Field Trip Thursday - Northern California Day Trips from Folsom

Family activities are so important to me. Follow me as I journey California for family fun!

By Jessica Harrison, Macaroni Kid Publisher -- Folsom - El Dorado Hills January 16, 2022

"Wonder is the beginning of wisdom." - Socrates

Teaching different ages is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. I have a PreK, 2nd grader and 6th grader. I have realized we are doing homeschool not to do school at home but to do life together. The purpose of this is to tell you that we have chosen to make our world our classroom. We now have something I call Field Trip Thursday. I have chosen a location to expand on the lessons from the week. The beauty of this is that they have time to explore, play, experiment, think their own thoughts, and pursue their own passions. 

That being said, let me share with you every week what we are doing for our Field Trip Thursdays. 

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA

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While the museum offers many changing exhibits, it also contains many collections. The museum hosts one of California’s premier collections of art, dating from the Gold Rush to the present day, a collection of master drawings, European paintings, one of the largest international ceramics collections in the U.S. and collections of Asian, African, and Oceanic art. It was nice being here on a Thursday because it was not crowded and my kids could walk around and enjoy the art that they wanted to look at. I was amazed that just letting them take the lead in the Crocker Art Museum was successful. They chose the exhibits to read about and took time to evaluate and discuss among themselves. 

Adults are $12, Seniors are $8, youth are $6, and kids 5 and under are free. 

The Crocker Art Museum offers many community events and even virtual tours. 

Oakland Zoo, Oakland CA

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Did you know that up in the hills above the busy bay area city traffic is a beautiful zoo? Oakland Zoo is defiantly a prized treasure. While the Oakland Zoo is relatively smaller in size, the wildlife here allows you to have a unique experience—one you wouldn’t have at crowded zoos. Zebras, meerkats, monkeys, camels, and many more are residents of this scenic area. The zoo is also home to the only African elephants in the Bay Area. The Oakland Zoo is even more stunning with its newest feature, the California Trail expansion. This incredible experience offers eight new animal exhibits with a focus on California wildlife—you get to encounter American black bears and California condors. Make sure to check out the awesome ecology-inspired playground while you're here. Also the gondola ride is FREE with admission! My kids ran around and explored the animals. There are so many subjects that can be taught and expanded on at a zoo (history, science, geography, math, and physical education) The Oakland Zoo was nice and clean. Masks are required inside buildings and hand sanitizer/hand washing stations are around. Adults are $24, seniors are $20, Children (2-14) are $20, Kids 2 and under are free. 

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

As I entered a new week of "home school life," we were busier than ever. Our field trip Thursday destination was to San Francisco. My boys are learning about different geography and I thought about teaching them about native plants from around the world. Here we could escape to a unique urban oasis of extraordinary beauty, showcasing more than 8,000 different kinds of plants. There is over 55 acres, so make sure to bring your kiddos some snacks and water. The Botanical Gardens open at 7:30 AM and offers many types of classes. We saw youth groups, yoga groups, field trips and guided tours. 

Trees of Mystery

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I remember a trip with my mom to the Trees of Mystery. Every summer we would pack up the trailer and truck and trailer and off we would go for a week. I always remembered this place with the huge Paul Bunyan and the 35 foot tall blue ox, Babe. This is one of those places where you stop and let your kids just run. We did not go through the trails - it was raining (pouring) when we were here. We enjoyed the FREE museum and all of the artifacts from the first Americans. Trees of Mystery is open daily at 9AM. Only closed on Christmas. 

Stay tuned for updates as my family travel with our kids  

These reviews are solely my own. I was not paid to visit these locations or paid for any reviews.