sonoma valley
Santa Rosa
Howarth Park - Join local families playing in this large shady park (perfect for a hot summer day), especially good for toddlers and younger kids.
There's a big playground with lots of climbing structures, swings, sand/water play area, miniature train, pony rides, and carousel. Plenty of picnic tables, so bring your lunch.
Our favorite is the Animal Barn - When we visited, the barn had a miniature cow, two sheep, three goats, eight chickens, two ducks. Kids can go in the pens, pet the baby ducks and rabbits. Animal Barn is open in the summer.
Spring Lake Regional Park - In summer spend the day in Spring Lake Regional Park. Lots of picnic tables, so bring your lunch or dinner outdoors.
Rent kayaks and paddle boards (no swimming), and go out on the lake. Life vests provided, kids have a great time in their own kids size kayak.
Bike and walking path circles the lake, take a fun walk or bike ride.
Charles M. Schulz Museum - Santa Rosa was home to Charles Schulz (nickname "Sparky"), creator of the beloved Peanuts cartoons. Budding cartoonists will have a field day in this new museum, filled with a permanent collection of Charlie Brown stuff. In the theater you can see showings of the Peanuts TV show.
Children will want to head upstairs to see Sparky's Studio, a replica of Schulz' office with his drawing table, and visit the Education room, where kids can practice cartooning (lots of blank paper, pencils and markers), watch cartoons, and complete activities and puzzles. Don't miss the Snoopy labyrinth (try to find his nose and eye) out in front of the museum.
Tip: Often the weather is fine in the Sonoma Valley, but this museum (and the ice arena) are great places to come on rainy days.
Snoopy's Home Ice - Right across from the Schulz Museum is a lovely year-round ice arena (Redwood Empire Ice Arena). Little kids will enjoy the "Puppy Practice" session for beginning skaters, and skates are available for rent.
Tip: Usually the weather is fine in the Sonoma Valley, but this museum (and the ice arena) are great places to come on rainy days.
Santa Rosa Farmers' Market - Year round, Wednesdays and Saturdays, stop in the farmers market, located in the parking lot, next to the Veteran's building, across from the fairgrounds. There are food stands for snacks, and you can pick up fresh local produce, apples, oranges, strawberries, nuts, honey, breads and baked goods, all your picnic supplies. Market is open 8:30am to noon.

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