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Guide to Sonoma County Family Fun

Get up close and personal with giraffes and other wildlife at the 400-acre Safari West preserve.

Known for its award-winning wines, luxury inns, and romantic honeymoon vacations, Sonoma County also serves as the perfect place for an unforgettable fun-filled family vacation.

Many par­ents think their days exploring Northern California’s Wine Coun­try are put on hold while their kids are small, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily so, espe­cially in Sonoma County. With a lit­tle plan­ning, cre­ativ­ity, and flex­i­bil­ity, the whole fam­ily can enjoy a vaca­tion in wine country.

With its exceptional variety of natural attributes — the Pacific Ocean, rivers, lakes, ancient redwood forests, and farm lands — you will discover unique and memorable adventures for the whole family.

Beyond the wineries, Sonoma County offers  family-friendly, exciting activities that will make the trip extra mem­o­rable. Here are just a few of these kid-approved experiences, listed alphabetically by city.

Candy & Kites and Second Wind, Bodega Bay
With some of the best-ever kite-flying conditions found along Sonoma County’s breezy coast, it’s no wonder the tiny town of Bodega Bay boasts two kite stores. Bring your own kite, or shop for one in town at Candy & Kites and Second Wind, both located on Coast Highway 1. Plus, the nearby Doran Regional Park hosts the Castles and Kites festival each May, with spectacular kites, demonstrations, and kite-flying training on the beach, as well as sandcastle sculpture creations. 

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Guerneville
Arm­strong Red­woods State Reserve provides a great place for your fam­ily to walk among towering coast redwood trees. Some of the most pop­u­lar trees include the Ici­cle Tree, with its mys­te­ri­ous “burl” for­ma­tions, the Colonel Arm­strong Tree, esti­mated to be over 1,400 years old, and the Par­son Jones Tree, reach­ing heights of over 310 feet tall (that’s taller than a football field is long).

The Russian River Resort Area
Enjoy kayaking, swimming and relaxing along the Russian River.

Sonoma Canopy Tours, Occidental
Go soaring through the treetops of a redwood forest. A zip line lets the magic of gravity do all the work. Fitted with a specially-designed harness, you'll reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour on the fastest zips.  

Fundemonium, Petaluma
This toy, hobby, and game store offers 14,000 square feet of fun. Options include a children’s play area, a slot car track, a 1,200-square-foot indoor radio-controlled car track, rock tables for radio-controlled rock crawlers, a snack bar, and LEGO play.

Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory, Petaluma
Take a free factory tour of the oldest and largest sticker company in the United States. Watch as millions of stickers get printed, packaged, and shipped. There’s a  sticker museum, a gift shop, and a class where kids — young and old — can decorate postcards using Mrs. Grossman’s stickers. Reservations for tours are required.  

Cal Skate Roller Blading and Skating Center, Rohnert Park
As one of the North Bay Area’s only roller skating rinks, Cal Skate lets you strap on skates or blades and glide away. The Club Friday Night series offers games, socialization, theme nights, and modern hit music, for a fun night out.

Driven Raceway, Rohnert Park
For kids who are a minimum of 48" tall, you can try out the electric indoor go-kart racing in Rohnert Park, which offers the extreme experience for all your family parties needs.

Scandia Family Fun Center, Rohnert Park
Scandia Family Fun Center is a kid’s fantasy land which includes two 18-hole miniature golf courses with tiny buildings, bridges, and waterways. Also featured are 18 batting cages with slow pitch and fast pitch. Bumper boats, equipped with water sprayers, are a great way to cool off on a warm day. And the Lil’ Indy Raceway gives a racing experience with its straight track and banked turns.

Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
If you hap­pen to have some Peanuts fans in the fam­ily, visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum and research cen­ter. This fun, laid­back museum has some inter­est­ing exhibits about the famed car­toon­ist and his beloved Peanuts char­ac­ters. Directly across the street is Snoopy’s Home Ice sta­dium for ice skat­ing with the family. For more details about all things Peanuts, read Explore Snoopy and the Peanuts in Sonoma County 2-Day Itinerary.  

Laser Tag of Santa Rosa
Step into a real-life video game at this multi-level laser tag center. Individuals and groups from ages seven to 75 can enjoy pinpoint accuracy with state-of-the-art equipment. The facility offers a high-tech sound and lighting system, party hosting, free wi-fi, a cyber lounge with pizza and other refreshments, and arcade games. 

Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa
Imag­i­na­tion takes flight at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. The museum displays historic aircraft and features antique World War II planes. The museum’s mission is to preserve aviation history and educate children. “Climb Aboard” special events occur throughout the year. In August, there is the “Wings Over Wine Coun­try Air Show.”

Safari West Wildlife Preserve & African Tent Camp, Santa Rosa
Enjoy a “wild” time by riding in an open-air safari vehi­cle through this 400-acre wildlife pre­serve. You’ll catch sight of giraffes, lemurs, chee­tahs, and wildebeests. And it gets even better — you can stay overnight in one of their luxurious safari tents.

Simraceway Performance Driving Center, Sonoma
If you need some excite­ment, check out the Sim­race­way Per­for­mance Dri­ving Cen­ter for a cool kart rac­ing expe­ri­ence (ages 13 and older), let your teens try rac­ing lessons or even take the defen­sive dri­ving course.

Sonoma TrainTown Railroad, Sonoma
This old-fash­ioned, scaled-down rail­road will delight young train fans. The 20-minute train ride goes over bridges, through tun­nels, and stops in its minia­ture town, “Lake­view,” which includes a pet­ting zoo. Kids will also get to enjoy six other rides includ­ing a carousel and Fer­ris wheel.

State and Regional Parks, throughout Sonoma County
There’s a wide array of family fun, including fishing, kayaking, and horseback riding along the Pacific Coast or Russian River, hiking and biking dedicated trails in more than 55 state and regional nature parks, or discovering Sonoma County and California’s rich heritage in several history parks. Using Sonoma County Regional Parks trails are free but there are parking fees, usually $7. Those are waived with a Regional Parks membership.

Family Friendly Wineries

Con­sider vis­it­ing winer­ies that offer a kid-friendly atmos­phere and some space, like a nice big lawn for them to run on. Lit­tle extras like a fish pond, pic­nic area, or gar­den to explore will help make the day fun. There are sev­eral winer­ies that go a step fur­ther by pro­vid­ing some spe­cific things to enter­tain kids dur­ing their visit. The fol­low­ing exam­ples will give you a taste of what’s out there.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Gey­serville
Relax in this resort-like winery setting, with beau­ti­ful grounds and a lovely swim­ming pool (tick­ets required in advance) where you can reserve a cabine, which includes pool passes, lounge chairs, tow­els, and wine tast­ings (be sure to reserve early). Enjoy live music on sum­mer week­ends, children's activ­i­ties, bocce ball courts, and more. 

Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen
This organic win­ery features a play­ground, small bird zoo, beau­ti­ful gar­dens, pic­nic grounds, hourly tours, and fun Bio­dy­namic Vine­yard Tram tours in a tram pulled by a tractor.

Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma
Explore the oldest premium winery in California, which includes fun winery tours with the "Count," a maze, a "history" hillside, a wine cave, and a new Wine Tool Museum.

Alexander Valley Vineyards, Healds­burg
You’ll fine a toy chest in the win­ery, and wine caves that keep lit­tle peo­ple happy while adults have fun too. Experience enter­tain­ing events such as the Har­vest Party in Sep­tem­ber, which includes grape pick­ing, bless­ing of the grapes, brunch, a grape stomp com­pe­ti­tion, music, bocce ball tour­na­ment, and more.

Landmark Vineyards, Ken­wood
Located at the base of Sug­ar­loaf Moun­tain, this beautiful winery offers a bocce ball court, pic­nic area, col­or­ing books and crayons in the tast­ing room, and horse-drawn wagon rides in the summer.

Larson Family Winery, Sonoma
The Lar­son Fam­ily Win­ery is an old rodeo ranch-turned-win­ery, which spells fun for fam­i­lies. This cowboy-style atmos­phere is very relaxed and comes with farm ani­mals, a bocce ball court, and grass area for pic­nic blankets.

Family Friendly Hotels & Campgrounds

Here is a selection of family fun hotels and campgrounds. Find all Sonoma County hotels and campgrounds here.

Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa
2777 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
707-545-8530

Dawn Ranch Lodge
707-869-0656
16467 Highway 116
Guerneville, CA 95446
707-869-0656

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma Wine Country
One Doubletree Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
707-584-5466

Petaluma KOA/San Francisco North
20 Rainsville Road
Petaluma, CA 94952
707-763-1492

Cloverdale Wine Country KOA Camping Resort
1166 Asti Ridge Road
Cloverdale, CA 95425
707-894-3337

Casini Ranch Family Campground
22855 Moscow Road
P.O.Box 22
Duncans Mills, CA 95430
(800) 451-8400

Spring Lake Regional Park
393 Violetti Road
Santa Rosa, CA
707-539-8092
See Outdoor Family Fun at Spring Lake Regional Park.

Spring Lake Regional Park, 393 Violetti Road, Santa Rosa. 707-539-8092 - See more at: http://www.sonomacounty.com/articles/outdoor-family-fun-spring-lake-regi...