I enjoyed myself at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. My kids, on the other hand, were bored out of their minds. I loved learning about the history of the state, the way laws are made and seeing the actual rooms where the Assembly and Senate meet to decide on the laws that govern us. I wanted my 8th grader to learn the history of her state since her middle school didn't have a class trip to Sacramento. She was extremely uninterested and couldn't wait to hit the Vacaville outlets on our way back home. Self-guided tours were encouraged, but I was hoping to learn more from their guided tours. My younger children (ages 7 and below) were restless and couldn't stop talking and chasing each other. I removed ourselves from the tour early in order to avoid further disruption of the tour. We stopped at the gift shop before we left and bought copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and a list of the Presidents of the United States. They were all reasonably priced at $2.50 each. Great photo opportunities were available outside under the trees and near the colorful flowers in front.
Don't be intimidated by the security check that you go through at first before entering; it's just for your safety and others. But when you do enter, you get to see the "behind the scenes" of where politicians work including of course, the office of the governor. It's great to see just how much history fills the halls when you walk down, and even more interesting are the rooms preserved with things from the past of how offices used to look like.
I love to run around the Capitol for exercise. The view, the grounds, and the downtown location are all inspiring. I love the view of the Capitol as I drive across the Tower Bridge from West Sacramento. The only that sometimes bothers me is that people walk thier dogs around the Capitol but they don't pick up their poop. Sometimes the Capitol lawn smells gross. Come on pet owners....get with it.
The circa-1870, double-domed capitol is surrounded by forty acres of Capitol Park, a century-old botanical garden that explodes into pink and white clouds of camellias, azaleas, dogwood, and tulips every spring. You can take a free guided tour of the gadens or stroll around on your own.
With toddlers and little kids, take a self-guided tour and let them meander up and down the marble hallways while you peek in at the museum displays. You’ll see magnificent carved staircases, elaborate crystal chandeliers, marble parquet floors, and historic artwork. You might even be able to sit in on a legislative session.
With chidren about 8 years old and older, take the guided historic tour, where you’ll hear stries of California’s colorful politicos (call ahead to reserve).
I have been there twice and I highly recommend anybody visiting Sacramento to go there too. It is very interesting, the visits are guided so you are not missing on anything.
It gets the children excited about their states, laws, and regulations and because they get to see it upfront, it is easier for them to understand the whole process.