Each summer, Sacramento becomes home to a giant dragon, slumbering deep in its lair. Anyone who steps inside vanishes from sight, and plummets through five stories of total darkness before reaching the mist-filled depths of a splash pool.
That wet, wild warren?known as the Den of the Dragon?is just one of more than 25 water attractions that sprawl across Raging Waters' grounds. The best way to survey all the options: drop a tube into Calypso Cooler, a lazy river that winds around the park's center in an 800-foot loop. From here, families can scope the landscape and plan out an exciting itinerary. For example:
Some additional tips for first-time visitors: come before 1 p.m. for shorter lines; be sure to stop for a burger and fries at Coral Cove; and play a couple of games at the on-site volleyball court.
Fright Planet Haunted Theme Park's outdoor theme park acts as a library of the world's most potent phobias. Every year, cast members reimagine its catalog of haunted environs, crafting new sets, props, and characters to prey on guests. Its dedication to genuine scares calls for only the best actors and the most grisly scenery, which is constructed with the help of a former Disneyland artist and a bulldozer possessed by the soul of a 1700s architect.
The lineup includes eight attractions. Though the houses all have distinct themes and decor, they share two factors: a richly painted backstory and a population of live, ghoulish denizens. Staring toys line the shelves at Hobart's Doll Factory and tight passageways put the squeeze on those brave enough to enter Jatinga: The Forbidden Temple. Other experiences play on claustrophobic fears?for example, Buried Alive: The Ride shuts patrons into a coffin where they endure a simulated hearse ride, burial, and the chilling sound of worms calling dibs on their body parts.
There's something timeless about a classic county fair. There are the attractions such as antique cars and horse carriages, rodeos and livestock exhibitions. And, of course, there are the carnival rides. Midway of Fun makes sure that county fairs all over California stay stocked with the kind of flashing, whirling, fun that families have enjoyed for generations. A safety-focused team of pros sets up rides that range from sweet (the Berry Go Round and the Dragon Wagon) to nail-biting (the Viper and the Ranger). Fairgoers can also compete to win a stuffed toy or a term as mayor of next year's fair at games such as break-a-bottle and baseball toss.
The first thing people notice about Circus Vargas is its big-top tent. Hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of cerulean-blue fabric dotted with yellow stars, the canopy completed the illusion of an elegant lost era when used in the 2011 film Water for Elephants. The last thing people notice is the absence of animals. They're too busy gaping at a man balancing a 12-step ladder with his mouth.
Keeping its marvels strictly human, Circus Vargas builds on a 40-year history by blending classic feats of fearlessness with surprising new tricks. The show features magic tricks along with a skilled hand balancer, a speed juggler, and the wheel of destiny.
Craving pizza? Head on over to Sacramento's Chuck E Cheeses for a tasty slice with a crust you can't resist. Low-fat fare is not available here, so leave some room in your diet. Heading out with a larger party? There's plenty of space for big groups at Chuck E Cheeses. Between the music and the crowds, expect noise levels to reach upper limits at the pizzeria.
A catering menu is also available if you're looking to dazzle the visitors at your next shindig. Or, take your grub to-go.
The menu at Chuck E Cheeses is reasonably priced, with most items costing less than $30.
The letters "SSST" are stamped on the swim caps of the Sacramento Synchronized Swim Team: a group of seasoned coaches and 20–45 youth and teenage swimmers who compete in tournaments across the country. The team, which was founded in 1985, operates as a nonprofit, relying on donations from the community to fuel their tournaments. In an effort to give back, the members of the team host kids synchronized swimming lessons and camps at pools and melted ice rinks throughout Sacramento.