Thursday, March 26, 2009

Visit to Sacramento

We went to Sacramento yesterday for Matt's work. He took photos in the Capitol and a few other locations of Jean-Michel Cousteau and Lukas Nelson (son of Willie Nelson, but I couldn't find any info on him). They are both involved in environmental issues and were doing some lobbying with their various groups. He is planning on writing a story along with pictures for his website so hopefully I can put up a link for that soon which should be a little more informative.

Since Matt didn't have to work until 1 or 2 we decided to go early to do some touring and then I planned on touring around the city while he was shooting (until about 6). We left early in the morning and got to the California State Railroad Museum shortly after it opened. Trains are becoming a big part of our lives lately. What with Joey loving to play with his little Brio trains and tracks and Matt and I getting The Polar Express around Christmastime, we were excited to see some of the largest and oldest trains in our nation's history!

The day really couldn't have gone smoother. Joey slept a good part of the way to Sacramento and woke up as we pulled into the train museum. We got a parking spot right in front (parking is exciting to us now, living in a city where it is ALWAYS hard to find!) We toured the museum for a few hours getting to see, among other things: The largest remaining steam engine (the last of it's size, since the rest have all been scrapped) and lots of cool train cars and engines that traveled the west coast. We also got to see the new(ish) exhibition of toy trains (a $1 million donation from a collector) with trains dating back to the 1800's. I didn't even know they made toy trains back then! We got to see where Lionel got its start and the earliest trains it made. We even saw our own Polar Express in a display case! There was a great exhibit for Joey with lots of tracks and trains for kids to run around and play with (think lots and lots of Thomas and friends ;-) The museum was really interesting. The guides are retired conductors and we learned alot! For example when visiting an old mail car and sharing with the driver that we lived in Oakland we learned that it was only in the late 1970's that mail begun to be sorted in post offices and not in trains. Now Oakland is a central location for much of the sorting for CA mail that used to be done on trains.

After our visit to the train station we walked through Old Sacramento in search of cheap food, which we actually found!! Cheap food.... in a tourist location. *expression of shock* We got hot dogs and french fries (I didn't say healthy...I said cheap!), and Joey ate his first hot dog (the whole thing!) without a thought. He tends to be picky with unfamiliar food, so this is exciting! After the food I dropped Matt off at the Convention Center where he was beginning the afternoon and Joey and I went on to the Capitol building to look around (this was free!). We didn't take a tour because honestly, they looked like they were taking FOREVER, and I'm more a "take-a-museum-at-my-own-pace-which-is-usually-fast" kind of person. :-) I got to see the historical Governor and Lt. Governor's office, and the old office of the treasurer. I also saw the galleries of the Senate and Assembly (not in session) and the Capitol gardens. It was beautiful! Joey had a great time running around the gardens and was quiet and cooperative in the Capitol.

After we were done with that we decided to check out Fairytale Town, a young young amusement-type park that I had seen in our No. CA guidebook. Fairytale Town was free for Joey and only 4 dollars for me. (that is super-cheap for here). It was a really neat park. I couldn't see spending more than 2 hours there but I could see taking an 8 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old and everyone being completely engaged and happy for 2 hours. It was really neat to find a place that you could take a young young child to. When we arrived at FTT, Joey had fallen asleep so I read for a while until he woke up and then we played there until it closed at 5.

When we were all done at FTT we walked around the surrounding area enjoying the scenery. FTT is in the middle of William Land parks which (this link shows a map of the area, we were RIGHT across from the Sac. Zoo entrance and within walking distance of everything!!) includes an amusement park (county fair style) for older children, the Sacramento Zoo, and a Golf course and beautiful grounds with pond, fountain and ducks and geese. It was so pretty! Also the weather was stunning, a 70 degree day all day! Then Joey and I headed back to Old Sacramento to walk around and see the sights. We looked in cute shops and bought some $1 ice cream to share as we sat on the river dock where the boats were settling in for the evening. Joey was tired from not so much sleep, but we were eating ice cream and he was a dream. For a guy that is still pretty dependent on his naps, he was such an angel all day that I am proud to sing his praises!!! It's so nice to be able to take him to do things now that he is old enough to play and be interested and social and FUN!

After we had exhausted Old Town We drove back to the capitol (hoping that Matt would end up finishing soon nearby, little did we know that he had actually done most of his shooting in the capitol building all day!). We played right on the capitol lawn while we waited for Matt to call, with some toys that we had brought and Matt was less than 2 blocks away when he finished. We met up and then enjoyed the last event of the evening which we had already planned, a visit to the Old Spaghetti Factory (which if you know Matt, is like a dream come true). We got to share details from our days and Joey was easy to feed, pigging out on spinach and cheese raviolis, cheese and tofu (from home), applesauce (a present from our waiter) and lots of bread. Even at 9:00 I was still proud to be his mommy in this restaurant. It was busy and noisy (which if you have kids, you know is PERFECT). After we ate we put Joey in his p.j.s and headed home. He was asleep before the GPS had calculated the route.

I hope I find an excuse to make more trips out to Sacramento. I was really impressed with the navigability of the city and the ease of parking. The traffic was a dream (I drove on the interstate right into downtown Sac. at 5:45, in the MIDDLE of rush hour) and it was only a teeny bit jammed) and parking was inexpensive. It was so hard to decide what to do. There were parks and lakes and lots of fun outdoorsy stuff to do just 15 - 20 miles outside of Sacramento and the weather in the summer is supposed to be HOT, something we won't get in Oakland. I hope we can drive out and visit some lakes and parks and stuff and enjoy the summer weather just a little over an hour away!

I'm going to post our pictures a little later, or tomorrow, I just wanted to get this post up. Tonight...I get to go out to the movies with a friend and Matt and Joey are staying in to watch basketball with my friend's hubby. The best of both worlds for sure!! :-)

1 comment:

Matt Beardsley said...

Sacramento is definitely a happening town... and how often does a family get to celebrate the pinnacle of North American Industry and Radical Global Environmentalism in the same day! Yeah, California....