You only celebrate your birthday once per year so why not make it a day to remember? Sonoma County is home to world-class wineries and restaurants perfect for birthday celebrations but the area also offers an array of adventurous, unique and outright crazy ways to commemorate your big day. How about jumping out of a plane from 12,000 feet? Or going on a safari on Sonoma’s Serengeti? If this sounds like a great idea to you, read below for seven fun ways to celebrate your birthday in Sonoma County.
Fly through the redwoods
Sonoma Zipline Adventures in Occidental is taking the weekend getaway to new heights with its treehouse village and zip line courses. A stay in one of the treehouses includes two zip line rides, a guided hike through the woods and gourmet dining brought to your treehouse. The courses offered include the original Forest Flight Tour, the fast and long Tree Tops Tour or the Night Flight Tour. From $550 per person. Zip line only from $109 per person. 6250 Bohemian Hwy, Occidental, 1-888-494-7868.
In addition to the zip lines, the Sonoma Zipline Adventures course features a spiral staircase to climb down, two sky bridges (suspension bridges) to cross and, at the very end, a rappel from 45 feet off the ground. The new Sonoma Treehouse Adventures experience in Occidental combines chic above-ground accommodations with an exciting, blood-pumping zipline course.
See African wildlife
At Safari West in Santa Rosa guests can see rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes and other African wildlife during daytime tours or check in for an overnight glamping experience in one of thirty luxury tents, which include ensuite bathrooms. Guests can also enjoy lunch or dinner at the Savannah Café, dishes include BBQ smoked chicken or Tri-Tip, Greek salad, mac n cheese and Moroccan sweet potatoes. Wine and beer available, too. Safari from $93, glamping from $310. 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, 800-616-2695.
Meet cute farm animals
At Charlie's Acres in Sonoma, rescued farm animals are having the time of their lives. During the pandemic, they have entertained people via virtual tours and even jumped on a few Zoom calls! Now, they are relaxing and playing on the grass and in the mud and meeting visitors during scheduled private tours for private groups of 2 to 10 people. Founded by animal lover, Tracy Vogt, the nonprofit sanctuary is home to 140 animals: pigs, goats, cows, sheep, chickens and more. Private tours are $50 for adults and $25 for children under 13. Schedule tours online. 3201 Napa Road, Sonoma.
Hop on the wine trolley
The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley takes guests on a six-hour wine tour in a hand-built replica of a California Street Cable Car, used in San Francisco from the late 1890s to the early 1930s. The tour starts at the Sonoma Plaza at 10:15 a.m. and includes three winery stops, boxed lunch, bottled water, scenic views and entertaining anecdotes from knowledgeable tour guides. Tours are $99, tasting fees at wineries range from $20 to $30 per person. 707-938-2600.
See Sonoma County from above (level 1)
Experience wine country from a whole new perspective with a hot air balloon ride. Up & Away Hot Air Ballooning offers daily flights that take off at sunrise for a beautiful, scenic morning tour high above the ground. Different balloons can hold maximums of 2, 6, 12 or 16 guests, and flights last approximately one hour. Classic flight $275 per person. Private flight for two $2200. 2200 Airport Rd, Santa Rosa, 707-836-0171.
See Sonoma County from above (level 2)
If you'd like to take things up a notch from a scenic morning balloon ride, book a biplane ride with Coastal Air Tours. The 1926 Travel Air biplane seats two adult guests — in addition to the pilot, captain Bob — and can take a route designed by the guests or by their captain. Existing tours include a 30-minute Napa Wine Country tour ($299), a 60-minute Marin Coastal tour ($499) or a 60-minute San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate tour ($499). 21870 8th St E, Sonoma, 415-609-7273.
See Sonoma County from above (level 3)
If balloon and biplane rides sound a little bit meh to you, here's a way to take things up a few notches — and thousands of feet. NorCal Skydiving allows daredevils to take in wine country views from 12,000 feet, while jumping out of a small plane circling Cloverdale airport. The basic tandem (from 9,000 feet) is $184, the classic tandem (from 12,000 feet) is $184. You'll want to document your adventure: video and pictures are $79-$99. Groups are given discounted prices depending on the group’s size. 220A Airport Road, Cloverdale, 888-667-2259.
Bike and wine
For a fun and active way to explore Sonoma County while still staying on the ground, hop on a bike with Sonoma Valley Bike Tours. The company offers a half-day bike tour ($129/person) that includes your choice of an electric bike or regular bike, two winery stops, water and snacks. A full-day bike tour ($159/person) includes the same choice in bikes, three winery stopes and a picnic lunch. 1254 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-996-2453.
By: Claire Weber