The Sequoia Shuttle whisks its passengers from Visalia to Sequoia National Park, a 400,000-acre nature preserve that houses General Sherman, the largest tree in the world. During rides, an informational video prepares riders for the natural wonders ahead, ensuring that the trees’ height doesn’t intimidate insecure basketball stars. Once in the park, visitors choose from three free in-park routes, which provide easy access to campgrounds, parking lots, and landmarks such as the Crescent Meadow and the Giant Forest Museum. The Sequoia Shuttle cuts down on the exhaust fumes and noise pollution that private vehicles inject into the park atmosphere, preserving a peaceful environment where critters can roam and trees can nurse their woodpecker-induced concussions.
Located on a 7-acre plot of land, Visalia Adventure Park carves out ample space for all ages to have fun. Outdoors, the park features a bumper boat pool with a waterfall, an 18-hole miniature golf course, and go-kart tracks for both the family and speedsters. If it's raining or that fire in the clouds becomes too hot, visitors can migrate indoors for arcade playing, laser tagging, and mini bowling.
In 1868, a massive flood rolled down the Sierra Nevada Mountains, carrying tree after uprooted tree in its wake. Once the waters receded, those trees and the very confused squirrels hiding in them covered the Kern River valley. That's right where Thomas Barnes found them. So he cut them into logs and built a cabin from the ground up, then moved in with his wife and seven children. Today, that same cabin stands as one of the buildings within Kern County Museum's Pioneer Village.
The structures here are relics of several different times and places. Some came from old farms in the area, while others once stood on the main streets of towns—such as the Beale Memorial Clock Tower from old Bakersfield. While their original purposes have long since passed, the buildings still spring to life each time a visitor passes through. It's easy to imagine a blacksmith at work at the Calloway Ranch in the late 1800s, or the faithful tellers who saw The Kern Valley Bank through the Great Depression.
A different view of Kern County's history takes center stage inside the museum's other permanent attraction, Black Gold: The Oil Experience. Here, 9,640 square feet of exhibit space reveal how oil forms deep within the earth, as well as methods for its discovery and production. Other displays profile the workers and historical events that ultimately led to Kern County claiming 64% of California’s oil production.
Roars, growls, and clanking metal clamors from behind the castle walls. This is Camelot Park, where families can roar around curvy courses in growling go-karts and smack baseballs with aluminum bats at the batting cages. After chasing checkered flags and practicing their swings for the zombie apocalypse, guests take it down a notch to putt around waterfalls, a pink castle, and a painted pagoda on the 18-hole mini-golf course. Afterward, guests can play arcade and redemption games inside or fire streams of water at each other from aboard bumper boats. Party packages combine these attractions but throw in pizza, balloons, and a personal party host.
For more than 50 years, wheels have rolled across the hardwood rink at the original Rollerama on 34th Street. People who learned how to skate there as children—or shared a first kiss at the rink's edge—can now bring their own children to make new memories. The sport itself seems as popular as ever, given the crowds that routinely show up to glide around on rented skates and leisurely practice their triple axels. Both of Rollerama's current locations offer plenty of open skate times, along with classic food options such as pizza and hot dogs.
The Bakersfield Museum of Art caters to avid aesthetes and casual connoisseurs alike with a prismatic pastiche of regional art and traveling exhibits. Explore western U.S. landscapes through Maynard Dixon's painted works in the Space, Silence, Spirit exhibit, or incite daydreams of horizontal showers and closet waterfalls in Uniquely Ours, an installation boasting the architectural modernism of local homes. In addition to free entry to the museum, members receive access to lectures from celebrated artists, invitations to events, museum discounts, and more.