Things to Do with Kids in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Family Vacation

Sunny Santa Rosa California is the place for family and fun. So, what’s the best place to bring the family and kids for the weekend? We chose this particular location based on a few factors. The place is Jack London’s State Historic Park. This place is a once in a lifetime trip for kids and families. One of the factors that makes this a perfect spot is that your kids can appreciate so many of its facets at any age. From youngsters to teens, it’s a winner.

There are two other parks nearby that you can see without much travel at all. So, if you are looking for a real outdoor historical experience, this is it. You can split your time between 3 parks for 2 days but we have to tell you not to let the size fool you. You can spend an entire weekend here with the kids and still not participate in everything. Make sure you call the park or visit the website for the activities that are on now and enjoy!

Jack London State Historic Park

Jack London State Historic Park is in Glenn Ellen and is open from 9am to 5pm. The main activities that are permitted are hiking, walking, museum and historical tours and lots of outdoor activities but no camping. There is lodging nearby that is affordable so if you don’t live locally you can take the family.

House of Happy Walls
House of Happy Walls, Jack London State Historic Park; image via

One of the first things you absolutely must do is take the docent-led historical tour. Jack London was a noted author of “Call of the Wild” and contributed to the world in ways that is fascinating to know. 2016 is a great year to do this because it is the 100th anniversary of his death. You won’t only hear about the fact that he died at 40, you’ll be astounded by what he did in his life. You’ll tour the cottage that he never got to retire in. What sets this park apart is he actually lived there and built a mansion that is now ruins because it burned down before he could move from the cottage to the mansion.

Your kids will be learning about Jack London in school and there is a plethora of things to do. Go to and take advantage of the 500 mile klondike challenge, meant to that mimicked the Klondike adventure Jack actually went on. Have a kid that is an blossoming writer? There are writing challenges there too! You won’t find a more fascinating character t learn about. There are tree planting and plowing days too.

Spectacular show among the ruins

Kohler and Frohling winery building was damage by the earthquake that struck the area in 1906. Jack used what was left of the structure to build the upper level of his home. But, at night, on certain dates among the moss-covered ruins you can see a spectacular star spangled sky. There is a show called Broadway Under the Stars that is a source of some awesome family-friendly entertainment. The venue accommodates over 800 people for concerts and theater. From dawn till dusk you can be absorbed in family cultural events and adventures.

Children’s Museum of Sonoma County

1835 W Steele Ln, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

The Children’s museum is the perfect day of entertainment for you and your children. Offering many exhibits and activities for the whole day. The Children’s museum offers the following exhibits:

  • Mary’s Garden
  • Ella’s Art Studio
  • Science and Imagination Gallery
  • TOTopia

There are plenty of exhibits to explore here, including a hidden fairy world and crocodile dental clinic, as well as a puppet theater and science lab. My girl was drawn to the large-scale model railroad, which is hung from the ceiling and has 250 feet of track. She also enjoyed the second-floor treehouse. There are plenty of pillows to lounge on, and you can watch the action on the floor below. The Flavortown cafe and kitchen is another favorite (essentially a kiddie size diner and pretend kitchen). There’s even an old cash register with numerous buttons to press.

Howarth Park

Howarth Park in Santa Rosa is often referred to as the “jewel” of the city. The park offers over 152 acres of activities. This park is the perfect place for a fun filled day of family entertainment. Some of the park’s many attractions are:

  • Amusement Park Area with Rides
  • Fishing and Boating
  • Hiking and Jogging Trails
  • Picnic Areas
  • Playground Areas
  • Softball Field
  • Tennis Courts

Charles M. Schulz Museum

2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

The Charles M. Schulz Museum offers many different exhibits, including traveling exhibits. Make sure to look at their website to see if one of the exhibits you would like to see is there. At the museum, you can learn about Schulz’ life and see a large display of his work, which includes many hand drawn pieces and other memorabilia. There are also larger galleries that will take you through the history of cartooning as a genre, and even if you aren’t a huge Peanuts fan, this is a fascinating place to visit in the city.

There’s something for everyone here. On a weekday around noon, the museum was mostly occupied by adults. There are both changing and permanent exhibits, such as a recreation of Schulz’ office/studio. Right now, one of the exhibits shows who inspired the various Peanuts characters. Very entertaining. There’s also a large room with kid-sized tables and drawing supplies.

Snoopy’s Home Ice

1667 W Steele Ln, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Snoopy’s home ice is the another perfect outing for the whole family. Gather your kids for a day of ice skating fun. Not only does it have family skating time, but also offers Ice Hockey as an activity. There is a snack bar inside if you need a bit of fuel for more skate time, and the locker rooms are clean and spacious.

People of all ages will have a great time! Snoopy’s Home Ice provides a unique atmosphere and experience for families through a variety of activities. The attraction features an indoor ice arena where guests can enjoy public skating, private lessons, figure skating, hockey, and private parties. Snoopy’s Gallery and Gift Shop, located right next to the arena, features 1,500 unique PEANUTSTM collectible items. Guests can warm up after a day on the ice by eating at the Warm Puppy Café. Their popular event, the Senior World Hockey Tournament, has brought teams from all over the world together for over 40 years. This tournament was described by Charles M. Schulz as a one-week summer camp for adults stuffed with sportsmanship, comradery, and competitive hockey.

Laser Tag of Santa Rosa

Make your day a little less boring with an outing to Laser Tag. This is a game for ages 7 and up, great for kids, just not the tots. Players can play individually or as a team, make it interesting with children vs. parents. Players score points by tagging opponents with a light beam in a multi-level arena. There are also music, for, and lighting effects to enhance the experience.

Spring Lake Park

393 Violetti Road, Santa Rosa, CA

The swimming lagoon and water park have that old-school summer season feel to them, and they always remind me of somewhere I would have gone as a kid. Set up your umbrella or canopy on the sandy beach or lawn, relax, and enjoy a day in the water. Children under the age of six (or 42 inches tall) are not permitted on the water park structures, but they may swim and wade in the water.

For a day of outdoor activities make sure to head over to Spring Lake Park. Activities include:

  • Biking
  • Beaches
  • Birding
  • Equestrian Trails
  • Kayaking/Canoeing
  • Swimming-Lifeguarded
  • Picnic Areas
  • Hiking/Walking Trails

Spring Lake Regional Park is located in Santa Rosa at 393 Violetti Road. To get there, take Highway 101 north to Santa Rosa, then east on Highway 12. Take the Farmer’s exit and head north, then make a right onto Montgomery Drive. Follow Montgomery Drive until you reach Channel Drive, then turn right onto Violetti Road and drive into the park.

Water Park at Spring Lake Regional Park

This inflatable water park features slides, bounce islands, a bouncy bridge, a trampoline, climbing cliffs, a balance beam, and other play stations for both kids and adults. Bounce, slide, balance, climb, and more to put your strength to the test! The three-acre swimming lagoon at Spring Lake is filled with filtered spring water that has been chlorinated to exceed water quality standards.

Pump it Up

This place is a child’s dream. Usually used for birthday parties or other events, Pump it Up also has open jump. Make sure to take advantage of this practice on Saturday and Sunday morning from 9-10 am. The place is full of massive inflatables that will allow the kids to truly let loose, and have the time of their life. It also provides a fun and healthy workout that burns off energy and helps to keep them fit.

With these 7 choices, you should be able to find the perfect way to spend a fun filled day with the kids.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Santa Rosa

Dining out with youngsters can sometimes be tricky. Children sometimes get cranky when they’re in formal settings that aren’t exactly conducive to relaxation. They also sometimes get cranky when there’s nothing appealing on the menu for them. Thankfully, there are numerous kid-friendly dining establishments out there that can make dining out with the younger crowd feel like a pleasant walk in the park.


IHOP is an affordable and cozy diner that’s perfect for meals for the entire family. IHOP’s kiddie menu is full of yummy favorites that are sure to put big smiles on the little ones’ faces. These include the restaurant’s signature “Create a Face” pancake, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and junior ham and egg melts.

Red Robin

Red Robin, established in 1969, makes a great eatery choice for parents looking for fun and tasty eats for the whole crew. Kids adore Red Robin’s unlimited french fries. There are few foods fussy kids appreciate more than fries, after all. They also enjoy its large children’s menu. Standout items on Red Robin’s kiddie menu include mini pizzas, chicken fingers, mini grilled sandwiches, corn dogs and pasta.

Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe may just be the ultimate children’s dining experience. Stepping into the eatery feels a lot like walking into a tropical rainforest full of fanciful creatures and lush greenery. Rainforest Cafe’s kiddie menu consists of a wide array of foods children simply can’t resist. These include popcorn shrimp, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. If you want to order a grilled cheese sandwich for your child, be sure to ask for the “Gorilla Grilled Cheese Delight!” Delectable dessert options for kids at Rainforest Cafe include both the ice cream sandwich and the “Lava Mud.” The Lava Mud is a rich chocolate pudding that’s chock-full of gummy worms and tiny pieces of cookies.

Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel is a laid-back and comforting restaurant that has a soothing and rustic feel. If you’d like to take it easy and savor a low-key and tasty menu with the children who mean the most to you, Cracker Barrel is one of your best bets. The children’s breakfast menu includes eggs and biscuits, fruit and yogurt parfaits, cereal and milk and traditional buttermilk pancakes. Lunch and dinner options for youngsters at Cracker Barrel include chicken and dumplings (home style), grilled American cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, fried shrimp, chicken tenderloin and macaroni and cheese. Kids can enjoy sweet treats at Cracker Barrel, too, with delicious dessert choices such as classic ice cream and nut sundaes. Parents definitely don’t have to worry about their children leaving Cracker Barrel feeling hungry or unsatisfied.

Chipotle Mexican Grill

If you’re looking for an affordable and quick dining experience with children, few restaurants out there are a better fit than Chipotle Mexican Grill. This restaurant makes a fine choice for adults who are crazy about large burritos, soft flour tacos, soft corn tacos, salads and crispy corn tacos. It also makes a fine choice for kids who are in the mood for a bit of South of the Border flavoring. Notable (and mighty tasty) items on the restaurant’s children’s menu include meat and cheese quesadillas, cheese quesadillas and single tacos. Kids can choose between tacos with crunchy or soft shells.

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