By the late 1940s, the world of customized cars was truly in its golden age, so it's not surprising that those enterprising mechanics wanted someplace to show off their hard work. Enter the Sacramento Autorama, which began bringing together the community of custom-car builders in 1951. Now one of the longest-running indoor car shows in the world, the Autorama continues to bolster Sacramento's status as one of the world's custom car capitals. Over the years, the show has showcased hot rods, muscle cars, and chrome creations from master designers ranging from George and Sam Barris to Boyd Coddington. This year's edition will be no different; hundreds of show vehicles will compete for show honors including the coveted Custom d’Elegance and King of Kustoms prizes and the "Big B" awards, which reward engineering ingenuity while honoring the memory of Sacramento customizers from years past.
While the rest of the natural world prepares to hibernate for the winter, Enchanted Country Trees & Pumpkins has been at its most active since 1983. Farmers pick the plumpest pumpkins from their patches, displaying them next to bounce houses and trundling John Deere tractors. Barnyard animals deign to be petted in exchange for palmfuls of feed, and ponies accept small riders for afternoon trots. Come winter, the lots fill with Christmas trees.
At The Pumpkin Factory, festive gourds bring an orange glow to the atmosphere, setting the scene for an exciting fall carnival. At three locations, kids leap into the air in inflatable bounce houses, converse with the goats at the petting zoo, and trot around on gentle ponies. In Corona, a special EuroBobble attraction lets guests play buoy, rolling atop a pool in a clear, inflatable bubble. At the Westminster Pumpkin Factory, helicopters take flight for scenic tours of the fairgrounds. At the end of the day, families can take home a pumpkin of their own to create a gruesome jack 'o' lantern doppelganger of their neighbor.
Montebello Barnyard Zoo's animals are like rock stars, touring local homes and meeting places for one-on-one encounters and shows. Pony rides headline this traveling attraction, which also incorporates a petting zoo with various farm animals: goats, sheep, chickens, and even a llama.
The animals still spend the most time at their home venue, however. Here, fenced off areas contain larger animals such as cows and zebras, who always show up to work wearing the same black-and-white outfits. Bales of hay, wooden barrels, and a large, red barn create a rustic setting for picnics and birthday parties. Nearby, a merry-go-round spins endlessly and a truck?decorated to resemble a locomotive?pulls train cars on a tour of the grounds.
Pasadena Pumpkin Patch changes with the seasons. In the spring and summer, it sells fresh fruit. In the winter, families come to choose Christmas trees. But the highlight of its year is fall, when jack-o-lanterns grace every doorstep and pumpkin fills every pie. At this time of year, the pumpkin patch grows and bright orange gourds ripen on the vine, waiting for a pair of hands to pluck it from a bed of hay and decorate it with a spooky face. In addition to pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, the farm offers a variety of fall activities. Pony rides and a petting zoo introduce children to the many creatures that call a farm their home, while towering bouncing slides help mini thrill-seekers locate their lost puppy Waldo before they whiz to the ground.
Thousands of captive-bred exotic animals face abandonment, abuse, and neglect every year. Since readily available homes with trained caretakers are few and far between, euthanasia remains a common recourse for many of these animals. Joel and Chemaine wanted to prevent these deaths, so they founded Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization that rescues and rehabilitates creatures with nowhere else to go. The staff members obtain?but never purchase?animals from private owners as well as facilities that are no longer capable of providing adequate care and attention. The sanctuary then supports these exotic animals for the rest of their natural lives while allowing them to behave as naturally as possible within a protected environment.
Although Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary's primary mission is to save and protect at-risk creatures, educating the public is also a major goal. When staff members lead guided tours throughout the grounds, they not only teach guests about the sanctuary's exotic reptiles, birds, and big cats, but also explain the importance of preserving these species for future generations. Over the course of a visit, groups may have the opportunity to see everything from an African lion and a Canadian lynx to an Egyptian cobra and an Eclectus parrot. Most of the animals are protected in private enclosures, although, under the supervision of the guides, some tour groups may get the opportunity to examine select reptiles and non-exotic creatures.