Fabulous Wine Tasting Adventures with Kids
Napa and Sonoma boast plenty of wineries perfect for fabulous getaways, but for those with kids it can be not easy to find the destination that combines wine and fun kid-friendly activities. If you are looking for something more than just cabernet tastings look into these fun, family-friendly adventures that deliver great wine tasting experience for parents along with plenty of entertainment for kids.
1. Sonoma TrainTown Railroad
This charming, retro style amusement park will make you feel as if you have travelled back in time. Kids will enjoy climbing locomotives that are the biggest attraction of this vintage railroad park. Children can take a 20-minute train ride to the zoo, where they can see various animals and even feed the critters. Plus there are lots of other smaller rides, such as a vintage carousel and a Ferris wheel. Of course, no visit to an amusement park is complete without the ice-cream treats available on site. There are so many things to do in the park that it won't be easy to get children to leave. After so much fun the kids are sure to be hungry. Take them to the town square with its great bakery and cheese shop. There is no admission fee to TrainTown, but you will have to pay for the rides and the train.
2. Old Faithful Geyser, Calistoga
If your kids have never seen a geyser it's time to show them one. An extra bonus is a chance to gaze at goats, sheep and llamas as you wait for this natural phenomenon to explode. You won't wait too long as Old Faithful goes off every 20 to 30 minutes, and if you are lucky you may even see a lovely rainbow in the mist it produces. The geyser is said to predict the coming earthquake. Should the geyser's eruption schedule change, it signals about a possible earthquake within a 500-mile radius.
3. Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga
Another Calistoga attraction not to be missed is Sterling Vineyards. A trip to the vineyards is an adventure in itself. Kids will be thrilled to ride a gondola 300 feet high in the sky above Calistoga with the sweeping views of the valley below. Once you arrive at the rooftop terrace, you can take a self-guided tour around the winery and enjoy wine tasting. Kids will receive a gondola-shaped snack boxes filled with cookies, juice and coloring books.
4. Safari West, Santa Rosa
It's just unbelievable but you can get nearly authentic safari experience without leaving California! The huge 400-acre wildlife preserve is home to giraffes, rhinoceros, monkeys and a variety of bird species. Children will be able to learn about the environment and watch a number of animals up close. Classic safari tour lasts three hours and costs from$45 to$115. Visitors will explore the preserve aboard large off-road jeeps. After the tour you can also stay overnight in a comfortable tent cabin ($250-$425) and have a big dinner with a nicely curated wine list.
5. Petrified Forest, Calistoga
Anyone who has ever been in this forest says that words lack to describe the feeling of great awe at the sight of these majestic petrified redwood trees. The giant trees turned into stones after a volcanic eruption that took place long ago. Walk along a half-mile trail lined by the petrified trees and then hike a meadow walk trail to see the original site of the volcano responsible for all those transformations. Admission fee is $6-$12.
6. Castello di AmorosaAll kids love tales about noble knight and fair ladies and these tales will come to life in Castello di Amorosa, a contemporary replica of 13th century Italian castle. Dario Sattui built it to create a magnificent setting for unsurpassed winery experience.
The place offers plenty of entertainment for parents and children alike. Kids can climb the high towers, see the knight armor as well as explore the dungeons and the grounds of this remarkable medieval castle. While parents are sipping cabernet the little ones may treat themselves to grape juice and sweets. Tours cost $15-$35.