobby with high ceilings and a two-story window overlooking the track, adult drivers slap down a valid driver's license and sign a liability form in exchange for a racing suit and helmet. Once suited up, they climb into a 9-horsepower race kart that reaches speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, roughly the speed of an ostrich riding a moped.
The raceway's two sweeping thoroughfares—the Monster Energy Track and the Unbound Energy Track—send amateur IndyCar drivers zooming around adrenaline-filled turns. On Mondays, the two courses unfurl into one gargantuan raceway—the Lost Big Gun Track. Races include sprint and grand prix competitions with 8–10 racers, or Hot Laps that pit drivers against the clock, which despite one hand being smaller than the other, is actually a pretty good driver.
Guaranteeing maximum safety, referees keep their eagle eyes peeled during every race to enforce the courses' rules of the road. After heated competitions, former enemies bury the hatchet and become lifelong frenemies over refreshments in the Skybox, a windowed lounge that overlooks the tracks.
Each April, a tear in the space-time continuum opens up along the Sacramento River. Through it rolls a first-class locomotive right out of the 1940s and 50s. For 45 minutes, passengers in the train's coach and luxury first class car soak in the sights of California's fruit-growing deltas as the vintage diesel engine carries them into another time.
The California State Railroad Museum conducts these scenic, historic train rides. The excursions play a crucial role in the museum's mission to chronicle California's railroad history from the early days of the Gold Rush to modern agricultural transports and the proposed railroad to Mars. Spanning centuries, 21 restored locomotives and train cars blanket the museum's 225,000 square feet of exhibit space. A Pullman-style sleeping car and a dining car filled with fine china both sit on display, while the museum's Sierra Scene places a vintage steam locomotive next to a breathtaking mural of snow-dusted mountains. The popular Small Wonders: The Magic of Toy Trains exhibit currently commands the second floor, and with hundreds of examples of early electric toy trains and accessories such as stations, signals, tunnels, and bridges, it should delight even the most discerning miniature conductor.