Ranger Bruce knows the natural world of Sacramento like the back of his hand. As a retired park ranger naturalist, he can take you to every waterfall, towering tree, and historic site as part of his 21 nature classes. The classes focus on topics ranging from California Indians and wild edible plants to astronomy and trees. Gaze upon the past at Coloma, a gold discovery site, or explore how wildflowers and insects interact to create new life every year. For an indoor adventure, try the State Capital or Sutter's Fort tours, or experiment to see why you really can't grow Sequoias in your kitchen.
After witnessing 3-year-old Kathy Pead’s connection to the ponies at a roadside amusement park, the park's owner recommended that Kathy's father enroll her in riding lessons even before the minimum age of 7. Since owning her first horse at the age of 15, Kathy has worked tirelessly to share her enthusiasm for the animals, teaching hands-on lessons and slowly building up her business. After stints in England and Australia, she's settled in the Sacramento area, where her stables sprawl across 2.5 acres that include two well-maintained arenas. She and her staff—which includes her daughter, Jenny—prioritize safety and fun as they teach students how to read a horse's body language and hear the sentences it mumbles in German between whinnies.
Colored lights flash as a disco ball spins and glitters over Sunrise Rollerland's glossy, blond hardwood floor where kids and their families roll along on quads or inline skates. During open-skating sessions, adults relive their childhood and children experience it the first time around as a live DJ spins tunes new and old. At the rink, clubs such as the Artistic Club and Speed Skating club congregate. These clubs are open to anyone, sanctioned by USA Roller Sports, and led by experienced teams of coaches. Additionally, skaters 5 years old and older can take lessons suited to their skill level. To celebrate a birthday, kids can choose from three party themes; the rink can accommodate skaters at any private event. Wednesday night is family night when the entire clan can skate.
As soon as children are old enough to walk, they are old enough to begin honing their coordination, body-awareness, and basic motor skills through engaging and age-appropriate gymnastics lessons. That's the central philosophy driving the instructors at Byers Gymnastics, which has four locations, and a 40-year legacy of providing both basic and competition-level training for boys and girls ranging from toddlers to teenagers. While youngsters learn the fundamentals of jumping, balancing, and rolling, older students can master more challenging routines and learn to safely use various pieces of traditional gymnastics equipment, such as the balance beams, floor, vault, and tumble trak, and the slightly off-kilter stepladder. These year-round programs cater to visitors of virtually all interests and levels, and share the common goal of building stamina and flexibility, while also teaching students the value of perseverance and self-determination.
With dozens of locations sprinkled around the sunshine state, California Sun makes it easy for tanners to bronze without fear of sunburn. As sunless bathers daydream within two levels of Ergoline beds, melanin rises to the skin's surface at the beck and call of a high-pressure cooling system or adjustable face tanners, leaving bodies with a golden glow in just 10–12 minutes. For those who prefer the misty kiss of a sunless spray tan, formulas by VersaSpa, Mystic Tan, or Norvell grace guests with new shades that can last from four to seven days and won't leave skin looking unnaturally orange or supernaturally blue.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills.
The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.