Though COVID-19 is keeping us from traveling and seeing everything the Central Valley has to offer, there are still tons of unique experiences you can check out from the comfort of your home. It might not be quite as cool as riding the rails and seeing it in person, but it’s often times the next best thing.
Virtual Zoo Tours – Zookeepers from the Fresno Chaffee Zoo bring the zoo to you, taking you behind the scenes with special views of the animals and the enclosures that are off limits to regular zoo visitors. The zoo also regularly puts on animal ambassador demonstrations and presents educational activities that families can do at home (https://www.facebook.com/fresnochaffeezoo/videos/567852463816911/)
Photo Credit: Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Virtual Wine Tasting with the Madera Wine Trail – If you miss having wine nights with friends, you should look into the virtual wine tastings offered by local wineries like Toca Madera, Idle Hour Winery, Quady Winery, and San Joaquin Winery. During a virtual wine tasting, winemakers walk you through a tasting of select wines, telling you about the flavors you might be tasting and what foods best complement the wine. Toca Madera, for instance, offers a virtual tasting that includes four bottles of hand-selected wines delivered to your doorstep and a personal Zoom tasting scheduled with their winemaker, Shayne Vetter.
Virtually On the Rocks – If wine isn’t your thing, Modernist Fresno is helping Instagram followers learn about cocktail classics, why they’re classics, and how to make them! Each live weekly lesson begins Thursday at 7:30PM on IG Live – and they always post a few days ahead of time with the ingredients, so you’ll know what you need to stock up on. The Modernist mixologists walk viewers through all-time classics like the Moscow Mule, Manhattan, and Mojito (and lots of other drinks that don’t begin with the letter “M”).
Photo Credit: Modernist Fresno
Virtually Yosemite – Yosemite National Park is one of this planet’s natural wonders, and you really have to see it in person to understand its majesty. However, there are so many places to see and so many people who have a wealth of knowledge about the park, it’s impossible to see it all in one trip. On Yosemite’s Facebook page, park rangers, naturalists, geologists, and more deliver all sorts of great information to interested viewers. If you have children, don’t miss the “Kids Ask Rangers” series, where park rangers take and answer live questions from viewers – every Thursday.
Explore the Crocker Art Museum at Home – The Crocker Art Museum, located in downtown Sacramento, features California art, European master drawings and international ceramic. With over 15,000 art pieces to observe and appreciate, the Crocker art museum allows people of all ages to explore and learn through art. Since the museum is temporary closed, Crocker has created virtual programs with “Crocker From Home” and includes activities like Thursday Nights In, online art classes, and curator talks with guest speakers to continue enjoying the art pieces at Crocker. Stay creative at home with the artful tools and resources at https://www.crockerart.org/fromhome.
Credit: American artist, Woman and Daughter, n.d. Ambrotype, 2 3/4 x 3 1/4 in.
Crocker Art Museum, gift of Tom Vasey, 1978.12.55.
Time Travel and Virtually Experience Old Sacramento – Staying home brings the opportunity to slow down and discover new things – virtually. The Sacramento History Museum is offering Anytime Tours where anyone can explore the Old Sacramento Waterfront and Historic City Cemetery for free! Virtually walk along with a guided expert that will share the landmarks and true stories of the past. Visit anytimetours.oncell.com to start exploring!
Credit: Downtown Sac
All Aboard For Story Time – The California State Railroad Museum is offering virtual versions of their All Aboard for Story Time on Mondays at 11 a.m. with local influencers reading children’s railroad-related books via Facebook Live. Each week live and previously recorded book readers are available for families to continue learning about trains and the railroad. Videos are available for viewing on both the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation Facebook pages @CaliforniaStateRailroadMuseum or @CaliforniaStateRailroadMuseumFoundation.
Credit: Downtown Sac
California Museum History Distance Learning – The California Museum, located in downtown Sacramento, has launched a distance learning program which provides educational materials for K-12th grade students with Common Core and California State Content standards. A State Symbols Coloring Book and a series of five California Indians oral history worksheets are available to download for free. Additional activities on California’s diverse history, culture and arts are available for download and shared through Google Classroom. Get started at www.californiamuseum.org/distance-ed.
World of Wonder Science Museum, Online STEM Resources– Bring Science wherever you are! The World of Wonder Science Museum in Lodi has created online resources for children of all ages to participate in and continue STEM education. Explore the hands-on STEM activities and at home experiments like making water float and understand the science behind the magic! Learn how to make your own lava lamp while learning how heat changes the density of liquids. All resources are available online at https://www.wowsciencemuseum.org/category/online-resources/
Credit: WOW Science Museum
Powerhouse Science Center, Science at Home – Now more than ever people understanding the important role science, technology, engineering and math plays in solving the current health crisis. The Powerhouse Science Center’s mission is to inspire the next generation to pursue the STEM fields of study to become the problem solvers of tomorrow. Bring science directly into your living room, kitchen, dining table and even in your backyard with the Powerhouse Science Center’s digital programs! Children and adults can watch science story time every Mondays, science on Wednesdays, and night sky minute on Fridays. (http://powerhousesc.org/science-at-home/)
The California State Capitol Museum’s Virtual Tours – Visit California’s Capitol and the Capitol Park from any location. View and learn about the Capitol’s blended architectural styles from Neo-Classical and Renaissance Revival to California’s own architectural elements. Virtually roam the Capitol’s halls, view original works of art, furnishing, historic artifacts, and restored governmental rooms and offices that offer a window into the past. Don’t forget to explore the 40-acre Capitol Park which includes monuments, memorials, points of interest, and tress and plants from around the world and the World Peace Rose Garden. (https://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/index.php/the-museum/virtual-tours)
The California Automobile Museum Podcast and Videos – Take a ride through automotive history! Sign up for the Virtual Member of the California Auto Museum and explore the 120+ cars on exhibit that span over 120 years. Virtual Memberships start at $4/month and grant access to videos and podcast about the collection and the history of the automobile. (https://www.patreon.com/calautomuseum)
Virtual Wine Tasting With Bokisch Vineyards – Join Bokisch Vineyards and owners Markus & Liz for a virtual wine tasting. Enjoy music, wine, and learn recipes and items to pair the wine with. Participants must RSVP and order wines ahead of time to be shipped or picked up curbside from the tasting room. Tastings will take place on May 29th at 4:30 pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP or learn more. Use promo code Terroir to receive 30% off this special bundle event!
Credit: Markus & Liz Bokisch
Explore the Oakland Museum of California – The Oakland Museum of California is located in the heart of Downtown Oakland, just a few blocks south of the iconic Lake Merritt. While the museum may be closed, you can still virtually explore exhibitions of historic artifacts, tour some of their most popular exhibitions, and jam out to their Friday Night playlist. Find all the details at https://museumca.org/omca-at-home
Photo Credit: Visit Oakland
Virtual Golden Gate Park – Exploring the 1,017 acres of Golden Gate Park is one the many joys of traveling to the Bay Area. Now, you can explore the Park from the comfort of your own home! Visit https://www.goldengatepark150.com/virtual for virtual concerts, photo series, and educational activities for kids.
Photo Credit: Golden Gate Park
WALT Wines Virtual Happy Hours – Join WALT Wines every Tuesday at 4pm on Instagram Live for happy hour with a special celebrity guest! The themes and guests change every week, follow them on Instagram @waltwines to stay in the know.
Photo Credit: WALT Wines
Online Wine Tastings with Baldacci Vineyards – Baldacci Family Vineyards is a limited production, family owned and operated winery run by second generation vintner, Michael Baldacci. Their physical facilities are closed right now, but you and your friends can still experience Baldacci Vineyards wine tastings online! Visit https://www.baldaccivineyards.com/visit-us/ to register for either a Wine with Friends or a Wine and Food experience. Purchase Baldacci Vineyards from your local wine store, or order a delivery from the Vineyard itself.
Photo Credit: Baldacci Vineyards
California Academy of Sciences Nightlife – California Academy of Sciences is taking Nightlife online! You can experience an eclectic mix of science, music, and art through the Virtual Nightlife, and take deeper dives into single science-related themes when the NightSchool is in session. Both events stream on alternating Thursdays at 7pm via Youtube and Facebook live. Visit https://www.calacademy.org/nightlife for more information!
Photo Credit: California Academy of Sciences
Oakland Zoo Webcams – While the Oakland Zoo is closed, you can still see the wild animals up close and personal via their webcams. Visit https://www.oaklandzoo.org/webcams for links to live feeds of the grizzly bear, elephants, sun bear, black bear, and condor cams.
Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo
di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art – di Rosa is a catalyst for transformative experiences with contemporary art of Northern California. Their current art exhibitions are available online! Take a virtual tour of the Conversation Pieces art exhibition, which showcases the work of emerging and mid-career artists in Northern California. After that, check out their “at home” section for fun art projects and in-depth webinars that you can engage in at home. Visit http://www.dirosaart.org/ to join the creative fun!
Photo Credit: di Rosa
Napa Valley Distillery – The Napa Valley Distillery was the first of its kind to open in Napa after the Prohibition. It is family owned and operated by Arthur and Lusine Hartunian. They create rare and unique Spirits, and also sell small batches of hand sanitizer! As part of their Virtual Tasting Camp, you can craft your own cocktails from their B(ooze) log of tasty recipes. Order in from the Napa Valley Distillery by visiting https://www.napadistillery.com/.
Photo Credit: Visit Napa Valley
Petaluma Creamery – Founded in 1913, Petaluma Creamery has been an important part of Petaluma for over a century. They raise their cows naturally and ethically to make delicious dairy products. Why not host a virtual cheese tasting night with your friends? Select from the Creamery’s extensive array of cheeses in their online store and compare notes with your pals! Visit https://www.springhillcheese.com/ to see all their cheese options.
Photo Credit: Petaluma Creamery
Children’s Museum of Sonoma County – If you have kids who are itching for new activities at home, check out the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County’s virtual events. Explore liquid nitrogen demos or programming with their Virtual Wacky Wednesday, partake in guided art projects with Virtual Art Adventures, or enjoy a fun tale during Virtual Storytime. Visit their events webpage for links and instructions on how to RSVP: https://www.cmosc.org/event/storytime/2020-05-14/
Photo Credit: Children’s Art Museum of Sonoma County
Mendocino College Dance Film Festival – The students of Mendocino College’s choreography program got creative with the shelter in place and took the opportunity to create dance on film. Together, nine student choreographers and Director Eryn Schon-Brunner created the first virtual Mendocino College Spring Dance on Film Festival. Watch all nine performances at https://www.mendocino.edu/dance.
Photo Credit: Margarita Diaz & Paloma Rodriguez Irizarry
Anderson Valley Brewing Company Happy Hour – Join Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Remote Happy Hour every Friday evening! Their CEO Kevin McGee, head brewer Fal Allen, and many more people will be on the air for banter, giveaways, and community. Visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AndersonValleyBrewingCompany/ to join the party!
Photo Credit: Visit Mendocino