Largely self-taught, Shannon Jane Morgan has spent the last 19 years firing up her furnaces and creating delicate, one-of-a-kind works of glass art as the owner and founder of Girl Glass. Her pieces include gracefully curved vases; pigment-dappled paperweights; and whimsical, translucent pumpkins. During classes, Morgan shares her years of carefully cultivated expertise with students, delving into the nuances of molten glass with blowing and shaping tutorials.
Home to a vast inventory of beautifully crafted earthenware, Panama Pottery provides vessel-seeking visitors with a stunning spectrum of handmade local treasures and glazed, technicolored imports. Peruse the historic studio space and score an 18-inch terra-cotta fluted leg bowl ($21), sculpted by hand on the premises. Or, save yourself a plane trip and snatch up an authentic and colorful Chinese drip pot ($60 for 20”x16”), perfect for containing falling water, plants, or a smaller Chinese drip pot ($10 for 8”x9”). Today’s Groupon can also be applied to a clay or mosaic class, where artists of all abilities can learn under one of Panama’s ceramic specialists. Guests who score today’s deal will also receive a complimentary bag of potting soil, which allows plants to grow better than encasing them in amber.
The California Automobile Museum weaves the story of the automobile's birth and development through a gleaming collection of cars that dates back to the 1880s. Guests meander through 72,000 square feet of luxury and muscle vehicles, from pre–Model T Fords and green vehicles to Lamborghinis and modern NASCAR vehicles. In addition to its permanent collection and current exhibits, the museum's displays are always changing due to donations from private collectors and the hot rod fairy, allowing visitors to see a varying display of vehicles on different visits. The museum also offers a wide variety of classes that are fun and educational, and open to both adults and children. Guests can also visit the gift shop stocked with auto-centric goodies, including car-related fine-art photography, T-shirts, kids' arts and crafts, and die-cast models of classic cars.
Behind the Victorian columns of Crocker Art Museum’s 126-year-old gallery building, ornate galleries house works that span six continents and several centuries. In one of the first public art museums in the Western United States, the collection pays homage to the region’s cultural lineage with a robust Californian collection. The museum updated its look and tripled both its exhibit space and running time for games of hide-and-seek in 2010 with the addition of the Teel Family Pavilion, a 125,000-square-foot building that boasts geometric designs and sunlit rooms. The expanded gallery furthers the museum’s mission to function as a community hub by hosting a Thursdays 'til 9 program that lures in scholarly lecturers, film screenings, and live music. Art-history classes keep adults informed, and children’s programs inspire young artists to commit their creativity to canvas, rather than living-room walls or ephemeral Mr. Potato Heads.
ComedySportz, voted Best Comedy Club by KCRA’s A-List in 2009 and 2010, turns out quick-witted performers from classes helmed by experienced improvisers. Designed for students of any experience level, classes help people overcome social shyness and stress. Beginners get a feel for improv basics through games and exercises, learning the bones of scene structure and character development while exploring creativity and facing fears of speaking in front of audiences that are not stuffed animals. During the Intermediate 2A class, students with previous experience tackle the long-form style of improv juggernauts such as Second City and iO, and Intermediate 2B students revel in performance games common during ComedySportz and Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Each class aims to get students ready to create scenes, work with partners, and get out of tickets by saying, "OK, now I'm the police officer."
Twenty vertical feet of mostly legs and neck, spotted giraffes lope with languid, graceful movements toward the zoo’s viewing deck, which is alive with the excitement of children and adults. As the audience’s hands reach out to offer elm and acacia branches, long, purple tongues unfurl and lap them up during scheduled Giraffe Encounter feeding times (additional fee required). At the Sacramento Zoo’s sprawling 14.5-acre grounds, this is just one of the ways the zoo team brings the public closer to animals in their efforts to nurture public education and respect for wildlife.
Across those green swaths of land, African lions prowl, chimpanzees swing from trees, and red kangaroos play hopscotch. More than 600 animals call this place their home—a grounds where zookeepers care for them, practice conservation, and breed endangered species to help them stave off extinction. That dedication extends to all creatures, from the slithering Brazilian rainbow boa to the elegant Sumatran tiger. Zoo personnel also organize educational programs such as classes, camps, and overnight sleepovers where visitors can clearly witness North American River Otters swimming and playing through the glass wall. To keep the zoo in the local consciousness, the zoo also hosts themed events and animal exhibitions throughout the year.