When it comes to vacationing with kids in Napa Valley, every year is a good year. 

Napa has always been synonymous with romance.  Vacationing families, however, will be pleasantly surprised to find that the area offers something for everyone.

Activities


There are a number of fun family-oriented excursions throughout the area. Anthony Burich, the lead concierge at The Carneros Inn, shared his top recommendations:

The Grape Escapes
When in Napa, families should take a stroll around the Carolyn Parr Nature Center. It depicts animals and plants found in the County’s natural habitats.  Kids can observe and touch a collection of skins, skulls, and bird’s nests in the Children’s Corner.  The 12-acre Connolly Ranch is also ideal for kids, featuring an animal preserve where they can interact with horses, sheep, ducks, peacocks, roosters, and more.  For some wine education, Anthony Burich recommends the St. Supery Discovery Center in Rutherford.  It’s a kid-friendly winery featuring topographical maps and an option to venture out into the vineyards.

The Grape Wide Open

Families can drive over to St. Helena and visit the Grist Mill State Historic Park, or they can head to Sonoma to visit the petting zoo or take a guided tour through Train Town.  Featuring acres of landscaped parks and a petting zoo for the smaller kids, it’s a wonderful treat for the whole family.  And the Cornerstone Festival of Gardens features 9 acres of changing garden designs from the world’s top landscape architects.  It’s an exhibit that’s sure to inspire both older kids and parents alike.  For those looking for a great family-friendly winery, Anthony Burich recommends heading to Glen Ellen and visiting the gorgeous Benziger Winery.  Families can listen to the guide speak about the biodynamic farming practices and picnic in the scenic gardens afterwards.  While in Glen Ellen, families can visit the Jack London State Historic Park.  Younger children will enjoy exploring the lovely grounds, while older ones can take a look around the museum, which displays a collection of London’s books, mementos, and articles. 

Good Grapes, Charlie Brown

Parents with young children should pay a visit to the Charles Shultz Museum in nearby Santa Rosa.  It’s the permanent home of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole crew.  The museum shows daily screenings of Peanuts Cartoons, and features a “Snoopy Labyrinth” as well as rotating exhibits of all the characters.  And to celebrate the kids’ love of real animals, head to Safari West, a private 240-acre wildlife preserve that houses 400 free-roaming birds and mammals like antelopes, gazelles, elands, and zebras.  Lisa Graves also recommends this trip, saying that the African preserve is incredibly authentic.

No Sour Grapes
When the kids need to satisfy their sweet tooth, head to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield.  They can learn how the company creates its exotic and delicious flavors, with over 40,000,000 jelly beans being manufactured every day.  And to work off some of the sugar rush, a visit to the Scandia Family Fun Center is the perfect icing on the cake.  It features over 200 games that will keep everyone entertained, including batting cages, a Lil’ Indy Raceway, water bugs, and a miniature golf course.


Start packing your kids’ suitcases and get ready for a breathtaking, relaxing, and multifaceted adventure in Napa Valley!