The capital of the Golden State has more to offer than just a link to the government. Growing out f a small 1839 establishment, Sutter's Fort, the Gold Rushers flocked to this idyllic site, exponentially expanding its historical, cultural, and physical importance in the grand dame of California. Read on to discover what is available to you and your educational student group in Sacramento.
California State Capitol and Museum
Home to the California State legislature since 1869, this grand, iconic construction resembles the ultimate capitol building in Washington, D.C. with its Corinthian columns and Neoclassical architecture. Inside you'll find the state's officials working to keep the state running smoothly, and you can see them at work discussing issues and voting on important bills. Also make sure you visit the attached museum, and excellent institution with exhibits on topics ranging from California's role during WWII to the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, the Dust Bowl, and more.
Housing 13 governors and their families from 1903-1967, this historic and amazingly aesthetic structure remains more than a site of historical significance but one of the visual arts. Of a Second Empire-Italianate Victorian architectural style, the elongated white facade ends in ornate constructions, unusual details, and lush artistry. Ronald Reagan was the last governor to reside in the mansion and today you can walk through and see marble imported Italian fireplaces, mirrors from France, Victorian details, and the small unique additions made by various governors over time.
Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
Although the mansion is no longer surrounded by lush gardens and wide open expanses, it remains a continuous link to a grander past, one of gilded glory and flare. This Second Empire construction maintains Victorian gardens, European roots, and a history that helped build Sacramento. Once owned by California governor and university founder Leland Stanford, the mansion stands as a state park and is also used for hosting foreign dignitaries. Visit and learn about its construction during the Gold Rush, its use as an orphanage for the Sisters of Mercy, and witness the elegance of this gilded era romantic structure for yourself.
Sacramento History Museum
One of the best museums in the city, the Sacramento History Museum follows the city's evolution from the first settlers to today. Permanent exhibits include those on the Gold Rush and how it affected Sacramento's growth as a city, the Historic Print Shop which outlines the newspaper industry and their equipment through the years, as well as the Community Gallery, exploring the significant influence of the native Nisenan Indian tribe, various influences brought on by the Victorian era, and more. Also check out Old Sacramento Underground and be lead through tunnels by a man in costume to learn how the whole city was "jacked up" to escape flood waters.
Sutter's Fort State Historic Park
Built in 1839 by Swiss immigrant John Sutter, Sutter's Fort was an agricultural industry that lead to the eventual growth of Sacramento as a city and played pivotal roles in trading with the Mexican Alta California Province and later providing aid to the Donner Party in 1847. Today the historic park lies on the original premises and provides living history demonstrations, character performances, interactive programs on educational topics, interesting exhibits with era artifacts, and much more!
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Founded in 1886, this beautiful historic and faith-based landmark soars to a magnificent 215 feet high at the spire's peak. A gorgeous construction of Italian Renaissance style, the Cathedral seats over 1,400 people within the decorated walls, golden dome, and brilliantly grand arches. Visit and tour the building, learn from the cathedral's helpful volunteers and clergymen, or simply come to reflect on the artistry, the faith, and the grandeur of the space.
Crocker Art Museum
The Crocker Art Museum, established in the late 19th century, is the longest continuously running art museum in the West. Begun by the Crocker family in 1869, the art collections range in style and era from ancient African ceremonial artifacts to modern paintings and sculptures. This excellent establishment is a fantastic destination for any student group so come by and be lead by a friendly and informational docent guide to learn about artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Younger, Armin Hansen, and much, much more.
William Land Park
Commonly known as "Land Park," this forested, beautifully lush area is the perfect destination for a group looking to relax after touring, for a collective picnic, or a learning expedition on a number of science topics - it's up to you! William Land Park is home to more than just beautiful scenery but a number of Sacramento's favorite attractions including the Sacramento Zoo, Funderland Theme Park (aimed towards children up to 10 years old), a golf course, and Fairytale Town, a themed playground featuring play equipment like a pumpkin carriage and Humpty Dumpty sitting on top of a wall.
Located in beautiful Land Park, the Sacramento Zoo has been wowing visitors and caring for exotic creatures since its inception in 1927. Home to over 140 species of rare, native, and endangered animals, the zoo houses favorites like spunky Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, wildly intelligent Chimpanzees, gorgeous Snow Leopards and Sumatran Tigers, cute little Red Pandas, and quirky North American River Otters among others. Spend a day walking through the shaded paths, viewing animals from all over the world, and maybe even learn something new about animal conservation, the environment, animal biology, zoology, or even exhibit design with your student group.