Sacramento: Visit museums and parks for free Feb. 5

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

More than 25 museums, state historic parks and other venues will open their doors free of charge on Feb. 5 as part of the 13th annual Sacramento Museum Day. It’s a great way to save money and sample some cultural hot spots in the California capital.

The deal: The Sacramento Assn. of Museums organizes the free day and lists participating sites, plus information on parking and free shuttles. Here are some museums on the list:

Crocker Art Museum (usually $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 7 to 17). This museum just underwent a lengthy renovation that added a 125,000-square-foot gallery and a whole new look to the stately Victorian mansion. “Master Drawings from the Crocker Art” will be one of the exhibits on display during the free day.


California State Railroad Museum (usually $9 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 to 17). The museum houses 21 restored locomotives and railroad cars, including a Pullman-style sleeping car and dining car. A special Center for Railroad Photography & Art exhibit is on display through June.

Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park (usually $5 for adults and $3 for children 6 to 17). Three governors, including Leland Stanford, ruled the state from this mansion that served as their offices. The elegant Victorian is still available to the governor for official events.

When: Visitors may enter museums between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for free on Feb. 5 only. Museums close at 5 p.m.

Tips: Though it’s tempting to museum-hop until you drop, realistically you’ll be able to squeeze in only two or three museums on the free day. The museum association also offers the following advice:

Expect a wait at the more popular sites such as the Crocker Art Museum, the Sacramento Zoo and the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park.

Park your car and use a free shuttle that services most of the museums on the list.

Contact: Sacramento Assn. of Museums or call the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, (916) 808-7777.