Wednesday, August 13, 2014

400+ Northern California Field Trips

Oh, California, you have so much to offer. We live smack dab in the middle of California, which means we're within the agricultural belt that runs down the state. We have the beautiful and busy Bay Area to the west, the quiet and peaceful splendor of Gold Country to the east, the capital of Sacramento only an hour away, and Southern California only 5 hours south.

We've spent a lot of time exploring our state, for educational and entertainment purposes (usually both!). Because we're Northern Californians, the list favors this area. If you have any more suggestions, please let me know and I will add them to the list! Links marked with asterisk are places we've visited and can vouch for.

Northern California

{Amusement and Theme Parks}

Great America in Santa Clara*
Children's Fairyland  (storybook theme park) in Oakland
Sonoma Train Town in Sonoma
Emerald Hills Golfland in San Jose
Gilroy Gardens (family theme park) in Gilroy
Nut Tree Theme Park  in Vacaville
Pixieland in Concord
Raging Waters in San Jose
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz*
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo*
Small World Amusement Park in Pittsburg
Pixie Woods in Stockton*

Adventure Playground in Berkeley

{Animation and Film History}

Cartoon Art Museum (animation) in San Francisco*
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont
Lobe Pine Film History Museum in Lone Pine
Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach


The Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco
Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco
Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey*
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum in Santa Cruz


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco
Precita Eyes Mural Art Center (tours available) in San Francisco
Cantor Arts Center in Stanford
Peninsula Museum of Art in Belmont
MACLA (Latin American art) in San Jose
Tannery Arts Center (classes and tours) in Santa Cruz
Palo Alto Art Center in Palo Alto
Center for Contemporary Art in Sacramento
di Rosa in Napa
Arte Americas (Latin American art) in Fresno
The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford
Haggin Museum in Stockton

Children's Art~
Museum of Children's Art in Oakland

Lace, Textiles, and Glass~
Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley
UC Davis Design Museum in Davis, specifically UC Davis
Bay Area Glass Institute  in San Jose
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose

Manteca Walking Tour of Murals in Manteca

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco
Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco*
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley
C.N. Gorman Museum (Native American Art) in Davis, specifically UC Davis campus
Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento
Bakersfield Museum of Art in Bakersfield
Fresno Art Museum in Fresno

Performing Arts~
Museum of Performance + Design in San Francisco

{Biographical Education}

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco
John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez
Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site in Danville
Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen (between Sonoma and Santa Rosa)
Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa
National Steinbeck Center in Salinas
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum in St. Helena
Bucks Owens Crystal Palace in Bakserfield

{Career Education}

San Francisco Fire Department Museum in San Francisco
Napa Firefighters Museum in Napa
Sierra Sacramento Valley Museum of Medical History in Sacramento

{Children's Museums}

Randall Museum in San Francisco
Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco*
Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito
Habitot Children's Museum in Berkeley
Junior Museum and Zoo in Palo Alto
Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose in San Jose
KidZone Museum in Truckee
Playzeum in Yuba City
Sacramento Children's Museum in Sacramento
Children's Museum of Stockton in Stockton*
Children's Museum of the Sierra in Oakhurst
Imagine U Interactive Children's Museum in Visalia

{City/Local History}

California Historical Society in San Francisco
The Alameda Museum in Alameda
Berkeley Historical Society in Berkeley
Hayward Area Historical Society in Hayward
Dublin Heritage Park and Museum in Dublin
The Carnegie Museum in Livermore
Museum on Main in Pleasanton
Oakland Museum of California (art, culture, history, and science) in Oakland
Richmond Museum of History in Richmond
Shadelands Ranch Museum in Walnut Creek
Union City Historical Museum in Union City
Colma Historical Museum in Colma
Millbrae Museum in Millbrae
San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City
Los Altos History Museum in Los Altos
Alpine County Museum in Markleeville
Amador County Museum in Jackson
Amador Whitney Museum in Amador City
Angels Camp Museum in Angels Camp
Bodie State Historic Park  {Ghost mining town} in Bodie
Calaveras County Museum in San Andreas
Roseville Historical Society in Roseville
Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County in Yuba City
Emigrant Trail Museum (at Donner Memorial State Park) in Truckee
Downieville Museum in Downieville
Eastern California Museum in Independence
El Dorado County Historical Museum in Placerville
Folsom History Museum in Folsom
Fountain & Tallman Museum in Placerville
Gatekeeper's Museum in Tahoe City
Gold County Museum in Auburn
Golden Drift Museum in Dutch Flat
Grass Valley Museum in Grass Valley
Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum in Groveland
Hattie Weber Museum in Davis
Lake Tahoe History Museum in South Lake Tahoe
Mono Basin History Museum and Upside Down House in Lee Vining
Red Barn Museum in San Andreas
Rocklin History Museum in Rocklin
Sacramento History Museum in Sacramento
Shenandoah Valley Museum in Plymouth
Tuolumne City Memorial Museum in Tuolumne
Tuolumne County Museum in Sonora*
Central Sierra Museum in Shaver Lake
Clovis Museum in Clovis
Coarsegold Historic Museum in Coarsegold
Dinuba Southern Pacific Depot Museum in Dinuba
Eastern Fresno County Historical Museum in Auberry
Escalon Historical Museum in Escalon
Exeter Historical Museum in Exeter
Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park in Oakhurst
Gustine Museum in Gustine
Haggin Museum in Stockton*
Hill House Museum in Lodi
San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum in Lodi
Kern County Museum in Bakersfield*
Kern Valley Museum in Kernville
Historic Firehouse No. 1 in Nevada City
Manteca Historical Society and Museum in Manteca*


African/ African American~
Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco
The African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley in Fresno
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park (African American history) in Allensworth

Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum in San Francisco
Chinese Culture Center (Art) in San Francisco
Chinese Temple and Museum Complex in Oroville
All About Chinatown Walking Tours in San Francisco
Oakland Asian Cultural Center in Oakland
The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford
Japanese American Museum of San Jose in San Jose
Chew Kee Store (historic Chinese herb shop) in Fiddletown
Chinese American Museum of Northern California in Marysville
Bok Kai Temple (Chinese temple) in Marysville
Japanese Garden at Micke Grove Park in Lodi
Stockton Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Stockton

Hippie culture~
Magic Bus San Francisco (Hippie culture) in San Francisco
Haight-Ashbury Walking Tour in San Francisco

India Community Center in Milpitas

Museo Italo Americano  (Italian American heritage museum) in San Francisco

Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in Berkeley

Latin America~
Mexican Museum in San Francisco
Arte Americas (Latin American art) in Fresno

GLBT Museum (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender History) in San Francisco

Native American~
State Indian Museum (Native Americans) in Sacramento
Chaw'se Regional Indian Museum (and Indian Grinding Rock SHP) in Pine Grove
Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center Museum in Bishop

{Factory Tours/Farms}

Fortune Cookie Factory  in San Francisco*
Fortune Cookie Factory in Oakland
Slide Ranch Organic Farm in Muir Beach
Alembic (musical instruments) in Santa Rosa
Jelly Belly Factory (free) in Fairfield*
Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center
Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka
Hilmar Cheese Factory in Hilmar*
Bravo Farms  (cheese factory, tree house, petting zoo, shooting gallery, fruit stand) in Traver
Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory in Petaluma
Countryside Farms (tours available) in Stockton


Takara Sake Museum in Berkeley
Fortune Cookie Factory  in San Francisco*
Fortune Cookie Factory in Oakland

{Gardens and Arboretums} 

University of Santa Cruz Arboretum in Santa Cruz
Filoli (hikes and tours) in Woodside
Marin Headlands (hiking trails, history and nature center) in Mill Valley
Hakone Estate and Gardens (Asian gardens) in Saratoga
San Francisco Botanical Garden in San Francisco
Golden Gate Park-- Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers in San Francisco
Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding
Japanese Garden at Micke Grove Park in Lodi


Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland
Sierra Nevada Logging Museum in Arnold
Antique Farm Equipment Museum in Tulare
Ag Museum Frontier Town (free) in Merced

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose*
Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County in Chowchilla

Haas-Lilienthal House in San Francisco
Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont
Camron-Stanford House in Oakland
John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez
Shadelands Ranch Museum in Walnut Creek
Thorsen House in Berkeley
Sanchez Adobe Park in Pacifica
Bernhard Museum in Auburn
Locke Dai Loy Museum (former Chinese gambling house) in Locke
Governor's Mansion State Historic Park in Sacramento
Sacramento Old Schoolhouse Museum in Sacramento
Vikingsholm in South Lake Tahoe
Hill House Museum in Lodi

Cowboy Memorial and Library in Walker Basin
Oakdale Cowboy Museum in Oakdale

Lone Pine Film History Museum in Lone Pine

Invention, Technology, and Tools~
The Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto
Computer History Museum in Mountain View
Intel Museum in Santa Clara
Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park in Folsom
Roseville Telephone Museum in Roseville
Bolt's Antique Tool Museum in Oroville

Columbia State Historic Park in Columbia*
Fort Tejon State Historic Park (Civil War reenactments) in Grapevine
The Renaissance Institute (hands-on workshops) in Hollister
American Civil War Association of Northern and Central California (Civil War reenactments at parks throughout northern/central California)

The California State Miltary Museum in Sacramento
Museum of the Forgotten Warriors in Marysville
Sutter's Fort State Historic Park in Sacramento
Central California Historical Military Museum in Firebaugh
Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center in Richmond

California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa
Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley
Forest Hill Divide Museum in Foresthill
Griffith Quarry Museum in Penryn
Old Hangtown's Gold Bug Park and Mine in Placerville
Kentucky Mine Historic Park and Museum in Sierra City
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park in Nevada City
Underground Gold Miners Museum in Alleghany
Kennedy Gold Mine in Jackson

The California History Center in Cupertino
The California Museum in Sacramento
California State Capitol Museum in Sacramento


The Beat Museum in San Francisco


Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies in San Jose
Musee Macanique (free) in San Francisco
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall Tour in San Francisco

{Natural History}

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley
The Bone Room (natural history store)* in Berkeley
CuriOdyssey in San Mateo
Carolyn Parr Nature Center in Napa
Mono Basin Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining
Sierra College Natural History Museum in Rocklin
Buena Vista Museum of Natural HIstory and Science in Bakersfield
The Discovery Center  in Fresno
Giant Forest Museum in Tulare County
Great Valley Museum in Modesto

{Nature Center}

Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek
Carolyn Parr Nature Center in Napa
Giant Forest Museum in Tulare County
Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding
Oak Grove Regional Park and Nature Center (educational programs, nature trails, golf course, children's playground) in Stockton

{Offbeat Tours/Museums/Experiences}

Tour an historic prison at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in San Francisco*
The New San Francisco Dungeon in San Francisco
Madame Tussauds in San Francisco
Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda
Burlingame Museum of Pex and Classic Toy Museum in Burlingame
Folsom Prison Museum in Folsom
Mammoth Ski Museum in Mammoth Lakes
Musuem of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Olympics in Tahoe City
The Upside Down House in Lee Vining
Old Jail Museum in Truckee
Preston Castle (former reform school/paranormal center) in Ione
Reiff's Gas Station Museum (1950s nostalgia) in Woodland
Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno*
Hocus Pocus Magic Shop (and vintage props and oddities from famous magicians) in Fresno
Bravo Farms  (cheese factory, tree house, petting zoo, shooting gallery, fruit stand) in Traver
Musee Macanique (free) in San Francisco
The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz*
Bigfoot Discovery Museum (free) in Felton
Magic Bus San Francisco in San Francisco
Alcatraz Island Tour in San Francisco
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum in Santa Cruz
Winchester Mystery House in San Jose
King of the Windmills in Stockton
Ken Fox's Great Statues of Auburn in Auburn


Exploratorium (hands-on science museum) in San Francisco*
Lawrence Hall of Science (hands-on) in Berkeley
The Discovery Museum Space and Science Center in Sacramento
Explorit Science Center (hands-on) in Davis
The Discovery Center (hands-on) in Fresno
World of Wonders Science Museum (hands-on) in Lodi

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in Berkeley

Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco
Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland
Lawrence Hall of Science Planetarium in Berkeley
NASA Ames Visitor Center in San Jose
Lick Observatory in San Jose
Rosicrucian Planetarium in San Jose
Fukitsu Planetarium in Cupertino

Rainforests of the World exhibit at California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
Rainforest Cafe in Anaheim*, Ontario and San Francisco*

Earth Science~
Black Diamond Mines Reserve in Antioch

Essig Museum of Entomology in Berkeley
Bohart Museum of Entomology in Davis, specifically UC Davis campus

Utility Exploration Center (Hands-on and free!) in Roseville

University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley

Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley
Junior Museum and Zoo in Palo Alto
Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding


Stockton Indoor Sports Complex in Stockton

Stockton Roller Hockey in Stockton

Ice skating~
Oak Park Ice Arena in Stockton

Stockton Ports in Stockton*
Delta Speedway (auto races) in Stockton
Stockton 99 Speedway (auto races) in Stockton
Oakland Coliseum (Oakland A's and Raiders) in Oakland
AT&T Park  (San Francisco Giants) (tours available) in San Francisco

Rollerland in Merced
Stockton Indoor Sports Complex in Stockton


United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis

Cable Cars~
Cable Car Museum in San Francisco*

Classic Automobiles~
Blackhawk Automobile Museum in Blackhawk
The Duarte Garage and Lincoln Highway Museum in Livermore
California Automobile Museum in Sacramento
Reiff's Gas Station Museum in Woodland

Cruises (local)~
Opportunity Cruises (Educational cruises available/Stockton Delta history) in Stockton

Ships and Airplanes and Rockets~
Alameda Naval Air Museum in Alameda
Lightship LV 605, RELIEF in Oakland
Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland
SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond
USS Hornet Museum in Alameda
USS Potomac in Oakland
Flightdeck (flight simulation) in Mountain View
NASA Exploration Center in Mountain View
Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos
Moffett Field Historical Society Museum in Moffett Field
Aerospace Museum of California in McClellan (near Sacramento)
Tahoe Maritime Museum in Homewood
Flight Test Historical Foundation at Edwards Air Force Base
Castle Air Museum in Atwater
Hillier Air Museum in Modesto

San Francisco Railway Museum in San Francisco
Golden Gate Railway Museum in Sunol
Sonoma Train Town in Sonoma
Niles Canyon Railway (train rides) in Fremont
The Niles Depot (museum) in Fremont
Golden State Model Railroad Museum in Richmond
California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento
Folsom Railroad Museum in Folsom
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (with movie props)* in Jamestown
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad in Fish Camp
Sierra Railroad Dinner Train in Oakdale

{Zoos/Animal Encounters}

Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka
Oakland Zoo in Oakland*
San Francisco Zoo in San Francisco*
Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose
Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary in Folsom
Sacramento Zoo in Sacramento*
Micke Grove Zoo in Lodi*
Jack Tone Ranch (horse ranch; visitors welcome) in Stockton
Applegate Park Zoo in Merced
Fresno Chaffee Zoo in Fresno*
Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero*
California Living Museum in Bakersfield*
Feline Conservation Center (tours available) in Rosamond

More Ideas:

Contact these local establishments and set up a tour in your hometown:
  • animal shelter
  • antique store
  • art/craft store
  • bakery
  • bank
  • beekeper
  • car dealership
  • cave/caverns
  • cemetery 
  • college campus
  • courthouse
  • dental lab
  • eye doctor
  • farmer's market
  • fire station
  • fish hatchery
  • ghost town
  • greenhouse
  • grocery store
  • hardward store
  • hiking trail
  • an historic site
  • hospital
  • ice skating rink (Oak Park Ice Arena in Stockton) 
  • jeweler's shop
  • library
  • local monument
  • newspaper 
  • nursing home
  • pet store
  • pick-your-own farms
  • pizza parlor
  • police station
  • pond
  • post office
  • power plant
  • recycling plant
  • religious facility (different than your own)
  • skating rink ( like Rollerland in Merced)
  • sports team/activity
  • state park
  • soup kitchen
  • theatre
  • TV station
  • veterinary office
  • virtual field trips
  • water treatment facility

This is an ongoing list of field trips in the Northern California region. You can even see some field trips we've taken. If you have suggestions and places to add, let me know!



  1. Nice site. The hole culture of America. post are really nice. Malakoff Diggins

  2. What an incredible list!! Thank you for such a great resource!