Your Kids Will X-Ray an Alligator at the Sonoma County Children’s Museum

Kyle is having some health issues. Thankfully, your kids can help. Using a handheld X-Ray machine, they can scan various parts of Kyle’s body, viewing his results on a big screen and helping to arrive at a diagnosis.

Okay, so technically the X-Ray machine is a big magnet on a string. And technically, Kyle isn’t a living creature, so much as a strange, anthropomorphized sculpture. And if you look really hard, you’ll realize that the X Rays are of human limbs, not reptilian ones.

Still, your kids will be having such a great time, they won’t know the difference.

Visiting the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County

Kyle is just one of the exhibits on offer at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa, California.

This small but mighty children’s museum is a welcome stop for families taking kids to the increasingly un-family-friendly California Wine Country. 

After sitting through a tasting, your kids will really appreciate adding this museum to your itinerary and giving them a spot to just be kids, away from the often-snobbish clientele of Sonoma’s wineries.

All the Museum It Needs to Be

The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County fits a lot of activities into a small space. It has nearly every activity you’d expect from a larger children’s museum, just efficiently crammed into a very small area. 

You’ll find, among many other things:

  • A big model train cruising around the ceiling
  • A train table
  • Pneumatic tubes into which kids can put little scarves, which move quickly around on currents of air
  • A second level with a pretend Victorian home
  • A super fun activity where kids can raise apples up into the second floor using a rope, and then drop them down a tube

There’s also a largeish, if sparsely appointed, outdoor area with a pretend boat, gardens, picnic tables, and more.

Lots of Pretend Play

And then there’s Kyle. I called him an alligator, but technically he’s a crocodile. I’m honestly not certain of the difference.

Kyle was created by a sculpture class at Santa Rosa Junior College. His human body and alligator head reminds me a bit of the Bullman and Bulldog statue in Walnut Creek. He’s in a combined dental and medical area where your kids can don lab coats and perform health checks on Kyle and his friends.

It’s a cool example of imagination play that will appeal to both young kids and slightly older kindergartens and grade schoolers. There’s also a nicely set up kitchen play area with a light-up range, and a section with tools and mechanical items.

Firefighting Time

Just outside the museum’s entrance is another cool (and sadly, apropos) exhibit in which kids get to grab a pretend firehose and put out a house fire that’s surprisingly realistic.

I saw several kids ask their parents if the fire was real, with a bit of apprehension. Take a look at this photo and you’ll agree that it looks pretty convincing!

Given Sonoma’s struggles with wildfires, the exhibit is a little too poignant for parents. But for kids, it’s another fun opportunity to put on a costume and make-believe.

An Easy Visit

As a parent, you’ll appreciate that the museum is easy to visit, with ample parking and at least six EV chargers. The small size makes it manageable to take several kids there at once. There are good bathroom facilities with changing tables, as well as a little fridge where you can buy iced coffee.

No wine, though. Sorry!

Children’s Museum of Sonoma County thus joins other Sonoma County kids activities like Sonoma Traintown as a great stop when you’re visiting or staying in wine country.

It’s a bit too far from the city of the East Bay to justify its own day trip. But any time you’re in the Santa Rosa area with your kids, you should absolutely stop by.

After all, Kyle needs you.

Getting There

Address: 1835 W Steele Ln, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: (707) 546-4069

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button