Educational activities in Sacramento for kids during strike


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Thousands of students who attend Sacramento City Unified Schools might not be able to enter the classroom Wednesday if a teachers’ strike takes place as planned.

Two local unions, made up of thousands of teachers and other staff members, authorized a strike last week if their staffing and student support needs aren’t met by the district.

The possible school shutdown would affect around 40,000 students and their families, prompting parents to figure out alternative plans for their kids during the week. The strike could cause major disruptions for parents, some who do not have the means to take off work, parents told The Bee.

Union leaders put out a strike schedule for Wednesday through Friday, but it’s unclear how long the strike could last if it takes place.

“This is a painful and difficult decision to make, especially when our students have experienced so much trauma and disruption to their learning over the last two years and recognize the ripple effect that school closures have on our entire community,” Jorge Aguilar, the district’s superintendent, said in a statement Friday.

If you’re home with your kids during the planned strike and looking for educational plans to keep them entertained, here are some options in the Sacramento area:

1. Sacramento Public Library

Central Library: 828 I St., Sacramento

The Sacramento Public Library, which has branches all over the area, is free to enter even without a library card. Most locations’ hours are 10 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday.

The library also offers a variety of virtual children’s programs during the week, including live story time every Tuesday and Thursday, according to its website. You can also call the “Dial-A-Story” program to have children’s stories read to you at home in English or Spanish.

Some locations are still operating only for curbside service, while others have recently reopened. You can check hours and availability for all of the library’s locations online before heading out.

2. SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity

400 Jibboom St., Sacramento

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Tom Saephan builds blocks with his son Bradley, 8, center, and a new friend Leon, right, on opening weekend of SMUD’s new Museum of Science and Curiosity, MOSAC, on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Lezlie Sterling lsterling@sacbee.com

The science center is open from 10 am to 4 pm during the week and offers an interactive and engaging space for children. The museum, which opened in November 2021, features a planetarium and hundreds of exhibits “that explores the wonders of science, technology, engineering, arts and math,” its website says.

To enter the museum, it is required to reserve tickets ahead of time online. You can check availability for Wednesday’s admission times online. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children between ages 2 and 17. Members are admitted for free.

3. Crocker Art Museum

216 E St, Sacramento

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Alex Moctezuma works with instructor Crystal Ruiz at a weeklong art camp at the Crocker Art Museum. AdLux Studio

The Crocker Art Museum opens Wednesday at 10 am for those interested in viewing and learning about the state’s top art collections. Closed Monday and Tuesday, the museum operates from 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday.

The museum offers special guided tours for children 5 years of age and older along with their parents. Toddlers between ages 3 and 5 can participate in Wee Wednesdays for an interactive story time program.

Admission to the museum is free for members, $15 for adults and $8 for children between 6 and 17 years old. Children under 5 are admitted for free. You can check availability for and reserve tickets online.

4. The Sacramento Zoo

3930 W Land Park Dr., Sacramento

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The Sacramento Zoo has been a fixture of William Land Park since 1927. Its three entryway concession buildings, shown in a Oct. 2, 2018, drone image, were built in 1961 and feature distinctive hyperbolic paraboloid roofs designed by local architecture firm Rickey and Brooks. They are examples of “important, rare and intact Mid-Century Modernism in Sacramento” according to city consultants. Hector Amezcua Sacramento Bee file

The zoo is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm With clear weather and temperatures ranging from 52 to 83 degrees on Wednesday, this could be an opportunity to see a variety of animals.

Parking at the zoo is free. However, ticket prices fluctuate daily from around $22 to $25. Wednesday’s tickets are being sold for $22.50

5. Fairytale Town

3901 Land Park Dr., Sacramento

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Kevin Smith-Fagan, Executive Director of Fairytale Town in Sacramento, pets Maddie the cow on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. “I enjoy being a part of the building blocks of the children’s lives, and I am glad they have a place to see things they would not necessarily have the opportunity to see,” Smith-Fagan said. Alie Skowronski askowronski@sacbee.com

In addition to the book themed play equipment, Fairytale also has a mini petting zoo and cafe.

Tickets can also be purchased online for $7 each during the week.

6. California State Railroad Museum

125 I St., Sacramento

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A child runs past a 251,000-pound rotary snowplow at an exhibit with information about the history of train snow removal at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. Manny Crisostomo Sacramento Bee file

The California State Railroad Museum, open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, hosts educational activities for children, including a junior engineering program and story time.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids between 6 and 17.

7. California State Capitol Museum

1315 10th St., Sacramento

Take your kids on a historical and informational tour of the state’s history if you haven’t yet. This museum is free to the public and is open from 10:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday.

Tours are also available hourly for those interested. Virtual tours are also available online.

8. UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden

1046 Garrod Dr. Davis

The public garden in Davis, approximately a 20 minute drive from Sacramento, is free for the public and is open 24 hours a day. You can spend the day learning about the variety of plants growing in the area and the importance of environmental sustainability.

Parking is available on the UC Davis campus for $10 a day or $1.50 an hour.

At home activities

If you’re unable to leave the house, here are some at-home options:

You may consider printing off some worksheets to keep your kids practicing their reading or math skills while away from school. Education.com has a variety of age free and printable worksheets for preschool to grade 8.

Several educational documentaries are also available for kids to allow them to watch TV and learn at the same time. Check out this list of kid-friendly nature and earth documentaries from nonprofit media centered around children, Common Sense Media.

YouTube also has a variety of educational channels for a chance to learn new things and brush up on old skills. Check out this teacher-approved list of YouTube channels, including CrashCourse Kids, National Geographic Kids and PBS Kids if you’re searching to have your kids watch something educational and interactive.

Do you know of any childcare options in the Sacramento area for parents who cannot take off work? The Bee wants to help parents navigate the potential strike. Email utilityteam@sacbee.com.

What do you want to know about life in Sacramento? Ask our California Utility Team your top-of-mind questions in the module below or email utilityteam@sacbee.com.

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