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Take the kids to Wine Country?  Absolutely. And bring the dog, too! This area, founded by country French and Italian families, is kid friendly.

There are plenty of things for the kids to do that don’t require shoving them into uncomfortable clothes and hauling them through museums.  When you’re vacationing with the family, you want everyone to be happy.  That not only includes the kids, it may also include Grandma and Grandpa.  Authentic Wine Country is a family business, and we have no illusions about the ease of pleasing everyone.  We do know there is one rule:  Be loose and let go!

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions:

The Russian River:

Paddle, drift, float, splash each other, and take the dog!   Rent a canoe and see what happens to your kids.  All thoughts of video games disappear as they keep a sharp eye out for water spiders, egrets, and frogs.  The River is particularly easy during the summer.  They can jump out of the canoe and play to their heart’s delight.   In the evening they’ll fall asleep quickly, tired and happy after an infusion of sunlight and water.  The Russian River has been a family tradition for generations, and there is a reason for that…it creates the kind of joy that builds happy childhood memories.

Creepy Plants:

There is nothing much more appealing to a kid than the strange and slightly scary.  And so we recommend a trip to one of the largest growers and suppliers of carnivorous plants in the US, right here in Sonoma County.  Venus flytraps, American pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts, bladderworts, tropical pitcher plants and others.  You and your kids will be amazed what a plant will go through to get a decent meal!

The Wild Side:

Take the kids on a trek while riding a safari jeep.  Surrounded by giraffes, gazelle, oryz, ostrich, and endangered cheetahs your kids will be wide-eyed and wiggle-free for this three-hour adventure!  The animals roam freely, interacting with each other in a natural savannah habitat.  This is a unique experience your kids will never forget.

Gone Fishing:

Here is a chance to sit with your kids letting thoughts and words bubble to the surface—fishing has the effect of quiet communication.  You can go to a lake or river and take your chances.   We also recommend a trout farm.  It’s a lot more fun when you go fishing and actually catch a fish!

The Whole Sky:

Sonoma County has a premier planetarium with events that change regularly.  Your seat tips all the way back as you watch the ceiling recede and the sky appearing above you.  An astronomer fills your imagination with stories of old, and shoots you into wild possibilities for the future.  If a natural phenomenon is happening in the sky that night, a giant telescope is set up outside so you can get a good look.   Occasionally you’ll hear the soft sound of snoring if a kid has fallen asleep—that’s just fine, too.  There’s nothing like falling asleep under the stars!

Everything Else:

Sonoma has a terrific ice skating rink that doubles as Charles Shultz’s Peanuts Gallery.  There are also indoor fun centers if they start going through video withdrawals, batting cages, miniature golf, roller skating rinks, and water slide parks.

Authentic Wine Country is happy to build any of these activities into your plans.  Give the kids space to be kids, and this will be the trip of a lifetime!